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Don’t you love finding different ways to repurpose household items to create less waste and save money? This week, we’re looking at the different ways you can repurpose ice cube trays. A standard plastic ice cube tray is an indispensable tool when it comes to freezing and saving various kinds of food to use later on. And outside of the freezer, an ice cube tray is useful for portioning, measuring and organizing. Here are 18 creative ways to use ice cube trays.
1. Freeze Fruit and Veggies for Smoothies
If you’re a fan of smoothies, blend some greens (spinach, kale, etc.) with a bit of water and freeze in an ice cube tray. Pull out a couple of cubes to throw in a morning smoothie for a nutritional boost. This also ensures that your greens won’t go bad before you can use them. Make sure to try this with frozen fruit, too.
2. Leftover Stock or Sauces
If you have some soup stock, tomato sauce or juice leftover after preparing a meal, store it in ice cube trays. Just fill a tray with your leftovers and freeze. Transfer the cubes to a freezer bag one they’re completely frozen.
I love pesto and since there’s an abundance of basil in the summer, I’ll make loads of pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. You can defrost a few cubes as needed to make delicious fresh pesto sandwiches or pesto chicken any time of the year.
4. Freeze Eggs
Don’t you love when you find a great sale on eggs? But then you have to use them by their expiration date. Why not use your ice cube trays to freeze the eggs? When you need them, just allow them to thaw—don’t microwave them or they’ll actually cook—and add to your recipes. You can also separate the yolks from the whites for when you need separated eggs in recipes. Once they’re frozen, take them out of the trays and store them in freezer bags.
5. Fresh Herbs All Year-Round
Do you grown your own herbs? Freeze some of that garden fresh flavor to use it for meals during the winter. Fill the cavities of an ice cube tray with the herbs and a little bit of water. Thaw a cube any time that you want to season a dish. If you want to use the herbs in a heated dish, there’s no need to thaw. Just drop the cube directly into the pan and proceed with your recipe.
6. Store Baby Food
Just puree some meat, vegetables or fruits to make homemade baby food. Fill each compartment to the top with the pureed blends and freeze. Then take out the desired number of cubes at mealtime.
7. Store and Organize Small Items
Ice cube trays make great organizers for jewelry, loose change, office supplies, medications, small hardware, and more.
8. Lemon and Lime Juice and Zest
Fresh lemons and limes are great, but if they sit in the fridge too long, they dry out. Squeeze out the juice when the citrus fruits are fresh and place it in an ice cube tray. Use the cubes in your dishes or use them to flavor water, seltzer or cocktails. You an also save the zest of the citrus fruits by filling the ice cube well with the shredded rind and adding a bit of the juice to hold it together.
9. Leftover Wine or Broth
Okay, who really ever has leftover wine? But if you do, freeze any wine or broth and use the cubes to make quick and easy pan sauces. After sautéing meat or vegetables, add a pat of butter to a pan with some shallots and herbs. Then add a cube or two of frozen wine or broth and you’ll have a delicious pan sauce in just a few minutes.
10. Use as a Snack Tray for Toddlers
Cut out bite sized pieces of vegetables or fruit and place in some cubes; then place some dip in a separate cube.
11. Make Single-Serving Cookie Dough Cubes
Want a surefire way to stop yourself from eating a whole batch of homemade cookies? Only bake one (or two) at a time. Make a batch of cookie dough and freeze it into individual ice cube containers. When you’re ready for a treat, place a cookie cube into the oven and enjoy.
12. Iced Coffee
Freeze extra coffee in an ice cube tray to use later in iced coffee. It will keep your drink cool without watering it down.
13. Garlic and Ginger
Garlic and ginger freeze really well. Grate tablespoon portions of ginger and whole clove portions of garlic and freeze them in an ice cube tray. You’ll save yourself quite a bit of time when preparing meals.
Never let half a container of buttermilk go to waste again—it will last up to three months in the freezer. Measure out how many tablespoons of buttermilk there are in each cube. When you’re ready to use it in a recipe, just thaw and add.
15. Make Popsicles
Fill an ice cube tray with juice , pudding or mashed fruit. Cover the top with foil and poke a popsicle stick through the foil and into each compartment.
16. Seed Starters
You can use ice cube trays as seed starting containers for small plants.Make sure to drill a small hole in the bottom of each individual ice cube container for proper drainage, and then add soil and seeds.
17. Paint Palette
If your kids love to paint, place the different colors in an ice cube tray. This is an easy way to keep the mess contained and the colors don’t get all mixed up quite as easily as when you use a plate.
18. Pretty Presentation
Freeze fresh fruit in ice cubes as a special addition to cool beverages. Use strawberries or raspberries for a pretty drink presentation at parties.
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