Monday, March 5, 2012

Raw Aztec Popsicles: Living Banana Ice Cream w/ Chia-Berry Swirl, Cacao-Coconut Shell and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds Sprouts

Here's the recipe for these easy but kind of spectacular pops.  

3 Components: banana ice cream, shell, and seeds.  First sprout, season, and dry pumpkin seeds, then prep and freeze banana ice cream pops, last prep shell and assemble.

1 – Spiced Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds

Sprout a handful of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) but soaking in clean water overnight, then draining and allowing to sprout for another 8-16 hours.  Add any other nuts, seeds you like (I always add sunflower as they’re nutritious, easily digestible and cheap – walnuts or hazelnuts would also be good)

Toss seeds with some salt, cayenne, and raw honey to taste.  There are no amounts because we all have different preferences, needs, and constitutions.  Taste as you go and have fun.

Optional: Sprouting takes some the beautiful green away from pumpkin seeds.  Add a pinch of green tea powder to bring it back (as I did in pics).

Dry at less than 110º for a day.

2 - Ice Cream

a few Bananas
handful of Strawberries
a few Tablespoons of sprouted Chia (see below)

Peel bananas
Blend and pour into a bowl
[bananas can also be frozen and blended into raw ice cream: blend on high, tamping down continuously (a high speed blender like a vita-mix works best, but go fast so they don't thaw) until they resemble soft-serve ice cream.  The 'nana-cules will be frozen but separated, allowing them to slide over each other creamily.]


Too much strawberry in the banana and it will blend too consistently, as each time you swipe
 through with the ladle you're stirring it up.  We want swirls, asymmetrical and organic.  

Clean blender and blend berries and chia

Pour little bits of the berry mixture into the banana goop, swirling and ladling into small cups (I used little plastic dixie cups someone gave me - if you aren't sure about the non-stick nature of your vessels they can be lined with plastic wrap, though I personally wouldn't risk the potential toxicity.)

Mixture should be thick enough to hold up a popsicle handle, I used plastic spoons though popsicle sticks, clean and de-barked twigs, chopsticks, etc will work fine.


3 - Shell

equal parts Coconut Oil (liquified) and raw Cacao Powder
Sweetner of your choice (or not) in the amount of your choice (I rock raw honey always)

Coconut oil can be liquefied by putting jar in a warm place, like on the fridge or dehydrator, or running under warm water until it melts.

Blend all ingredients until shiny and consistent.

can also be ready for the afternoon if you freeze
whole bananas and soak seeds in the morning

[If you’re not eating them right away, prepare a baking sheet or something flat to re-freeze pops, covered with wax paper.]

Remove pops from cups.

Dip in cacao-coconut mixture and quickly roll in seeds.

Put back in fridge for an hour, then transfer to gallon –sized zip-loc freezer bags.

In the picture at the very top of this post, you can see one pop dipped completely, while the others have an open bottom.  I think the first looks cleaner, and the others have a window into wabi-sabi.  As always, your choice!

Nerd Corner:
the lab
Coconut oil is a liquid above 76º, and a solid below (everything has its own melting and boiling temperatures: candle wax, steel, the sun.)  When liquid coco oil touches frozen banana, it turns back into a solid.  Roll the pops in the pepitas quick before this happens.


Chia is a super-easy sprouter.  Just soak it in 4 times as much water for a day, then stick it in the fridge.  Because of its slippery soluble fiber coating, it will germinate and sprout under water, just like flax and mustard.  I always keep little jars of these three sprouted in the fridge.

Chia is a small mucilage seeds from a desert plant closely related to mint, and are both black and white in color.  In pre-Columbian times, chia was an important staple in both the Aztec and Mayan diets, and was the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors.  It’s been said that one tablespoon of the seeds could sustain an ancient scout for a full 24 hours.  Banned by the Spanish government in the 16th century after a millennium of cultivation because of its close ties to the Aztec religion, chia is currently experiencing a cultural renaissance, which I hope is due in some small part to their incredible nutrition and not entirely the result of chia-pets and -presidents.

The highest plant source of Omega-3 EFAs (higher than even flax, but not quite as yummy), chia is rich in fiber (over 25%, in fact), has 3 times the antioxidants of blueberries, more calcium than milk, and more iron than spinach.  Chia also contains high quantities of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.  The Aztecs used chia medicinally to relieve joint pain and sore skin, and I expect both of our cultures can respect the fact that it’s so high in anti-oxidants that it will stay fresh for years longer than most seeds, especially as ours deals with a peak oil crisis.  As a mucilage, the gel that forms when put in water helps slow down the breakdown and metabolization of carbohydrates and sugar, so it’s the perfect thing to add to dessert to keep blood sugar from spiking.  Now that modern society is noticing this mighty little seed again, it’s being fed to laying hens to increase the omega-3 in their eggs, and chickens and cattle to increase the nutritive value of their meat.  If I had to pick an “Official Seed of Societal Collapse” this would be it.

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