How to Grow Your Own Pina Colada Popsicles
I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe, uplifting and happy Christmas. I had so many plans of things to share but the days leading to Christmas disappeared. Stefan’s brothers are here from Switzerland and we are having a break from working in the dread shed, completely closed down just to be with family, to garden, relax and catch up. Its peak summer. Days are long and hot (today it was 39 degrees in the shade). We spent Christmas morning on the beach. We swim every morning before it gets too hot and then back to the beach in the afternoon for more. We live on mangoes, watermelon and blueberries. So for all of my readers who are on the other side of the world and now in the thick of winter maybe you should just stop reading now…and whatever you do, do not scroll down to the images of freshly picked, homegrown, juicy pineapples or perfectly blue skies and clear ocean waters, sandy feet and pina colada popsicles in the hammock every afternoon. I wouldn’t want to make you jealous. It comes with sunburn, swimmers ear and sandy sheets anyway.
As soon as we moved to our land over three and a half years ago I started a little bromeliad collection in our garden. I adore them, with their self propagation, their hardiness and variety and their vibrant flowers that seem to last and last. My favourite bromeliad flower would most certainly have to be the pineapple (yep, pineapples are infact the flower of a bromeliad…amazing aye).
We grow them everywhere…under the mango trees out the back, all around the dread shed, in the vegetable gardens and rocky hillsides. Aside from bearing delicious fruits they are beautifully ornamental and (although sadly I don’t have a photograph) will sometimes sprout dainty purple flowers from between their segments. They are very easy to grow and are a wonderfully resourceful fruit because they take up little space, will fruit multiple times, and can be grown from scraps.
Years ago I heard that if you cut off the top of your pineapple and put it in the ground it will grow another one. And yes, it is that simple, but I’d like to share with you a few tips that will halve the wait and increase your chances of success. Firstly, when you buy your pineapples, look for ones that have well-formed, undamaged leaves on them (its also worth while looking out for heads that may even have an extra little baby sprouting out of the side, because this will eventually grow its own fruit which means you buy one pineapple and can grow two).
After cutting the leaves off the pineapple, remove any remaining pineapple flesh and then leave it to sit in a dry place for at least a few days, or until the cut has crusted over a little forming a scab. Peel off the first few layers of leaves so a small section (2-3cm) at the base of the head has been exposed. Submerge the first few centimeters of the base into a glass of water and leave for at least one week. You will quickly notice small roots growing.
We usually have a number of them going at once and have picked pineapples only 18 months after planting them. Our neighbours use them to create borders and frames for their garden beds and enjoy hundreds of free home-grown pineapples every year.
During the hottest part of the day when its too hot to make or eat anything cooked, these pina colada (non-alcoholic) popsicles have been delightful. The coconut milk makes them a little heartier than plain fruit popsicles and (ensuring you use a ripe, sweet fruit) are naturally sweet and delicious.
- 1 whole ripe pineapple, the core and skin removed
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 ripe bananas
- the juice of two limes
- a little extra sweetener (if desired)
- extra lime, finely sliced
Add half the pineapple and all other ingredients (except the extra sliced lime) to a blender and blend until smooth. Cut the remaining half of the pineapple into small chunks. Fill each popsicle mould (you can also use paper cups) with a slither of lime and a handful of pineapple chunks. Poor the blended coconut, lime, pineapple and banana on top until each mould is full. Add a popsicle stick to the top and place in the freezer until frozen solid. To remove, run under warm water and enjoy!