If you’re always on the lookout for ways to create less waste and save some money in the process, prepare to meet your new best friend! A standard plastic or silicone ice cube tray can become an indispensable tool in the kitchen when it comes to saving and storing various kinds of food in a way that makes them easy and practical to use later on. And outside of the freezer, an ice cube tray can be a useful tool for organizing, measuring, and portioning!
In the Freezer
One tip to keep in mind when using an ice cube tray for freezer storage… make sure to measure how much of your item fits in each cavity while you’re filling the tray. Write that measurement on the freezer bag you’re going to store them in, so then you won’t forget how much to use when you go to use some later!
Freeze your extra coffee in an ice cube tray to use later in an iced coffee. It will keep your drink cool without watering it down!
Freeze fresh fruit in your ice cubes for a special addition to a cool beverage. Use pomegranate seeds, strawberries, or raspberries for a pretty drink presentation this Valentine’s Day.
Another idea for beautifying your beverages is to make ice cubes with edible flowers inside. Perfect for a bridal shower or wedding reception!
Let a tub of ice cream melt slightly, then fill an ice cube tray with it and refreeze. The ice cream cubes can be used to make super simple ice cream floats! Make several trays ahead of time for a fun and easy ice cream float party for kids or family.
Don’t let those leftover fresh herbs go bad in your fridge! Rougly chop or puree them, place them in an ice cube tray with water or oil, and freeze. Use later in hot recipes.
If you have a bit of leftover wine, fill an ice cube tray with it and freeze. Use the wine cubes while cooking to deglaze pans, or whenever a recipe calls for wine and you don’t have a bottle open or on hand.
Make loads of fresh pesto in the summertime when basil is in abundance, and freeze it in a ice cube tray. Defrost a few cubes as needed to make delicious fresh pesto sandwiches or pesto chicken any time of the year!
If you’re a smoothie fan, blend some greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.) with a bit of water and freeze in an ice cube tray. Pull out a couple of cubes to throw in your morning smoothie for a nutritional boost. This will also ensure that your greens won’t go bad before you can use them.
For those with babies, make large batches of baby food at home and freeze them in ice cube trays. The frozen cubes will defrost quickly, you get to control what ingredients are used, and you’ll be saving money while you’re at it! Catherine at Weelicious has tons of great recipes for homemade baby food.
When a recipe calls for a small amount of buttermilk or whipping cream, freeze the unused portion in a ice cube tray to use later on. You’ll save your self that maddening one-item grocery store trip!
Homemade chicken, vegetable, or beef stock can be frozen in ice cube trays for easy measuring. Thaw and use as a base for sauces or soups, or use in place of water when making couscous, rice, etc.
Frozen aloe vera cubes can be a lifesaver in the summer! You’ll thank yourself for making them next time you’re out in the sun a bit too long.
Freeze small portions of coconut oil in a ice cube tray to use for coffee, oil pulling, dog treats, and more! Read about more ways to use coconut oil here.
Using an ice cube tray is an easy way to freeze breastmilk into smaller portions. Simply pop a couple of cubes in a bottle and let thaw.
Keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh with a few frozen cleaning cubes! Learn how to make them here.
Coconut milk is another one of those ingredients we tend to use a little bit at a time. Freeze your leftover coconut milk in an ice cube tray, then use the cubes in future recipes, or even to cool down your morning coffee.
Puree a can of chipotle peppers in adobo and freeze in an ice cube tray. You’ll always be ready for those recipes that call for it, and it also makes a flavorful addition to sauces, soups, and even eggs.
Don’t let those bacon drippings to go waste! Save them and freeze them in an ice cube tray. Use a cube or two to add mega flavor when sauteing meat or potatoes, or add a cube to a favorite salad dressing.
Ginger and garlic freeze remarkably well! Grate tablespoon portions of ginger and clove portions of garlic and freeze them in an ice cube tray. You’ll save yourself quite a bit of time and effort in the long run.
If you come across a great deal on lemons or limes at the grocery store, you can really stretch your dollar by buying them in bulk, juicing them, and freezing the fresh juice in ice cube trays! You’ll be able to enjoy the delicious taste of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in your recipes all year round.
If you don’t go through eggs very quickly, extend their life by freezing them. Simply whisk several eggs together and pour into your ice cube tray, or you can separate the yolks and whites into separate cavities so you can use them individually if needed.
Let’s not forget one of my all-time favorite frozen treats – frozen yogurt chips! An ice cube tray or a silicone mold with small cavities turns this frozen treat into bite-sized bliss!
Outside the Freezer
An ice cube tray makes a great mold for making tasty bite-sized treats. How about these cute Rice Krispy Treat Poppers from Smart Schoolhouse? Or perhaps some delicious and healthy granola bites, like these ones from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe?
You can also make a simple chocolate bark in an ice cube tray! Just fill each cavity with your choice of dried fruit, nuts, or toffee, then pour melted chocolate over the top and allow to harden completely. Follow the same process using halved strawberries for easy chocolate-covered strawberries!
Ice cube trays can be a parent’s best friend too! Fill each cavity with a different color of paint for an easy paint pallette for your kids’ art projects. Or fill each cavity with different kinds of food like fruits, veggies, nuts, and crackers to create a “buffet” for picky toddlers! They’ll love having so many options to choose from.
Ice cube trays can make a great organizer for jewelry, office supplies, loose change, medications (if kept away from children!), small hardware and more!