8.13.2012

7 Unexpected Uses for the Humble Ice Cube Tray

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Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice for a Strawberry Orange Julius

These babies are not just for ice anymore, folks. 

I love when a simple, inexpensive tool has so many uses.  Take the humble ice cube tray: it can help you preserve the harvest, prevent food waste, save you time, boost your family's nutrition, and make your tastebuds do a little happy dance!

Here are 7 unexpected ways you can put those ice cube trays to work in your real food kitchen:




1. Broth 

Whenever I make homemade chicken broth, I freeze most of it in old yogurt containers and freezer safe jars. But I also fill up an ice cube tray or two. Then if I ever need just a small amount of broth, instead of thawing a big container of it, I throw in a couple cubes.
Tip: Cook greens like kale or swiss chard in a healthy fat like butter or coconut oil with a little chicken broth thrown in. It helps tenderize the greens and adds nutrition. And it makes them taste so yummy!


2. Tomato Paste

What to do when a recipe calls for 1/4 c. of tomato paste and you're left with extra in the can? I used to put it in a container in the fridge, but I inevitably forgot about it, and then it would get moldy and be thrown out. Now I just freeze it in an ice cube tray, transfer it to a bag, and save it for the next time I need a piddly amount.

3. Pesto

When fresh basil is in season (like right now!) I either harvest what I have in my porch garden, or buy a whole lot of it from a farmer, and whip up a batch of pesto. Then I freeze it in ice cube trays and store it in a freezer bag. Hello, pesto grilled cheese!

4. Fresh juice

I don't juice very often, but when I do I like to freeze a little of this good stuff in cubes and use it to flavor my kombucha (orange carrot ginger was a good combination). Or just suck on it like a popsicle. You could also do this with lemon or lime juice instead of juicing it fresh every time a recipe calls for it - perfect if you buy a bunch of lemons or limes on sale and need to use them before they spoil! You can also freeze some fresh orange juice to make a Strawberry Orange Julius!

5. Coffee ice

The jury's out for me on whether coffee drinking is a healthy habit, but I'm not ready to say goodbye to this delicious beverage any time soon. It's a once in awhile treat for me, and there's not much better than an iced coffee when the weather heats up. Freeze your leftover coffee into cubes, and whip them out whenever you'd rather have your cuppa joe cold instead of hot.
Tip: Throw some coffee ice into the blender with some raw milk, honey, and vanilla, and make yourself a healthy homemade frappuccino!
Don't do coffee? How about Teeccino ice?


6. Greens

Green smoothies are all the rage, but raw greens have some harmful compounds that are best avoided. If you want the benefit of the greens without the bad stuff, gently steam them, blend them up with a little water, and freeze in ice cube trays. Throw a couple cubes into your high powered blender for a superfood smoothie any time of year!


7. Parsley

If your garden is overrun with parsley, chop it up and add it to ice cube trays with a little water. It's great for adding to soups, stews, broth, and sauces in the dead of winter!

What do you like to do with your ice cube trays?

This is part of the follow blog carnivals:
Monday Mania, Hearth and Soul, Teach Me Tuesday, Living Green Tuesday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Frugal "I Did It!" Tuesday, Scratch Cookin Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, Traditional Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Healthy2Day Wednesday

22 comments:

  1. awesome about the parsley! i have tons. also I meant to tell you I found all my cloth napkins from our wedding registry. thanks for the idea JoJo! xo

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  2. Great post!! I love learning new ideas!

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  3. Thanks for joining the Frugal Tuesday Tip! I love ice cube trays for all the reasons you have here. http://juliecache.com/2012/08/13/frugal-tuesday-tip-schools-almost-in-session-for-us/.html

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  4. Reduce your broth to a thick syrupy concentrate, then freeze all of it in trays! You may only need a few of those cubes to give your dish wonderful brothy flavor! And they take up much less freezer space than those bulky containers.

    And speaking of coffee, I read how to make a coffee concentrate that you can store in the fridge, or freeze it into cubes. I tried it and loved it. One or two cubes is all you need with some hot water. I usually throw the cubes into a small pan and melt them - doesn't take long at all - then add water and other goodies. Or make iced coffee too.

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    1. Yes, I should do that! I reduced mine by about half last time, and it was nice that it didn't take up so much space.

      As for the coffee concentrate, did it not taste old when you drank it hot? That would be my fear. I hate the taste of old coffee. But I'm sure it would be great cold!

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  5. These are terrific ideas!! I will definitely try the coffee cubes!! :)

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! Enjoy your iced coffee. :)

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  6. I did not know about cooking greens. Very interesting!

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    1. Laurie, I'm glad you learned something new! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  7. Lots of great ideas! Thanks for sharing with us at Scratch Cookin' Tuesday!

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    1. Thanks Mrs. Dull. Hopefully I'll be back again!

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  8. What a great idea to add greens to a smoothie! Great way to seak in some veggies ;) Love the coffee ice idea too!

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    1. Yes, totally a great sneak. Especially if you use blueberries - they cover up the color of the greens. :)

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  9. Great tips! I am sharing this on my facebook page.

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    1. Alea, thank you so much for sharing!

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  10. wonderful ideas! thanks for sharing. I will get those ice cube trays (which we never actually use the ice in!) clean and ready for their new jobs. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Erika Siegel ND
    www.NourishMe.com

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    1. You're welcome Erika! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  11. Awesome post! We do most of these things, but never thought of using them for extra tomato paste! Thanks for sharing with us at Tiny Tip Tuesday! Looking forward to more posts from you :)

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    1. Thank you Sarah, hopefully I'll be back often! :)

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