What’s in your ice cube trays? If your only answer is “ice,” you’re missing out! It turns out that your trays can be used to hold a whole lot more than frozen water. For example, they can become your secret weapon for making amazing coffee, impressing guests and even saving money.
Photo: The Kipi Blog
Here are nine things you can freeze in an ice cube tray (besides water):
Tip: Consider buying silicone trays instead of the traditional plastics. The material will make it easier to remove your creative ice cubes.
Preserve fresh herbs in olive oil so that you can enjoy delicious, fresh-tasting meals year-round. Freezing them in olive oil will reduce the risk of browning and freezer burn. Divide the herbs you want to preserve in the tray and then top them off with the oil. Pop that baby in the freezer, and use your herb cubes whenever a recipe calls for them. Tip: Tough herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano work best for this, but you can also freeze basil, cilantro and parsley.
Photo: Ashley Covelli | Big Flavors From a Tiny Kitchen
Impress your guests with this hosting trick! Add a few edible flowers to a tray the next time you’re making ice. When you’re ready to serve drinks at your next party, add a few of these flower-cubes to your cocktails to brighten them up. For extra-clear ice, use distilled water. Note: Only use edible flowers (that were specifically grown to be eaten) to ensure they are chemical-free. You’ll find edible flowers packaged at most natural grocers.
Photo: Catie Baumer Schwalb | Pitchforkdiaries.com
Freezing homemade chicken or vegetable stock in ice cube trays (as opposed to big containers) allows for faster defrosting and will take up less space in your freezer. When it’s time to make a pot of soup, dump in the stock-cubes. Note: You can keep the stock in your freezer for up to two months.
Say sayonara to watered-down iced coffee! Carefully pour hot coffee in an ice cube tray and then place the tray in the freezer. When you’re ready for a refreshing glass of iced coffee, place the coffee cubes in your (cold) cup of Joe. That’s it! Tip: Save money this summer by making your own iced coffee at home, too.
Photo: Kitchen Treaty
Have you ever bought a bottle of wine for cooking, only to use a small amount while the rest went to waste? Never again! Freeze leftover wine and then pop the wine-cubes out of the ice cube trays the next time a recipe calls for it. This trick works for red or white wine, just be sure to measure how much you’re adding to each slot.
Not only will fruit-cubes add a burst of color to your summer drinks, they’ll also add a burst of flavor! Kiwis, berries, lemon slices and peaches all freeze well. Make raspberry lemonade by adding a few berry cubes to the classic summer drink, or add the fruit to soda water for a deliciously bubbly beverage.
Make your own chocolate cubes with a mix of milk, instant coffee, cocoa powder and sugar with this recipe from The Mixer. For a quicker option, you can also melt chocolate chips over the stove and then freeze them. Chocolate cubes are fantastic with vanilla or almond milk. Tip: Plop a strawberry in the middle of your chocolate cubes and chill them in the fridge for at least an hour (instead of freezing) to make your own spa-worthy dessert!
If you need a little incentive to make a “super food smoothie” (kale and all), freeze a few cubes of coconut water, first. Replace the ice cubes you would normally use when making a smoothie with the coconut cubes! Not only is it healthier, it will reduce the intensity of any leafy vegetables you include. Tip: You can do the same with Greek yogurt, too.
Never again will that half-used carton of buttermilk go to waste. Measure out your buttermilk in tablespoon-sized portions for each slot in the tray. Once they’re frozen, take them out of the tray and place them in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use buttermilk again, just pull a few from the bag and thaw them. You’ll save money and reduce waste. Note: Buttermilk can last for up to three months frozen.