The supermarket ice cream aisle is brimming with "quiescently frozen confections"-- novelty pops better known as frozen juice bars on a stick. What's quiescently? We didn't have a clue. As it turns out, it's a term in the frozen-food industry for molded confections made with ingredients that have not been stirred or whipped. Who knew? Who cares?
There were so many quiescently frozen juice bars and "fruit bars" to choose from that a taste test was in order. We discovered that our favorite bars, made by Edy's, Sharon's, Tropicana and Whole Foods, tasted like fresh fruit and were not overly icy in texture. Here are the results:
EDY'S STRAWBERRY FRUIT BARS
Wonderful frozen bars with the intensity of ripe fresh strawberries. Edy's lemonade bars were tart and tangy. Raspberry-kiwi bars were fine, but no match for the strawberry. (About $3.55 for six 2.75-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
TROPICANA ORANGE JUICE BARS
The refreshing flavor of fresh orange on a stick. (About $3.35 for six 2.5-ounce bars.) Available at Giant Food and Shoppers Food Warehouse stores. Tropicana also makes a "variety pack" with that great orange as well as a mild and pleasant raspberry and strawberry. (About $3.59 for 14 1.75-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
SHARON'S CHERRY SORBET BARS
Like Bing cherries? Sharon has captured the flavor of ripe, red cherries in a cooling bar with a pleasing texture. Also: Lemon tasted like fresh-made lemonade. Coconut was creamy and delicious, but a tad on the sweet side. Chocolate lovers will swoon over the rich cocoa flavor of chocolate, made with a touch of coconut. Those who are lactose intolerant will love dark vanilla--a nondairy bar with the aroma and flavor of a fresh vanilla bean. ($3.29 for four 3-ounce bars.) Available at Fresh Fields stores.
WHOLE FOODS 365 TROPICAL FRUIT BARS
Adults will appreciate the exceptional true fruit flavor with chunks of strawberry and pineapple to boot. Give the kids the other pops. Also: Whole Foods strawberry bars were disappointing. The flavor was flat with a hint of cardboard. ($1.99 for four 4-ounce bars.) Available at Fresh Fields stores.
DOLE FRUIT'N JUICE LEMONADE BARS
Care for a sour sucker? There was lots of sharp lemon flavor. The texture was "creamy" rather than icy. (About $3.75 for six 2.5-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
DOLE FRUIT JUICE BARS
We were disappointed with the watered- down grape and raspberry-flavored bars in the "variety pack." Strawberry was the best. (About $3.75 for 12 1.75-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
MINUTE MAID FRUIT JUICEE JUICE BARS
Not a bar on a stick but rather an icy and sweet push-up pop for kids. The flavors-- cherry, orange and grape--are intense. (About $2.89 for six 3-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
POPSICLE FANTASTIC FRUITY POPS
Kids will love these rainbow-colored, five-flavor bars that are fun to eat. Adults will long for a more pronounced fruit flavor. (About $2.75 for 10 2-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
Silly rabbit. Trix cereal lovers will appreciate the unmistakable and artificial-tasting raspberry red, lemon yellow and orange orange flavors. (About $2.45 for 12 1.75-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
WELCH'S DOUBLE DARE MEGA SOURS
Very icy, very sour green apple and blue raspberry bars with pucker power that are likely to be enjoyed by kids. (About $2.89 for 12 1.75-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
WELCH'S GRAPE FRUIT JUICE BARS
We like Welch's grape juice. But their bars had a watered-down, mild flavor. (About $3.55 for six 3-ounce bars.) Available at most supermarkets.
CASCADIAN FARM ORGANIC SORBET BARS
Orange tasted like syrupy-sweet canned apricots. Raspberry was too icy with a weak and stale-fruit flavor. (99 cents each for a 2.5-ounce bar.) Available at Fresh Fields stores.
SAFEWAY SELECT MANDARIN ORANGE FRUIT BARS
Very sweet with an artificial flavor. ($2.89 for six 3-ounce bars.) Available at Safeway stores.