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With the recent hot weather we've been getting through so many Ice lollies (popsicles) that we have started making our own.

We are primarily using freshly squeezed orange juice (with bits *8') and freezing them in a frost free freezer regulated to -18°C.

Comparing them to the '100% juice' lollies we have been buying, they taste better but don't have quite the same texture when you bite into them.

In the commercial lollies, the ice crystals run in lines which radiate out from the central axis of each lolly. With our home frozen lollies, the ice crystals are randomly arranged in every orientation.

Answers to What stops commercial ice lollies from being rockhard? suggest changing the amount of sugar, or adding glycerin, pectin or gelatin.

I'm not sure whether adding more pectin would help, given that it's freshly squeezed orange juice that we're freezing, and the other suggestions aren't acceptable as we don't want to add any more sweeteners, and we want our lollies to be vegetarian, so no steak dipping here.

So, how do commercial freezers get this nice smooth, radiative arrangement of ice crystals without additives, and can I replicate this at home?

I presume that this is, in large part, a process control issue, with specific cooling profiles needed to get the ice crystals to form in a consistent way.

Steak Dipping: What my partner calls the act of needlessly making something non-vegetarian by adding something for which there is a vegetarian alternative.

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    I'm betting the commercial versions are frozen much more quickly than yours are. You may want to experiment with different freezing techniques. For example, you could try using smaller molds and/or metal molds. If you're adventurous, you could also try brine freezing. Pre-chill salt solution (23% by weight, which freezes at -21C) in the freezer, then set the filled molds in the brine (still in the freezer). I'm not sure if this will give you the results you want, but it might worth trying. – mrog Jul 10 '18 at 23:21
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    Along mrog lines. What about freezing it in an ice cream machine and then finishing it in molds? The ice creaming will keep the crystals smaller. Though still not perfect because the sugar level is to low. – mroll Jul 11 '18 at 5:02
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    @mrog having made liquid nitrogen ice cream the key isn't fast freezing per se, it's fast freezing while keeping things moving – Chris H Jul 11 '18 at 10:23
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    IIRC, a frost free freezer is frost free because it periodically warms itself up to get rid of the frost. You might do better with a freezer that isn't frost free, since the warming and cooling cycles of frost free models are pretty rough on things like this. – Todd Wilcox Jul 11 '18 at 18:46
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    Another experimental point is the solids that pure orange juice might contain. The solid particles would act as nucleation points for crystal formation. // You might experiment with freezing thawed commercial pops to see if you can get that mixture to freeze as desired. – MaxW Jul 12 '18 at 4:15
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I have been experimenting with vegan frozen desserts lately and I've found that using invert sugar and 0.5% to 1% locust bean gum really helps in slowing down the crystal formation.

I would hydrate LBG by combining with water and then bringing it to a boil while mixing; then mix it into the actual liquid you'd want to freeze.

Making invert sugar is also fairly easy, you can mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1kg water and 480ml water. And bring it to 114C under medium-high heat. Here's a recipe using citric acid instead

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Ice crystals for during the freezing process, but not once it's done.

So you can either improve how cold you can get your freezing apparatus or increase the surface area of your pops, so that they get colder faster.

Longer pops may help.

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