Summer in the Philippines

Ice Candy

I started this article last May when summer was still in full swing. I wasn’t able to finish it earlier and the rainy season has started here now. But I know that in some parts of the world summer is just starting and when you say summer, it means hot sunny days when the heat can sometimes go up to 40° Celsius. Here in the Philippines, the provinces of Isabela and Cagayan are always the hottest places during summer time. But even in the capital city of Manila, the heat can be unbearable. To escape from this scorching heat, people go to beaches and immerse themselves in the cool water. The mall is another option. People flock to the mall to take advantage of the free air-conditioning. But to those who don’t have enough money, they try to beat the heat by staying home and have lots of cool water to drink and eat ice cream or ice candy.

What is Ice Candy

Filipinos, especially the kids, love to eat this frozen delight during the hot summer season. Ice candy is like a frozen juice placed in a small plastic bag, which you must nibble at the bottom in order to sip or bite the frozen juice. Often times, since there are lots of fruits available during summer, these ice candies are made from fresh fruits which makes it more delicious and nutritious at the same time. Most common fruits that can be made into these delightful treats are the avocados, coconut (buko), mango, melon and grapes. Among my favorites are the ones made with coconut and red mung beans. Ice candy can also be made with artificial fruit flavoring which are readily available in groceries or supermarkets. You just buy them then freeze them in your own freezer. When I was young, my grandmother would make ice candies either with Milo, Royal or Mirinda flavor.  Now, we even make fruit salad or buco salad flavored varieties.

How to Make Ice Candy

It’s very easy to make ice candy.  You will just need small plastic bags, a funnel, blender (optional), and the desired fruit or flavor.  In this article, I will show you how to make some with red mung beans.  In making ice candy with red mung beans, which is my favorite, you have to prepare the following:

  • red mung beans, cooked
  • sugar
  • evaporated milk
  • water
  • small plastic bags

How to prepare:

  1. First boil the red mung beans in water with a half cup of sugar to make it a bit sweet. Then remove it from heat and let it cool.
  2. Mix the water, sugar and evaporated milk according to taste and to how many pieces one is planning to make. Be sure to make it extra sweet because once the mixture is frozen, it will become less sweet.
  3. Because what we are using in making ice candy are the small type of plastic bags, we have to use a funnel and a ladle to fill up the plastic bag with the mixture. Then add a spoonful of the red mung beans. This will easily go down at the bottom of the plastic bag. You will need to close the plastic bag by securing it with a knot so be sure to leave enough space near the mouth of the plastic bag. Now securing a knot can be tricky, so I suggest that you first practice tying a knot with a plastic bag filled with water instead of the mixture. 
  4. Wash the finished product first with water before placing it inside the freezer to avoid them getting sticky.
  5. Place carefully inside the freezer and wait until it becomes frozen or solid.  Sometimes even before it gets solid, the kids already wants to eat it as long as it is already cold.

A Good Business

Not all houses here have their own refrigerator so making and selling ice candy is a good business. Many houses sell their own version as this is also another way to earn extra money during the summer. When you open the freezer, you will see the colorful ice candies carefully arranged waiting for them to get frozen. It is not unusual to see children roaming the street at daytime carrying a small ice chest or cooler filled with these ice cold treats and shouting at the top of their lungs, “Ice candy, buy our ice candy.” There are also houses that have cardboards written with “Ice Candy for Sale P5.00 only” hanging on their gates or maybe near their doors. Then small children will just have to knock at the door to buy. That way, they can also earn money during vacation time. It is a frozen yet affordable delight that most families enjoy.