By Megan Barber, Grocery and Wellness Buyer, Merchandising Manager, Co-op Owner
While it is coming up on toasty warm summer and it’s true there’s nothing like a frosty cup filled with an ice cold beverage, those ice cube trays have a lot of potential uses! Think of them as tiny portions, bite size snacks, ways to keep things from being watered down, and more. Here are just a few recipes and tips for using ice cube trays, but the possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
A few things to note: The most common ice cube trays are plastic – these are not oven safe. You can also get silicon trays, which can be used in the oven just fine. Some old-fashioned metal trays may be oven safe too. Make sure to check the bottom of the trays for heat tolerance before baking up a storm!
- When produce is in season, you are often bombarded with more fresh tasty items than you can use! If you can’t consume everything from your herb garden, try picking, cleaning, and freezing fresh herbs in olive oil for easy skillet cooking in the off seasons. You can freeze and keep them in the trays, or freeze and then pop them into a bag or container to free up the trays for other uses! My favorites are basil and parsley.
- Baby foods! If your tot has trouble finishing food in one sitting or you’re processing your own fruits and vegetables, you can easily puree, portion into trays, and freeze for future use. This also works well with yogurts for snacks or smoothies!
- Keep drinks from becoming watered down or add in some extra flavor by freezing fruit juices, coffee, lemonade, chai tea, different ‘nogs, and more. You can add in fruit juice cubes to alcoholic beverages or sparkling waters for a flavor punch!
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Combine coffee and water in the jar with lid. Let it sit at room temperature overnight. Strain through a coffee filter or sieve. Mix equal parts coffee and water or milk to taste! To prevent watering down throughout the day, freeze coffee ice cubes!
- Often recipes don’t call for a full can or carton of an ingredient and with ice cube trays you can easily freeze what you don’t need. I often freeze stock and broths. You can also freeze buttermilk, and pasta sauces or flavor pastes!
- A small household like mine often has trouble finishing a dozen eggs by the best by date, but did you know you can freeze raw eggs for up to a year? Just crack and freeze them! This is a game changer for me as I often have expiring eggs and a need for eggs for baking other times! To thaw, leave in the fridge over night or run a closed container under cold water until thawed.
- Try out mini bite-sized snacks – great for kids’ parties, events, reunions, and more! Try making frozen key lime bites, cheesecake bites, chocolate dipped berries, mini cakes, tiny crispy rice treats, and more! Follow your favorite recipe – just remember, if the recipe calls for baking, you need to use an oven safe ice cube tray made out of silicon!
- Other uses include a lot of unique DIY recipes, like making your own dishwasher tablets or garbage disposal fresheners!
Dishwasher Tablet Recipe
Combine all ingredients, press firmly into trays, and leave in the sun to dry 24 hours.
To use: pop a tablet into the dishwasher’s compartment with 3 drops liquid dish soap. Add ½ cup vinegar to the bottom of the washer for hard water or to prevent cloudy dishes.
- Since spring is a comin’, you can always use ice cube trays as seed starter slots before transplanting to bigger garden patches. Please remember if you’re using them for plantings, you might want to get a new set for food afterwards!