So, you want to make water ice at home? It makes sense, as water ice is an easy treat to make, and calls only for sugar, water, and fruit juice or flavoring.

We went searching through The Inquirer archives for ice recipes and found plenty of versions. An early reference was from a 1906 article on frozen treats, including ice cream and sherbet. The story featured several variations on water ice, including Concord grape, lemon, and (ooh!) ginger.

Recipes in the Inquirer for water ice go back to 1906
Philadelphia Inquirer Archives
Recipes in the Inquirer for water ice go back to 1906

Some recipes require a machine, while other suggest you can simply pour the prepared ingredients into a dish, pop it into the freezer, then stir it with a fork in 30-minute intervals until it reaches to the desired texture.

We tried our hand at making water ice at home by adapting the 1906 recipe — and we definitely made it with a machine.

Citrus Water Ice

Makes about 2 cups

¾ sugar

2 cups water

Zest and juice of 1 lemon, ½ grapefruit, and ½ lime

Using a saucepan on low heat, dissolve sugar with water, zest, and juices, stirring constantly until it boils. Reduce heat to simmer and continue stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let the mixture chill completely (about 2 hours), then process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.

Raspberry Lime Water Ice. Adapted from a 1906 Inquirer recipe
Jamila Robinson
Raspberry Lime Water Ice. Adapted from a 1906 Inquirer recipe

Raspberry Lime Water Ice

Makes about 2 cups

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ cups water (divided)

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Zest and juice of 2 limes

Pinch of salt

Using a saucepan on low heat, dissolve sugar with 1 cup of water until it boils, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer, then add raspberries, lime juice and zest, and remaining water. Stir until raspberries are soft. Pass mixture through a strainer to remove seeds. Chill mixture until cold (about 2 hours), then process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.