Sweet Summer Treats

Frosty eats to beat the summer heat.

Summer in the Sunshine State means heat, humidity and, if you’re smart, lots of cool treats. 

If your first solution for frosty relief is to reach for ice cream, you’re in good company. What was once a frozen dessert eaten by “high society” types in the 1700s has become one of our country’s most beloved treats.

At any given time, 87 percent of Americans have ice cream in their freezers. In fact, U.S. annual ice cream consumption is 5.5 gallons per capita. Only New Zealanders eat more (a whopping 7.5 gallons!) ice cream per person.

Ice cream has been around for centuries, as has plain yogurt, but frozen yogurt is a much more recent invention and didn’t appear until the 1970s. Consumers’ first reaction was that it tasted too much “like yogurt,” which had manufacturers scrambling to reformulate their recipes. The first TCBY shop opened in 1981, and within a few short years, TCBY had become the world’s largest frozen yogurt franchise.

Although ice cream and frozen yogurt often have the same percentage of protein, frozen yogurt is made with cultured milk and not cream. It may or may not contain live and active bacteria culture. The milkfat in frozen yogurt is only around 0.5 percent to 6 percent.  

Frozen yogurt isn’t consumed in the same massive quantities as ice cream, but the proliferation of “add your own toppings” frozen yogurt shops across the country in recent years certainly testify to its popularity.

Make Your Own

Sometime after Nero became emperor of the Roman Empire in A.D. 54, Roman literature recounts tales of fruit juices being chilled with mountain snow to create a sort of frozen dessert.

You don’t need a freezer full of snow, nor do you have to dash to the store and buy ready-made frosty delights. We’ve rounded up some tasty, easy-to-make recipes for refreshing drinks and snacks that will make cooling off a special treat all summer long. And some of them can even fall into the “healthy eating” category!

Creamy Watermelon Sherbet

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of watermelon.org

  • 5 cups watermelon purée (about 1 large watermelon) 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unflavored gelatin 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk 
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice 

Soften gelatin in 1/2 cup of the watermelon purée. › Let stand 5 minutes at room temperature, and then heat gently to dissolve gelatin. › Cool slightly. › Add remaining watermelon purée, sugar, nutmeg, lime juice and milk to gelatin mixture. › Freeze in ice cream freezer according to appliance directions.

Watermelon Berry Popsicles

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of watermelon.org

  • 5 to 6 cups seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup California giant blueberries 
  • 1 cup California giant raspberries 
  • 3 tbsp honey 

Add watermelon, 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1/2 cup of raspberries and honey to a blender. › Blend until smooth. › Press through a fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds. › Fill popsicle molds 3/4 full with liquid. › Add whole blueberries and raspberries to each mold. › Insert sticks, and freeze for at least 4 hours or until completely frozen.

Vegan Orange Sorbet

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of Floridajuice.com

  • 2 cups Florida orange juice
  • 3 whole bananas
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ginger

Fill ice cube tray with Florida orange juice, and freeze until solid. › Cover baking sheet with wax paper. › Slice bananas, and lay them flat on the baking tray. › Freeze for at least 8 hours. › In a blender, add frozen Florida orange juice cubes, frozen banana slices, vanilla extract and ginger. › Blend until the mix becomes creamy and smooth. › Serve immediately.

Avocado Banana Smoothie

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of Floridajuice.com

  • 1 cup Florida orange juice
  • 1/2 unripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Add banana, frozen raspberries, almond milk, Florida orange juice, avocado, Greek yogurt, ginger, ice and vanilla protein powder to a blender. › Blend ingredients. › Pour into a tall glass or to-go cup.

Florida Strawberry Dream Ice Cream

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of Florida Strawberry Growers Association, flastrawberry.com

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed fresh strawberries

In a large bowl, combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla. › Pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl, and let mix for 20-30 minutes until it begins to thicken. › Add strawberries, and process for 10 to 15 more minutes. › The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. › Transfer ice cream to an airtight container, and place in freezer for 2 hours. › Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving. › Add a sprig of mint or basil for an even more beautiful display.

Florida Strawberry-Yogurt Freezer Pops

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of Florida Strawberry Growers Association, flastrawberry.com

  • 1 lb Florida strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 10 freezer pop molds and sticks

In blender or food processor, add half of the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. › Purée ingredients until sugar is dissolved. › Pour mixture into a small pitcher or container, and add the rest of the chopped strawberries. › Fill each freezer pop mold by alternating layers of strawberry mixture and yogurt. › Insert handle or stick into each freezer pop, and freeze at least 5 hours. › To serve, run warm water over outside of molds until pops come out easily. › If you don’t have freezer pop molds, use small paper cups. › Cover tops of cups with plastic wrap, and poke the sticks through the plastic to keep them standing upright while in the freezer.

Fruity Pudding Pops 

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of The Kraft Heinz Company, kraftrecipes.com

  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding 
  • 1/4 cup KOOL-AID Strawberry Flavor Sugar-Sweetened Drink Mix (from the canister) 
  • 2 cups cold fat-free milk 
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries 

Beat pudding mix, drink mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 minutes. › Stir in berries. › Pour into 5 (6-oz) paper cups. › Insert wooden pop stick in center of each. › Freeze 4 hours or until firm. › Peel off cups before serving. › Variation: Prepare using JELL-O White Chocolate Instant Pudding, your favorite flavor of Sugar-Sweetened KOOL-AID and substitute 1 drained (11-oz) can mandarin oranges or 1 sliced banana for the berries. 

Arctic Grapes

Recipe and photo used with permission courtesy of The Kraft Heinz Company, kraftrecipes.com

  • 1 lb seedless green grapes 
  • 2 tbsp (about 1/3 of 3-oz pkg) JELL-O Lime Flavor Gelatin 

Rinse grapes; shake gently to remove excess water. › Remove, and discard stems from grapes. › Place grapes in large resealable plastic bag. › Add dry gelatin mix, close bag and then shake gently to evenly coat grapes with gelatin mix. › Spread grapes onto rimmed baking sheet. › Freeze 2 hours or until frozen. 

Smart-Choice Peanut Butter-Chocolate Freeze 

Recipe used with permission courtesy of The Kraft Heinz Company, kraftrecipes.com

  • 45 reduced-fat vanilla wafers, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups) 
  • 1/2 cup PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, divided 
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened 
  • 1 can (14 oz) fat-free sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 tub (8 oz) COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping, thawed 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup 

Mix wafer crumbs, nuts, butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter until blended. › Reserve 1/4 cup crumb mixture; press remaining onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. › Beat Neufchatel and remaining peanut butter in large bowl with mixer until blended. › Gradually beat in condensed milk. › Stir in COOL WHIP; pour over crust. › Drizzle with chocolate syrup; swirl gently with knife. › Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. › Freeze 2 hours or until firm. 

Berry Lemonade Slush 

Recipe used with permission courtesy of The Kraft Heinz Company, kraftrecipes.com

  • COUNTRYTIME Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries 
  • 2 cups ice cubes 

Measure drink mix into cap to 1-qt line (1/2 cup). › Blend water, drink mix and berries in blender until smooth. › Add ice; blend on high speed until thickened. › Serve immediately. 

What’s In A Name?

All ice cream is not created equal. The definitions from the International Ice Cream Association help decode that label.

  • Ice cream: must contain at least 10 percent milkfat 
  • Reduced fat ice cream: contains at least 25 percent less total fat than “regular” referenced ice cream
  • Light ice cream: contains at least 50 percent less total fat than “regular” referenced ice cream
  • Lowfat ice cream: contains no more than 3 grams of total fat per 1/2 cup serving
  • Nonfat ice cream: contains less than 0.5 grams of total fat per serving

Frosty Facts & Figures

In honor of National Ice Cream Month (July received this title in 1984), we’re sharing some interesting tidbits about this popular treat:

  • Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in the United States.
  • The ice cream churn was invented in the 1840s.
  • The first U.S. ice cream plant opened in 1851.
  • It takes 3 gallons of milk to make 1 gallon of ice cream.
  • The waffle cone first debuted in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, supposedly when a Syrian waffle maker rolled his pastries into cones to help an ice cream vendor who had run out of dishes.
Source: icecream.com


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