Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gadgets: Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Realistically, you can make ice pops in paper cups with wooden skewers for handles, but that's probably not as fun - or as trendy - as using a Zoku quick pop maker. They come in sizes to make one, two, or three pops at a time.

I tested the single quick pop maker ($25.99), but the instructions said they all work the same way.

The ice pop maker goes into the freezer, just like an ice cream maker bowl or those ice packs you stuff into your cooler. When you're ready to make the ice pops, you take the ice pop maker out of the freezer, put the chosen liquid into the mold, insert one of the provided plastic sticks, and wait.

It takes about five minutes for the liquid to freeze, depending on what, exactly, you're freezing and how many pops you've made in the same mold. You can freeze up to three ice pops in a single mold before you need to shove it back into the freezer, and each one takes a little longer to freeze. If you've got three kids, you might want to get the ice pop maker that freezes three at a time, because otherwise the last kid is going to be waiting a long time.

There are some limitations as to what you can freeze - plain water will stick. Although why you'd use this for ice, I don't know. The mixture needs to have the right consistency, but that still leaves plenty of options. My favorite was root beer. The carbonation affected the way it froze, leaving interesting streaks of color in the pops.

While this is no doubt marketed for families with kids, you can also freeze some adult beverages into ice pops, as long as the alcohol content isn't so high that it thwarts freezing. But at worst, you're scooping a slushy out of the ice pop maker. And that's not really so bad.

The instructions talk about customizing the ice pops with slices of fruit or by layering different flavors, or sucking out the center of the pop before it's completely frozen so you can fill it with a different flavor. There are also add-on kits for customizing and decorating the pops. I'm not nearly that crafty, but it could be a lot of fun for kids to make their own special pops with fruit and juices.

Since this doesn't have any moving parts, it should last for quite a long time unless it's dropped or abused; it's not dishwasher safe. There are replacement parts available if you happen to lose the extra parts.

The product was supplied for the purpose of a review on Serious Eats; this was previously published on Serious Eats.

Just so you know, Gadgets posts will be changing a bit. I've been re-posting my reviews from Serious Eats, but the column there will be much different. However, I love reviewing kitchen gadgets, so I'll continue doing reviews. They might be different ... and they might be posted somewhere else. We'll see ...