Probiotic.org claims that the bacteria stays alive through freezing --
The live bacteria, few of which are killed in the freezing process, go into a dormant state. When eaten and brought back to warm temperatures within the body, these cultures again become active and impart the same health benefits as regular yogurt. A 1999 study by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University confirmed the high survival level of bacteria during freezing using three different methods.
When we started going through so many it felt like it was getting expensive, making lots of trash, and I want to control the ingredients in her frozen treats (even with YoKids being WAY better about sugar content then Gogurt). When I was growing up we always had homemade popsicles available in the summer. They were usually made out of orange juice (The way OJ flakes when frozen is spectacular!). So I started searching for the ultimate popsicle molds for tots.
Since the push up style seems to be working well for Lottie, I looked for something similar to squeeze out the frozen goodness without it running down her hand.
I found 2 brands of squeeze style silicone pops.
Kinderville Ice Pop Molds: All their items are made with BPA, Phthalate, and PVC free Silicone that is a non-leaching material so it’s safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave and the freezer. I like that this brand feels substantial. The top has a good fit and the rim holds it shape when adding yogurt to it.These are short and chunky. I put 3 in a small plastic cup to stand upright in the freezer.
Exciting News!! These are Coming Soon to Ecological Babies.
Norpro- I can't find any claims particular claims about the material, but all silicone is BPA free. These are tall and thin, I think they are kind of flimsy, and don't stand up in the cup well because of some extra material on the bottom.
Disclaimer: If you have a tot under 2, they won't be able to keep the yogurt squeezed tight, which let's the hunk fall to the bottom. My daughter decided to dig her hand into the container to grab handfuls of yogurt to put in her mouth. Big mess!
My solution was to use a chip clip. Unless you want to sit next to your child during a perfectly good 15 minutes that they are content without you, I recommend the chip clip. I can bounce around the house and adjust it every so often with no mess. :)
Jewel Ring Pops made by Tovolo - These are Lottie's favorite. She gets pretty upset when we run out. I like that they are only 1.5 ounces, so she can eat it before it melts and gets messy, but an older child may eat them in one bite. Each pop comes out of the base for individual servings. The top 'stick part' clicks into the mold and they are so small that it can be difficult getting the pop out sometimes. I recommend running it under warm water then 'unclicking' the top by jiggling a little section at a time.
You can put anything in these popsicle molds, but I opt for frozen yogurt. I get plain organic 32oz yogurt for Lottie, sometimes Stoneyfield, sometimes little Dreaming Cows, and have had success with the following easy mixes.
Drain the Yogurt. (*see below)
Put the fruit in a food processor or blender.
banana or banana or banana
strawberry strawberry strawberry
blueberry peas peach
Then add ~32 oz of drained yogurt.
Mix. Pour. Freeze. Eat.
I know, they are not very innovative, but I use what I have. Looking at the Plum Baby Organic blends that Lottie likes, I will experiment with some of these flavor combos in the future -
blueberry, pear, and carrot
sweet potato, corn, and apple
spinach, peas, and pear
pumpkin and banana
pear and mango
peach, apricot, and banana
apple and carrot
A side note. We ran into The Pop Stop at Railroad Square this First Friday. Their popsicle flavor combos were ridiculous. Orange Basil. Say what! and Chocolate Sea Salt. Of course I got that one. A-Maze-ing!
Mama's Frozen Yogurt
I am not really a fan of yogurt. I think it's the texture. I wish I was a fan because I know all those cultures are great for my digestive system. I am, however, a total addict to TCBY chocolate vanilla swirl. I buy it by the quart and heart the drive thru in town. We are very lucky to have about 10 frozen yogurt cafes in a five mile radius. Still, I find it necessary to make my own, for the same reasons I make Lottie's, and for a good excuse to use my dusty ice cream maker (Yes, Mom, thanks, I'm using the ice cream maker!).
I had a lengthy discussion today with a young man at our local co-op about the different types and textures of yogurt. I am aiming for a high, active culture count, plain or vanilla, whole milk, creamiest yogurt, that comes in a large, 32 ounce container.
- Kefir has great cultures but only comes in drinkable yogurt - I need creamier.
- Greek is creamy - but to tangy for dessert.
- Dreaming Cow (our local yogurt)- only comes in 6ounce containers (I sent them an email today requesting they sell 32 ounce).
- Liberte is super sweet and creamy - I got one to sample, but it doesn't come in plain or large containers.
- Stoneyfeild is pretty creamy, comes in plain, vanilla and in large containers - this works for me. I choose vanilla.
Freeze your ice cream maker 24 hours ahead of time, I wrap mine in a plastic bag to prevent frost bite. I read that somewhere.
*Drain the yogurt on cheese cloth, a bio bag or a strainer. Whatever contraption you want to come up with. This makes a creamy yogurt and prevents it from crystallizing.
A pretty jar w/cheese cloth
Makeshift strainer in an empty yogurt container
Put the drained yogurt in the ice cream maker (it should be thick and about half the original volume). Let it mix while you get the chocolate ready. Yes, chocolate. I did say this was Mama's Frozen Yogurt, right. ;)
I melted the chocolate in a double boiler with a touch of cream till it was a congealed mess. Then I scooped it into the yogurt, which had already starting to freeze. Some chocolate instantly cooled into flakes and chunks while some mixed into the yogurt making it a tangy, chocolate, chocolate flake/chunk goodness.
If I had actually looked at the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Book beforehand, I would have known to wisk the melted chocolate with milk, mix the cooled chocolate sauce with drained yogurt, cool the yogurt with chocolate mixed in for 1-3 hours. Then add the cooled mixture into the ice cream maker.
But hey. Happy accidents sometimes make yummy treats! After all isn't the fun of cooking experimenting?