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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Frozen Sumac-Basil Lemonade Spice Pops


Frozen Sumac-Basil Lemonade Spice Pops

Lynley Jones

Sweet, tart, frozen goodness, with basil and flecks of sumac. See the Notes at the bottom for more on cooking with sumac, and some alternatives to the basil if you don't happen to have any on hand.

Makes about 10-12 ice pops


Sumac-Basil Lemonade Spice Pops made in the Adventure Kitchen.

Sumac-Basil Lemonade Spice Pops made in the Adventure Kitchen.

1/2 cup sugar

A small branch of basil, or about 7-8 leaves

1 teaspoon sumac

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of salt


1. Combine the sugar and basil with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk occasionally and let the mixture come to a simmer, about 2-4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, add the sumac and steep for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Discard the basil leaves, then pour the basil-sumac syrup into a pitcher. Add the lemon juice, stir in 3.5 cups of cold water and add a pinch of salt.

3. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze until solid, about 4-6 hours. 


Sumac in the Adventure Kitchen.

Sumac in the Adventure Kitchen.

Sumac is a traditional ingredient in Middle Eastern and Persian cooking. It's a dried, crushed red berry that adds a mild citrusy flavor to anything it's sprinkled on. It goes great either alongside or in place of lemon in your cooking.

In the US, people pronounce it SOO-mack, but my Iranian friends tell me it's pronounced so-MAGH in Persian. 

Sumac gives off a gorgeous pinkish-red color, so it works great here to give these spice pops a nice pink hue.

In this recipe, I leave the flecks of sumac in the syrup to make the spice pops because I like to see the reddish flecks in the finished pops. To make pink pops without the red flecks, just strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer in Step 2.

If you don't happen to have fresh basil, mint would be a really nice alternative here! Thyme would probably also work quite nicely.


Crushed berry common in Middle Eastern, Persian and north African cuisines. Citrusy flavor, this spice is great sprinkled on meat, veggies, fish, salads, or anything you might add a squeeze of lemon to.

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