Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time with our freezer because we need a cool place to hang out for just a second (no, but really), or we’re searching for that pint of ice cream we’re craving. In our quest for refreshments, we’ve also discovered the wonder of that freezer staple: ice cube trays. They come in many shapes and sizes and, it turns out, have myriad uses you may not have considered. Here, a guide to our new favorite place to store must-haves (Bloody Mary cubes, anyone?)
Bloody Mary Cubes
When brunch hits, we like our Bloody Marys ice cold. Enter the ice tray: simply pour your favorite Bloody Mary mix (or make your own!) into ice cube trays, freeze until solid, and serve with cold vodka. Not only will the cocktail be visually stunning, it’ll stay chilly way longer.
For those days when you want just one cookie (okay, three), but don’t want to whip up a whole batch, we present the cookie dough ice tray. Stuff equal-sized balls of cookie dough into ice trays, then seal the entire tray in a large ziploc bag, and freeze. When the craving hits, cook on a baking tray, allowing for additional baking time.
Few recipes require a full bunch of herbs (unless you’re cooking one of our recipes, with all pre-portioned sprigs!), which can result in sad looking half bunches wilting in the refrigerator. We were thrilled to discover that chopped herbs, from basil to parsley to cilantro, covered with a bit of olive oil and frozen, keep really well in ice trays, and provide that hit of flavor whenever you need it.
Even though garlic is a total staple in our kitchen, chopping it isn’t our favorite. Next time, chop a whole head, or even two in advance, and simply freeze in an ice tray with olive oil on top. You’ll save so much time (and sticky hands).
Few things are as refreshing and delightful as a morning smoothie. Instead of putting ice in the blender, make frozen fruit cubes. We love to chop mango, strawberries, and raspberries, add a little water, and freeze them into ice trays for those hectic mornings. For another refreshing treat, thinly slice berries, grapes, and citrus fruits and place in large ice cubes. Cover with water, freeze, and enjoy a colorful glass of water filled with fruit-forward ice cubes.
Broth and Stock
Broth and stock are must-haves for soups, stews, and sauces. But we regularly find our fridges laden with half-empty cartons of chicken broth. Next time you open a can or carton, pour the remaining stock into an ice cube tray, freeze, and simply pop out a cube or two next time it’s necessary.
Summertime means iced coffee, although, if we’re being honest, it’s also a year round thing. Freeze cold brew or cooled coffee into cubes for a quick morning fix, then simply add milk or cream and enjoy your delightfully brisk cup of joe.
A homemade batch of pesto often yields more than a meal’s worth, so what to do with the extras? Freeze them into cubes, of course! When you feel the need for pesto pasta, an army of cubes will be at the ready.
No need to root around your fridge for that (slightly shriveled) half lemon from a few days back, simply juice lemons and other citruses right into ice cube trays, freeze, and pop them out as needed.
Spoon your favorite homemade or store bought pasta sauce into ice trays, then freeze for easy individual use. For a big batch of pasta, heat up multiple cubes at once.