Who knew those little compartments that freeze water for your iced beverage refreshment had so much versatility? Ice Cube Trays have more uses that you could possibly think! There are all different kinds of ice trays, these days, too, from traditional metal to plastic to silicon and ins a variety of shapes, too, to give you lots of great options.
Don’t you just hate when you make ice tea or a settle back after a long week with your favorite drink over ice and it gets watery from the melting. Here’s a simple way to make your beverage go the extra mile! Poor leftover ice tea, lemonade, fruit drink, wine, or beer into trays and let them freeze. Fair warning with the beer and wine, use them fairly quickly as they tend to get mushy (and remember you can pop those into sauces, too, for extra flavor). Coffee cubes make for fantastic iced coffee and kick things up a notch making chai tea cubes. Delish. Freeze champagne for a quick mimosa and for cocktails, while, sadly, most alcohol and liqueurs won’t freeze, fear not. Freeze the mixers instead, or citrus peels with water and a mint sprig, for a delightful twist that won’t weaken your poison of choice.
Silicon trays sometimes work best for these items and there are lots of options for little bites of delight. If you are making cookies, but maybe don’t want all of them at once (okay, that may not be a reality, so imagine you made a double batch), portion out dough into the trays. Pop them out one, two, or a whole tray at a time (who are we kidding, right?) for cookie satisfaction almost instantly. And it will work with most recipes (or mixes). Maybe you would prefer making itty, bitty rice cookie treats? Or perhaps, a bite-sized energy bar, teeny cheesecake, or (be still my heart) mini homemade candy bars. Practically your own suite of sweets…and maybe just the right idea for your next gathering, too! Be sure to use a cooking spray first to make for easy release from the compartments.
Many may be familiar with freezing Kool-Aid in ice cube trays and inserting toothpicks for a refreshing treat. Take things up a notch with creating goodies like hot chocolate on a stick, gummy worm pops, of fruitsicles made of your favorite sliced fruit and flavored water. You can even make your own frozen yogurt treat by taking you favorite yogurt and dividing it up into the tray. The whipped variety makes for particularly good yogurt pops and with all the different flavors, you can satisfy just about any craving.
Adding ice to smoothies can sometimes make them a bit watery, but there’s a way you can avoid that make it deliciously creamy. Blend together Greek yogurt and fruit, then divide into portions and freeze. Pop out as needed. You can also make a fruit puree, a great use for fruit that is getting a bit too ripe and freeze those into cubes for smoothies, fruit shakes, slushies, even your favorite soda to create your own specialty drink. Freeze lemon, lime, and orange juice for slushies. Milk, strawberry milk, or chocolate milk frozen into cubes makes for great shakes without the need for ice cream and you can throw in a frozen banana, strawberries, or blueberries, too.
Ice cube trays are the perfect side for making your own seed bombs, perfect for adding a splash of floral color to your garden. They are also ideal to use when starting plantings from seeds or clippings. Trays with lids make excellent an storage place for seeds from your garden or packets that have torn. Add a little stick marker or masking tape with an identifier so you can use them later.
There are a multitude of ways that ice cube trays can help around the house. Keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh and the blade sharp by making your own garbage disposal by freezing citrus peels (lemon and orange are particularly nice) in vinegar. Drop a couple into your running disposal and you will be delighted by the fresh. Homemade dishwasher tablets can also be a great way to save money. Organize a desk drawer by placing stamps, rubber bands, paperclips, and other small items into the compartments. This works equally well for the workbench in the garage (screws, nails, washers, twist ties), for jewelry, or for the sewing or craft room. Use silicon trays in different shapes to create your own handcrafted crayons or use it as a painter’s palette for small projects or kids activities.
This is where these ice cube trays come in really handy and it is a great way to save small leftovers that will have a big impact when you are cooking something up later. Leftover soup stock, pesto, and tomato sauce work perfectly with this method. Freeze and when ready, pop out one or two and put into soups, sauces, add to vegetables, just about anything you can come up with creatively. If you have an abundance of fresh herbs and may not be able to use them all, parcel them out into the trays and add olive oil.
Make extra caramelized onions to add a bit of flair to even the simplest meal when time is an issue. Frozen cubes of bacon fat can be tossed in with sauteed greens or mixed into potatoes to add richness and flavor. Sneak vegetables into kid-friendly favorites like spaghetti sauce by pureeing and freezing. Drop several cubes in and no one will be the wiser. Do the same for garlic or ginger and you will always have some on hand. You can ever freeze eggs. a medium-sized one fits perfectly into a plastic tray. Just defrost when you need them and you will be cooking.