I'm grateful for frozen blackberries. I really am — they're great in smoothies and smoothie bowls. No problem. Perfectly palatable.
And the hothouse blackberries you can get year round?
Not bad. They lend color and variety to a midwinter bowl of fruit. A little tart for my taste, but better than 6 months of nothing but apples and pears.
But then summer rolls in with its fresh blackberries (and marionberries), and I remember. Dayum! Blackberries! With an exclamation point because they literally TASTE LIKE CANDY.
When berry season hits, I want to buy flat after flat from the farmers market, but then I realize. Oh yeah. I don't make jams or jellies. I don't “put things up” like Laura Ingalls, as much as I daydream about it being a fancy urban homesteader. After coming home with mountains of berries, I get real: what will I do with all these berries?
Blackberry Rose Freezer Pops
Well, here's an idea: after you're done gorging on berries like a grizzly bear prepping for winter, make freezer pops.
This recipe is criminally easy, and it results in a frozen treat that's much tastier than those frozen high fructose corn syrup bombs you'll find at the store.
Blackberries, by the way, are one of the nutritional rockstars of the fruit world. They're packed with antioxidants and fiber, which makes them a great addition to an anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting diet.
Also in this recipe… you'll find some chia seed gel.
OK, first: why chia seeds?
Well, let's start with the fact that chia seeds are high in antioxidants, which can help counteract free radical damage and aging of the skin.
In addition, chia seeds are an incredible source of fiber, which makes your blood sugar levels and digestion very happy. Just one ounce of chia seeds contains nearly 11 grams of fiber — that's more than 30% the recommended daily intake.
Chia seeds are also a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, just one small serving contains as much healthy fat content as a 4-ounce serving of salmon. Chia seeds are also high in heart-healthy minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Finally, chia seeds are a good source of linoleic acid, which helps the body absorb vitamins such as A, E, D, and K.
So now that we've covered why chia seeds are so great… why make a chia seed gel?
Taking this extra and very simple step will help give your freezer pops a more consistent texture. This is because chia seeds expand as they absorb water, and I'd rather deal with a known commodity — gel — than just throw the seeds into the liquid base and hope for the best.
So let's talk about the rest of the recipe. I make these freezer pops with coconut milk, which lends a lush creaminess to complement the berries, but without any of the dairy drama that can be associated with using yogurt.
If your berries are a bit tart and you want to add sweetener, I recommend using tart cherry juice concentrate. It's packed with antioxidants, and is a natural source of melatonin, which helps support better sleep quality.
Lastly, I add a bit of rosewater and cardamom to make these treats a little more grown-up. But you can leave all that out, of course, if you're making these for kiddos and they aren't into it.
Either way, these Blackberry Rose Freezer Pops are delicious, and a lovely way to celebrate the awesomeness that is berry season.