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For students looking to cool down on campus this spring without splurging on Red Mango, homemade ice pops can be a great alternative. Ice pops can be made with anything from soda to coconut water, so they can be as healthy or unhealthy as you want them to be. Most of the specialty ingredients used in these recipes are available at Wegmans in Johnson City, and if you don’t have ice pop molds or an ice cube tray, a small plastic cup can work as a stand-in. Try these recipes by the book, or break out of the mold and use them as inspiration for your own original creations.

Bearcat Pops

— Lemon-lime soda

— Green and clear gummy bears

These green pops are a unique way to show school spirit at sports games, festivals or other outdoor events. While Wegmans doesn’t stock gummy bearcats, regular gummy bears achieve a similar effect. Depending on your desired gummy bear-to-soda ratio, the bears can either fill the entire ice pop mold or just sink to the bottom of the mold to cluster at the tip when they are frozen. Either way, the candies will add an exciting change in texture as the soda melts away. Add your desired number of bears to the mold, fill it with soda and freeze them for eight hours.

Chai Pops

— Vanilla chai tea

— Milk

— Sugar

While some might think of it as a cozy winter drink, chai can also lend its sweet, spicy flavor to summer treats. While brewing a cup of chai tea, adding milk and sugar and freezing it takes a bit more effort than just using juice or soda, the payoff is worth it. For ice cream lovers in particular, this ice pop will prove to be a healthy, yet satisfying alternative. Heat a cup of water and add a bag of vanilla chai tea. Let it steep for five minutes, and add sugar and milk to taste. Pour it into the ice pop mold and freeze for eight hours.

Prickly Pear Pops

— Prickly pear lemonade

— One lemon, cut into thin slices

The prickly pear grows from a cactus and tastes like a mix of pears and watermelons, so it easily creates a sweet summer-y flavor. If you want to cool off while supporting a cause, try using prickly pear lemonade from Me & the Bees Lemonade, a company founded by 12-year-old Mikaila Ulmer, which uses local honey in its products and donates a percentage of its profits to organizations dedicated to honeybee conservation. For an enhanced citrus flavor, wedge a lemon slice into the ice pop mold before pouring in the lemonade and then freeze for eight hours.

“Miami Vice” Pops

— Goya piña colada mix

— Goya strawberry nectar

— Fresh strawberries

— Fresh pineapple

Named for the hit TV series, the Miami Vice is a refreshing summer cocktail made from equal parts piña colada and strawberry daiquiri. This ice pop uses the same flavor combination as the cocktail and adds fresh strawberry and pineapple chunks to the mix. Mix the pineapple chunks and piña colada mix first to create the piña colada layer. In a separate bowl, add the strawberries and strawberry nectar to create the daiquiri layer. Alternate layers of the cocktails in the mold until it is filled. Freeze for eight hours.

Tropical Tamarind Pops

— Goya tamarind nectar

— Fresh mango

— Fresh orange

A staple of many Asian cuisines, tamarind has a tart flavor that can be a unique addition to summer desserts. These ice pops feature chunks of fresh orange and mango to maintain a balance of sweet and sour. Tamarinds are often used medicinally to aid in digestion and relieve fevers, so these ice pops will feel as good as they taste and are particularly perfect after a night out. Layer the chunks of orange and mango in the mold, then fill it with tamarind nectar and freeze for eight hours.


— Goya passion fruit nectar

— Goya guava nectar

— Orange juice

POG, invented in the 1970s in Hawaii, is a blend of passion fruit, orange and guava juices. Travelers to and from Hawaii are often served the drink on their flights, and Disney World visitors who have stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort may remember it from their breakfasts. Whether or not the juice conjures up any nostalgic memories, it’s a perfect summer drink to turn into an ice pop. This recipe uses equal parts of every juice, but you can experiment with different ratios for variations on the flavor. Freeze for eight hours.