Sure, you can use your ice cube tray to freeze plain old water … but there’s so much more that this simple tray and your freezer can do. Here are some of our favorites, but these are just the tip of the iceberg:
1. Freeze Fresh Herbs
Take your home-cooked meals up a notch to restaurant quality by adding fresh herbs. Want green herbs at your disposal whenever a recipe calls for them? Or just want to be ready to spice up soups, pastas, sauces, grilled meats? See how your cuttings can cut down on prep time and amp up the flavor.
2. Get Saucy
For a simple and fast way to cook an impressive Italian meal, try this: Take left over pesto or marinara and freeze individual portions that can be re-heated in a jiff. Use on pasta, to top grilled meats or fish (pesto works well) or just use as an easy dipping sauce for crusty Italian bread or crudités to enjoy with cocktails.
In a hurry? For a simple and fast way to cook an impressive Italian meal, try this: Take left over pesto or marinara and freeze individual portions that can be re-heated in a jiff. Use on pasta, to top grilled meats or fish (pesto works well) or just use as an easy dipping sauce for crusty Italian bread or crudités to enjoy with cocktails.
3. Jazz-up Iced Javas
No need to spend your time or money at a trendy coffeehouse when you want a specialty iced coffee. Just turn your cooled, home-brewed coffee into frozen cubes of coffee. That way, when you want a fancy iced coffee drink, you don’t have to pay coffeehouse prices or sacrifice that fresh-brewed flavor that you love, as you would with plain ice. See just how delicious they can be in this refreshing iced mocha.
4. Take Stock
Cooled, leftover vegetable, chicken or beef stock can vegetable stock, chicken stock or beef stock can be preserved at its peak flavor in easy-to-use cubes. These little frozen gems can go right from the freezer into the frying pan to add depths of flavor to gravies, sauces or even moisture to savory rice dishes.
5. Break the Ice Over Cocktails
You can add beautiful eye-catching garnishes to your cocktails with creative cubes like these. The ice will not only cool the drink, but as it melts, it'll also add the right amount of water. Not to mention, it'll create the perfect conversation starter. Mint, basil leaves, berries, even edible flowers all make for fancy cocktails that will leave you savoring every taste.
6. Waste No Wine
It’s hard to imagine, but some people actually have this thing called “leftover wine,” and they don’t know what to do with it. Here’s the answer: white wine cubes are ideal for chilling a glass of Chardonnay or Chablis. And red wine cubes and/or white wine cubes are the perfect way to cool a pitcher of Sangria. Keep wine cubes on hand for gourmet cooking anytime.
7. Capture Caramelized Cloves
Roasting garlic can take up to an hour, but you can enjoy that rich, roasted flavor right from your ice cube tray. Just squeeze those roasted caramelly cloves into your cube tray , freeze and re-use after a quick defrost. Spread on crusty bread or blend into creamy mashed potatoes (also works well with grated ginger.) Your taste buds will thank you.
8. Portion Pint-sized Purées
You only want what’s best for your baby. And sometimes, that means making your own child's food. That way, you can control the ingredients and make sure there are no unwanted preservatives or other additives. This is when ice cube trays come in and make the perfect little helpers. Make your nutritiously, delicious baby-preferred purées and then freeze them for your little one to enjoy later.
9. Energize Easily
Healthy, on-the-go nutrition has almost everyone excited. There are whole shelves of these grab-and-go bars lining grocery stores. But you can make your very own right at home with just a few simple ingredients and an ordinary ice cube tray. These better than store-bought bite-sized bits of wonder are gluten free, nut-free and vegan. Best of all, they’re portioned for easy, on-the-go energy.
10. Contain Cookie Cravings
It’s okay to give in to temptation every so often, but with cookie boxes in the house, it’s easy to go overboard. However, when you portion your cookie dough, knowing how to contain yourself and making sure you don't go too crazy is a breeze. Just bust out a couple cookies and bake when the mood strikes.
11. Bring Home the Bacon
Ever wondered what to do with all that “liquid gold” after you’ve fried up your bacon? Just let the drippings cool slightly, strain it to get out any solid or burnt bits and pour it into an ice cube tray to freeze. Then you can pop a bacon cube into a pan and use it to sauté greens, onions or even to fry an egg for that irresistible smoky flavor.
12. Treat Yourself
This delectable treat costs around $5 to make and takes only minutes to prepare. Simply [insert comma] fill each compartment in your ice cube tray two-thirds full with your favorite melted chocolate chips. Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips work well. Then pop in a washed, dried strawberry in each slot. Chill in the fridge (not freezer) till set. In about an hour or so, you’ll have adorable chocolate-covered strawberries that are elegant enough to share with guests and simple enough to enjoy anytime.
Before you get started experimenting with these inventive ideas, you’ll want to make sure your freezer and fridge are up to the task. Be sure to read our tips to keep your freezer in shape Then check out our simple Guide to Refrigerator Maintenance for easy, step-by-step advice and troubleshooting solutions for common problems, including ice-maker issues.
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