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Genius Ways You Should Be Using Ice Cube Trays

Before you toss them in the trash and reward your built-in ice machine full ice cube privileges, pause.
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If you've cleaned out your freezer lately, you've probably noticed there are a significant number of items in there that you really don't need. There's that package of steak that you bought 6 months ago that has enough freezer burn to render it unrecognizable; that dairy-free, nut-free ice cream you bought when you swore to yourself you were going to start a new diet; and of course, all those unmarked freezer bags full of unidentifiable leftovers. And then there are your ice cube trays -- remember those? Before you toss them in the trash and reward your built-in ice machine full ice cube privileges, pause. Your ice cube trays may not be the easiest way to make ice cubes at home, but that doesn't mean they can't be incredibly useful to you in other ways.

With a resurgence of interest in DIY, recycling, and repurposing, it's easy to find ways for almost everything in your home to serve multiple purposes; the ice cube tray is no exception. So we can make ice quickly and in large quantities using electricity; that doesn't mean we need to send our plastic ice cube trays to clutter up our landfills.

One genius use for old ice cube trays is to store prepped ingredients so that you can cook in small batches. Cooking for one can be a hassle when sauce recipes make enough to serve 4 to 6 people or call for only a small amount of a much larger ingredient like fresh herbs. Go ahead and make that sauce recipe, but freeze individual portions of it for future use in your ice cube trays. And, save leftover herbs in another ice cube tray, frozen in olive oil, for future. Being able to portion out some of your favorite recipes and save them is perfect for when you're cooking for one.

And, that's just the beginning; read on to learn about other genius ways you should be using your ice cube trays and prepare to appreciate them all over again.

Freeze Stock
Homemade chicken or vegetable stock has more flavor than store-bought, but it doesn’t have a very long shelf life in your refrigerator. Plus, most stock recipes make a large batch. If you cook for one or two often, try freezing stock in ice cube trays so you can use it in small amounts. This method will keep your stock good for up to three months. Photo Credit: ShutterstockClick Here to See More Genius Ways You Should Be Using Ice Cube Trays
Easy Frozen Yogurt
Instead of buying a new pint of frozen yogurt every time you’re in the mood for a different flavor, make your own by portioning out regular yogurt into your ice cube trays and freezing it. When you’re ready to eat it, pop a few of your frozen yogurt cubes into a food processor and blend until creamy: all the enjoyment of frozen yogurt without the use of an ice cream maker or a trip to the store! Photo Credit: © Flickr / Migle
Freeze Ingredients for Smoothies
Smoothies can get expensive quickly. Instead of buying them all the time, freeze the ingredients you need for a smoothie (yes, even the greens). Then, toss the cubes into your blender for a super-fast smoothie. Bonus: since your ingredients are already frozen, you won’t need to throw in any extra ice cubes. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Stacy SpensleyClick Here to See More Genius Ways You Should Be Using Ice Cube Trays
Tomato Sauce for One
You made a big pot of tomato sauce for your Friday night family dinner, but now you’re stuck with lots of leftovers. Rather than pour it all into one Tupperware, which always has the possibility of spilling in your refrigerator, portion out the sauce into your ice cube trays. That way, if you ever want a plate of pasta for one, you can pull out one or two portions of sauce, thaw a few minutes in the microwave or on the stove, and enjoy. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
“Roll” Sushi
Just because you eat a lot of sushi, doesn’t mean you’ve mastered the skill of making your own at home. Cheat the system (just a little) by pressing sushi rice into ice cube trays, adding the rest of the fillings, and then scooping them out. Your friends will be amazed by your culinary skills! Click Here to See More Genius Ways You Should Be Using Ice Cube TraysPhoto Credit: © Flickr / Wheeler Cowperthwaite

-Sara Kay, The Daily Meal

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