by Liz Miller
To Gut Check, frozen treats made of water and sugar packaged in simple plastic tubes such as Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops are summer staples. These sticky, slippery sugar sticks have always been bargain-bin cheap at the grocery store or dollar store, and they can be purchased in large quantities on the cheap: 100 pops cost about $6. Inexpensive, plentiful and sugar-high inducing, they are the things that Gut Check's childhood dreams were made of. Or, as the rich kid who used to live down the street liked to put it, they are the "poor man's Popsicle." Hey, any day now Mom is going to buy us a bike radio, and when she does we're smashing yours with our remaining 99 Otter Pops.
Imagine our glee, then, when recently we received a press release at Gut Check HQ promoting a product called the IceHuggy, "the Flip-Fold-Fasten sleeve that stretches to wrap around your frozen ice treats" Yes, this is technology akin to a beer koozie applied to cheap-ass Otter Pops. Naturally, we had to have a pair of IceHuggies ASAP.
Upon receiving our complimentary pair of IceHuggy sleeves (normally priced at $6.99), we ventured to our local Schnucks in search of frozen treats. To our dismay, we couldn't locate the pops in the freezer section, until it occurred to us that such sweets are usually sold in unfrozen, liquid form in the juice box aisle -- yep, we're getting old. Once procured, it took the pops more than 48 hours to finely reach a durable deep-freeze, which meant we were more than prepared to test drive the IceHuggy. And what a test drive it was.
Though categorically silly in appearance -- the thing is essentially a North Face jacket for an Otter Pop -- Gut Check's trial run with the IceHuggy proved successful. A controlled experiment with no IceHuggy enshrouding a frozen pop left our fingers freezing and our pop melting far too quickly, as the ever-diminishing body heat from our hands ebbed away at the pop's solid state. Comparatively, our second, IceHuggy-encased pop kept our hands room temperature and our frozen pop frosty for the duration of the treat. But it's sort of a dangerous game, using the IceHuggy for pops, as it led us to wonder: "Without the strain of frozen fingertips and melted Popsicle juice, how many frozen Otter Pops can we consume in one day?"
And while the IceHuggy impressed with its fancy, thermal-protective properties, we're also pretty positive that we'd happily eat Popsicle after Popsicle with or without its assistance. That is to say, while it isn't pioneering the next wave of frozen-treat consumption, it's a nifty idea -- if you have $6.99 to spend on protection from freezer-burnt fingers.