I grew up on the north coast of New South Wales, where tropical fruit is abundant and graced our seasonal table. As a child, for a few years my father owned several banana plantations, so bananas were our go to fruit. I remember my sister and I slowly earned pocket money, hitting wooden pieces of timber into a crate. Mum and Dad filled these boxes with green bananas to send by train to the markets on the east coast of Australia. There were several trees of mangos in the plantations, and after a hard days work, weeding the rows between the banana trees, we’d sit under the shade and eat slices of a mango, succulent juice dripping from our elbows. One never forgets the flavour of tropical fruit fresh from the tree.
These popsicles are a simple three-step recipe; chop the fruit, blend and pour into a popsicle mold. It’s best to use ripe fruit so the flavour is succulent and delicious. Keeping a tray of popsicles in the fridge is best right through the summer. Either make them at night so they’re ready the next day or make them early in the morning so they’re ready by mid-afternoon when everyone’s in need of a cool refreshing treat to bide them over until dinner.
· Some of the healthiest and most sought after tropical fruits are mangoes, papayas, coconuts, kiwi fruit, pineapples, avocados, guava, dragon fruit and melons.
· It’s a shame that some tropical fruits get a bad reputation just for being naturally high in sugar or high in fat. They’re often deemed unhealthy for this reason, yet this isn’t how it should be. All fruits or vegetables have something to bring to the table when it comes to our nutrition, tropical fruits included.
· Some people are even surprised to learn that tropical fruits such as kiwi, pineapple, bananas, mangoes and coconuts are actually some of the lowest glycemic foods available and some of the most nutrient-dense. In fact, pineapple has less sugar per serving than an apple, and bananas are actually lower on the glycemic index than sweet potatoes.
· Mangoes have to be ripe before they develop their sweet flavour, so be sure to cut them only when they’re slightly soft. The colours may differ, so they won’t change like a banana or avocado will, for instance. When they’re soft to the touch like avocados and smells sweet at the end, then you know mangoes are ripe. They’re a great source of vitamin C, containing 75 percent of your needs in just one fruit. Mangos have also been to fight leukemia, colon, breast and prostate cancer due to their specific antioxidant compounds. Mangoes are also alkalizing, great for diabetics since they’re low glycemic, and help improve your eyes, hair, and skin.
· Coconuts are packed with fibre, electrolytes, they fight bacteria in the body, improve mental focus, help fight the blues thanks to their healthy fats and mineral content, offer up magnesium, fibre, B vitamins, and even the amino acids you need to stay healthy and strong.
· Papayas are packed with enzymes for digestion, loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene for your skin, and very hydrating due to its high water content. Papayas are ripe when their entire skins turn yellowish orange in colour, so don’t eat them when they’re still green or they’ll be hard and not very sweet on the inside. Though the seeds look a bit strange with their bubbly appearance, don’t throw them out. You can use these in smoothies without even tasting them. The seeds are beneficial for removing parasites from the body, they help fight cancer and help with cirrhosis of the liver, and a cup of them even count as 1 protein serving because of their amino acids and healthy content.
Makes 10 popsicles
V, SF, DF, NF
1 cup fresh ripe mango chunks
1 cup fresh ripe papaya chunks
1 cup coconut milk or coconut water
1 cup coconut yogurt
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup, optional
Place all ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds. Place popsicles into the freezer and freeze overnight. When serving, thaw for a few minutes or run warm water over the outside of the molds to loosen.