Cooking

Usefulness of Ice Cube Trays

Two blogs I read this week talked about making green juice and freezing it into ice cubes to use later in smoothies and such.  The first one I read was The Domestic Vegan and the second one was No Meat Athlete.  I thought these blogs were great and at first I just planned on adding them to my blog round up at the end of the month.  But then I thought I would write a separate post because both of these bloggers highlighted a kitchen tool that doesn’t get a lot of love.  Behold the ice cube tray:

You might be thinking how the heck is an ice cube tray a useful kitchen tool?  I mean it makes ice, which is great and all, but that’s it. 

Well the ice cube tray is useful for turning anything into ice cubes.  And while water is usually the cube of choice, there are a lot of other things that can be turned into frozen cubes.

Have you ever made a recipe that called for one cup of broth?  In your pantry you had a can of said broth, so you pop it open, pour out one cup and go on with your cooking.  But what do you do with the rest of the broth in the can?  I used to save it in a jar in the refrigerator but it would always go bad before I could use it or remember it was even there.

Bring in the ice cube tray.  Simply pour the leftover broth into the tray and freeze.  Then pop the broth cubes out and store in a freezer bag or other container.  Voila!  The cubes have a much longer shelf life and they are in convenient packages to pop into recipes.  For example, throw a few cubes into the cooking water for rice, couscous or quinoa to add flavor. 

I’ve also frozen spaghetti sauce and pesto into cubes.  This is especially handy when you have a small family (1-2 people) and don’t go through a jar of red sauce that quickly.  Freeze the leftovers into cubes to make single serving pasta whenever you want.  And then you don’t get sick of spaghetti because you don’t have to try to eat up the rest of the sauce before it goes bad!

One final item I’ve frozen into cubes is fresh herbs, basil in particular.  If you have a herb garden, just pluck the fresh herbs, wash them and then push them down into the ice cube holes in the tray.  Then fill the tray up with water all around the herbs.  Let it freeze and then pop the cubes out for storage.  The herb cubes work well in soups and stews when you don’t notice the extra bit of water from the cube melting.  You can also just melt the cubes in a bowl and then strain the herbs out to use in sauces, pastas or anything really.

So the simple ice cube tray is actually quite versatile and useful in the kitchen.  I absolutely love the idea of freezing green juice in cubes to use later in smoothies.  I’ll be trying that one out soon I hope.

What else would you freeze into cubes?

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2 thoughts on “Usefulness of Ice Cube Trays

  1. My mom freezes spaghetti sauce like you do and also soups and chili. (I’ve learned that matzoh balls freeze very well.) She does it for the same reasons you explained–they stay fresh and you can thaw one serving at a time if you want. One cube of chili is good over a cheese omelet for example.

    Once these things are frozen, you can pop out the cubes and transfer them to a plastic bag to free up the ice cube trays.

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