When our friend Fidela invited us over for Iftar recently and served us passion fruit juice, all was instantly great in the world and when she gifted us a parcel of fresh passion fruit to take home, we went straight to summer heaven.
Of all the seasons, summer seems most filled with nostalgia for us. Maybe it’s the freedom we had away from school and rarely relaxed house rules that etch memories of daily jubilee, picking fresh fruit by sticks, stones and to the demise of some, even broken bones.
Chef Lij was the last of four boys with a big sister and though he was the baby, he had to try to toughen up fast to show that he was on par with his older siblings. I also grew up around boys and as the only girl for a decade, I was one of them. If you mention my name, my Aunty Claudette will still tell you the story of how I broke a branch of her mango tree swinging from it. My poor father.
Summer was also the time I got to visit the family farm in the country, eating freshly picked heirloom tomatoes still warm from the sun and cucumbers that were oozing with freshness. It was then I developed a love for tomato jus and why even now, I make my salsa runny so that sip it all up.
But outside of the fresh fruits and vegetables, our childhood summers were filled with memories of frozen treats. From the homemade ones made quite rustically in clean tiny plastic bags that we called “suck suck” to those long slender popsicles we called “kisko” to these wooden stick ones we called “icicle” we would lick and lick and suck and bite away while the sticky sweet juices ran down our hands and chins in the tropical summer heat.
We cannot again be children, but there is no reason to forget the childish enthusiasm that we had way back then when we got a frozen treat. Some things are meant to be sacred.
I have been meaning to post popsicles for several months now and even got one of those plastic moods, but held off until I could source this one that links me back to the days of eating much-loved icicles.
Let me hasten to say that any Jamaican seeing those seeds in the popsicle/icicle will think “Chef and Steward done gone mad” because traditionally, we strain the seeds when using the passion for juice. However, since this is a frozen application, it is ok to use the seeds and they also give a more stylized and grown up appeal. I taste tested with my discerning 5-year-old neighbour who thought it was so “Very tasty” that she didn’t want to share with her parents. As I write this, I am on my third.
3/4 cup fresh passion fruit
1/2 cup sugar (or other sweetener)
Half a lemon or lime
10g plain, unsweetened gelatine (optional)
- Blend ginger with water and strain. Add other ingredients except gelatine then mix together.
- If using gelatine, dissolve in 1/4 cup hot water, whisking briskly. When properly dissolved, add to juice mixture whisking to incorporate.
- Pour in popsicle mould and freeze.
- Remove each popsicle to serve and enjoy like a kid on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon!