Combat the summer heat with these delicious, dairy free, Mango Coconut Milk Popsicles. They have been infused with herbs that help promote sleep and relieve restlessness during a hot and sticky night - better yet - they are herbs you may already have growing in your garden at home!
My goodness I have really been struggling with this summer heat lately. I’ve become The Night Prowler. Restless in the heat of the night, pacing around the lounge all hot and sticky in efforts to cool down. And do you know what’s worse? My partner doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. He lies in bed, a little sweaty, granted, but still as a log, breathing peacefully.
I had this neat idea a few weeks back – firstly, to make a summery, healthy popsicle recipe to cool down, and secondly, to infuse said popsicle recipe with a few of my favourite herbs that help promote relaxation and sleep.
I made a few test batches up of what ended up being these Mango Coconut Milk Popsicles, and then decided on what herbs to use. I settled on a mixture of lemon balm and chamomile. Beautiful.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a herb from the mint family, native to Europe. It has a history of use as a calming herb, helping promote relaxation, and easing digestive discomfort. Before the Middle Ages it was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, and for this reason was commonly known as the “gladdening herb” . It was also used to heal wounds and soothe insect bites , and was a common addition to magical brews. The name Melissa means ‘honeybee’ in Latin, as bees are particularly fond of the flowers.
In herbal medicine today, it is used to promote sleep and give relief from insomnia, particularly when it is associated with restlessness and nervousness .
It can be found sold as either a loose-leaf tea or in cotton tea bags at natural foods stores or even supermarkets. Alternatively – as this is a common garden herb – you could just pick a few fresh leaves and brew a tea that way. It has a subtle lemon taste, as the name suggests. Fresh lemon balm leaves are also great in a pitcher of iced water.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is another favourite of mine. Like lemon balm, it is also soothing and calming on the digestive system .
In Astrological Herbalism it is ruled by the sun, which makes sense when you see its beautiful sunny face poking right out - tiny white petals behind it. Sun plants represent a person’s life force energy and drive for life. In magic, it is used to attract money . This is another herb you can easily grow at home, it is a short-lived perennial that quite likes sun and partial shade and lots of water. You can pick the flowers when they bloom and use them directly in your herbal tea. I have some growing in a large pot outside and they are quite happy there. Just be aware that some people may be allergic to the pollen, though this is rare . It has a slightly sweet and very pleasant taste.
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Mango Coconut Milk Popsicles
In making these popsicles, the herbal tea is of course entirely optional. If you were to omit it, I would suggest using ½ a cup of coconut milk in its place. Lime juice would also be great – and actually I only thought of that just now, but lime zest folded through the mixture before freezing would be a-mazing.
I’ve also kept this recipe free from any added sugars. I have however used a little xylitol, which is a ‘sugar free’ alternative sweetener. Classed as a sugar alcohol, it occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, though in this case, is derived from the Birch tree. The sugar alcohols elicit a low glycaemic response as they are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream . Additionally, the mango gives it a little natural sweetness. I wanted to keep it as low sugar as possible (considering it is a popsicle after all!), as sugar is stimulating and would negate the effects of our lovely calming herbs!
To decorate the popsicles, I sprinkled a little buckwheat groats over the tops as in the picture below. Just to give a little crunch at the end. I was also super tempted to dip them in a raw white chocolate mixture – but chose to spread a little coconut yoghurt over the tips instead. A sprinkle of coconut threads finishes them off.
Finally, this recipe made 7x 90ml popsicles. I had chopped mango ready to fold through the final mixture before pouring it into the moulds to set, and I forgot to add them in (ok, I ate them along the way). I think you’d get a clean 8 popsicles out of the recipe if you chose to incorporate the extra fruit.
Hope you guys love them, let me know how you go!
Mango Coconut Milk Popsicles - Sugar Free, Dairy Free
FOR THE HERBAL TEA:
- 2 teaspoons lemon balm loose leaf tea
- 2 teaspoons chamomile loose leaf tea
- ½ cup boiling water
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 125 ml coconut butter liquefied
- ½ cup tightly packed mango really tightly packed!
- 10 ml vanilla extract or paste
- 2 tablespoons xylitol
- Small pinch of fine sea salt
- Buckwheat groats
- Coconut yoghurt
- Coconut threads
TO MAKE THE HERBAL TEA:
- Steep the loose leaf herbs in ½ cup boiling water for 15 minutes, then strain the liquid straight into a blender. If you don’t have any herbs, skip this part but add an extra ½ cup coconut milk to the recipe. You can also use fresh herbs if you like - just a few tablespoons of each will do.
TO MAKE THE POPSICLES:
- Add all ingredients to the blender with the herbal tea, and blend till smooth.
- Pour into popsicle moulds. Sprinkle some buckwheat groats over the top as per my photograph if desired (this gives it a nice crunch at the base). Add popsicle sticks and freeze till set.
- To remove popsicles, run the moulds under hot water.
- Dunk the tips of the popsicles in coconut yoghurt, then sprinkle coconut threads over the top. Freeze again till set then enjoy.
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HOBBS, C., & GARDNER, L. (2013). Grow it heal it. NEW YORK: RODALE
EHRLICH, S. D. (2015). Lemon balm. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://UMM.EDU/HEALTH/MEDICAL/ALTMED/HERB/LEMON-BALM
MEDIHERB. (2015). Liquid prescriber’s guide (CATALOGUE)
BONE, K., & MILLS, S. (2013). Principles and practice of phytotherapy (2ND ED.). EDINBURGH, UK: CHURCHILL LIVINGSTONE
CUNNINGHAM, S. (2014). Cunningham’s encyclopedia of magical herbs. MINESOTA: LLEWELLYN PUBLICATIONS
WHITNEY, E., ROLFES, S., CROWE, T., CAMERON-SMITH, D., WALSH, A. (2014). Understanding nutrition. Australia and New Zealand edition (2ND ED.). MELBOURNE, VICTORIA: CENGAGE LEARNING