Diet, food & cooking

Clever Creative Ways Use Ice Cube Tray

Make Bite Sized Party Bark

Silicone ice cube trays are perfect for making yummy and easy bite sized barks. You just have to add the melted white chocolate or almond bark and then drop in whatever you want like peanuts, dried cranberries or just whatever you prefer in your bark. These take only a few minutes to prepare and then you just have to wait until the bark hardens. Pop them out and you have the perfect party treat or just make a few for a yummy late night snack.

 

 

Make Frozen Coffee Cubes

If you love iced coffee, use your ice cube trays to create coffee cubes that will keep iced coffees cold without watering them down. Whenever you have coffee left over in the pot, just add to the ice cube trays and freeze. Then store the cubes in a freezer bag and take them out as needed. This is also a great way to cool down coffee that may be a bit too hot without actually using plain water. It’s also good for keeping coffee on hand for certain recipes that may call for it so you don’t have to brew a pot just to have a few spoonfuls.

 

 

 

 

Make Perfect Sushi

If you love sushi but just don’t want to have to go out to enjoy it now and then, you can make your own at home and you can use those ice cube trays to provide the perfect mold. Your family and friends will swear that you are a hibachi master when you serve them your perfectly molded sushi. The fish molds perfectly into the plastic of the ice cube tray so you just have to add the ingredients and then pop them out onto your serving tray. Don’t forget the wasabi on the side.

 

Garlic or Ginger

A slurry made from garlic or grated ginger pureed with water captures the pungent flavors of these staples and is easy to scrape off from frozen to mix into stir-fries, mashed potatoes and soups.

 

 

 

Vegetable and Fruit Purees

Boost a green smoothie with a cube of frozen spinach; supercharge a milkshake with a cube of frozen mango. Vegetable cubes are ideal for thickening soups, whipping into yogurt or mayo for hearty sandwich spreads, and making into dips. Pureed fruit and sweet potatoes can be mixed into pancake batter or oatmeal. And with applesauce in your freezer, you’re only a minute away from lightening up banana breads, cakes and muffins.

 

Cooked Onions

Next time you need to caramelize onions, make a double batch and freeze the leftovers to add slow-cooked flavor to a grain salad, pizza, sandwich or baked potato. The onions make a killer burger topping, and paired with a creamy cheese like chevre or Brie, they’re the ideal toast spread for a quick hors d’oeuvre.

 

 

Roasted Garlic

These unctuous cloves are delicious mashed with steamed cauliflower, tossed with broccoli, spread on a veggie sandwich, whipped into baba ghanoush and mixed into marinades and dressings. Roasted-garlic Caesar, anyone?

 

 

 

Freeze Leftover Buttermilk

If you have some buttermilk that is about to hit its use-by date, you can freeze it in ice cube trays. Store those frozen buttermilk cubes in a freezer bag for up to three months. This not only keeps you from having to throw out that milk when it sours but it also helps to ensure that you always have a little buttermilk on hand for your favorite recipes. You will want to mark down on the bag when you added the cubes so that you’ll know when they are expired.

  • HOW TO FREEZE BUTTERMILK

    Simple steps on how to freeze buttermilk in half cup portions to use in later recipes.

    INGREDIENTS
    • Buttermilk
    • Muffin Pan
    • Baking Sheet
    • Resealable Bag
    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Pour the buttermilk into each compartment of the muffin pan.
    2. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and place in the freezer overnight.
    3. Remove from the freezer and sit on the counter for 5 minutes.
    4. Pop the buttermilk cubes from the muffin pan and place in a resealable freezer bag.
    5. To use, melt and apply to recipe.

Make and Freeze Your Own Baby Food

Everything You Want to Know About Freezing Homemade Baby Food

Baby food is not terribly expensive but some parents worry about the ingredients in those little jars. You can actually make your own baby food, which ensures that your little one gets nothing but all natural foods. You can use ice cube trays to freeze your homemade baby food so that it stays fresh longer. Baby food will last for several months in the freezer and the little ice cube slots are the perfect portions for babies. You just thaw out what you need and the rest is there for later.

Freezing Homemade Baby Food

There are some important freezing guidelines that you must follow.
This page outlines some common questions asked about freezing homemade baby food and even provides a chart of the foods that will and will not freeze nicely (Homemade Baby Food Cubes Freezing Chart – opens in a new page)
How long will baby food [cubes] keep in the freezer & refrigerator?

  • Freezer: 3-6 months (ideally use within 1-3 months)
  • Refrigerator (fruits / veggies): 48 hours
  • Refrigerator (meat, poultry, fish eggs): 24 hours

For optimal quality and nutrient retention, keep frozen baby food cubes in the freezer for a maximum of 3 months.

Baby food cubes are safe to remain in the freezer from 3 to 6 months. Using baby food cubes within 1 month to 3 months is really more prudent. Due to the amount of water crystals that tend to build up with baby food purees, and due to the fact that nutrients may leach/evaporate upon thawing because of the water crystals, it is more prudent to use your frozen baby foods cubes as soon as possible – 3 months of storage tops. We always recommend using within 1 month if at all possible.

Many authoritative guidelines will say that most fruits and veggies will keep from 8 to 12 months in the freezer. This is mostly true of foods that are frozen in their natural state. This is also assuming that the freezer remains at a constant sub-zero temperature. Storing foods in a deep freezer is best should you wish to keep frozen foods for that time frame.

Remember that when certain books give freezer time guidelines, they rely on the typical guidelines for fruits/veggies that have NOT been cooked and turned into purees.

How long with baby food cubes keep in the refrigerator?

In the refrigerator, it is recommended that fresh pureed homemade baby food be stored no longer than 48 hours (many food safety authorities say that 72 hour is fine.). This limit ensures that bacteria growth in the puree is kept to a minimum and that the food does not take on the “taste of the fridge”. This “rule” applies for veggies, fruits, meats etc.
If you do not plan to freeze your homemade baby food, I suggest that you make the puree on a day to day, or every other day, basis.
For example, one sweet potato may be baked and then you may freeze one half without pureeing it and then puree the other half. This method will help cut down “waste” and also allow for food safety.

Can I safely use frozen vegetables or fruits to make baby food purees and refreeze them?

YES. You can refreeze frozen veggies & fruits. Using frozen fruits and vegetables is the second best option to using fresh foods. The process of flash-freezing (foods being frozen at a very low temperature and frozen very quickly) actually preserves and allows for optimal nutrient retention.
One of the most commonly asked question is “Can I safely use frozen vegetables or fruits to make baby food purees and refreeze them?”. There are no studies or research to show that refreezing is negative and/or may adversely affect health. The caveat is that you must cook the foods prior to refreezing them. Frozen vegetables and fruits are NOT COOKED prior to being frozen.

Picked at the peak of freshness, a vast majority of frozen veggies are flash frozen either right in the fields or in the warehouse close by. “Fresh” veggies may sit around in trucks and warehouses and criss-cross the country before it even makes it to your table.
Frozen veggies are NOT cooked when packaged and so they must be cooked prior to eating. Please be sure to read the label of your frozen veggie bags as a few brands of frozen veggies may be pre-cooked; you would not want to refreeze these.
The fact is, cooking foods deplete more nutrients than does freezing foods. Contrary to myth, freezing foods (fruits and vegetables in particular) does NOT deplete 100% of that food’s vitamins and minerals. The process of freezing, if kept at a constant 0 degree temp does not contribute to a TOTAL loss of nutrients – if it did, then the majority of the population would be malnourished as we rely on and eat a large amount of frozen foods.
If you ever forget what the “rule” is, remember this example : you can take out a roast that was frozen uncooked & raw, thaw it, cook it and then freeze the leftovers for another meal. Once you have thawed the leftovers, you should never re-freeze the leftover-leftovers.
The package says not to refreeze.

Question received from one of our visitors:

Q. Just reading the section on using frozen food to make baby food and then refreezing. I was just concerned because on the package (Green Giant Peas) it says to not refreeze thawed product. Do you know why that is??
A. You should never refreeze a thawed product, that is correct. Refreezing thawed products may affect the taste and quality (and possibly very minutely, the nutritional value) of the product. You should ALWAYS cook a thawed product prior to re-freezing it. Cooking a thawed product will allow you to then re-freeze it for one cycle.

Keeping a bag of frozen veggies or fruits on makes it simple for you to serve up a meal. You don’t have to puree the whole bag, just cook and use a handful at a time.

Freezing Homemade Baby Food – The Ice Cube Tray/Freezer Bag Method:

Using this method, you spoon or pour your baby food purees into regular ice cube trays and then cover with plastic wrap.
Prior to using your ice cube trays, you want to thoroughly cleanse them with warm soapy water and/or run them through the dishwasher on the sanitize setting. Some parents have even submerged their ice cube trays in boiling water for sanitizing (note: please make sure that the manufacturer of the trays indicates it is ok to boil the trays.)

Make Chocolate Ice Cubes

Vanilla milk (or you could use coconut or almond milk if you want) with chocolate ice cubes is a wonderfully refreshing drink. You just freeze the chocolate recipe which consists of coffee, cocoa, milk and a few other ingredients and then store your chocolate cubes in a freezer bag or other container. When you want something cold and sweet, just pour yourself a glass of your favorite milk and add a few chocolate ice cubes. These would also be great in iced coffees.

 

Make Perfect Peanut Butter Cups

If you love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, you can create your own versions and make them perfectly “cupped” by using your ice cube trays. Silicone trays may work best for this one but you can use plastic. You will just want to spray a bit of cooking spray in the slots before you add the chocolate and peanut butter ingredients. Once you have everything in them, you need to freeze these for about 10 minutes and then just pop them out and enjoy your own peanut butter cups. This is a great idea for homemade Christmas or Easter candies.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – In An Ice Cube Tray!

Step One:

Carefully melt chocolate chips, and pour into the bottom of your ice cube trays.

Step Two:

Divide the nut butter evenly above each chocolate-filled ice cube tray.

Step Three:

Cover with the remaining chocolate, then freeze to set the chocolate.
Once set, these ice cube tray candies can be stored in either the fridge or freezer, or you can leave them out at room temperature for at least a few hours.
Total Time: 5m
Yield: 8-10 peanut butter cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate bar
  • 3-4 tbsp peanut butter, allergy-friendly sub, or even mashed banana
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup (or stevia to taste, and add an extra tbsp pb)
  • 1 ice cube tray (or mini cupcake liners)

Instructions
Gather your supplies. Grease an ice cube tray, and set aside. Carefully melt your chocolate. Pour about a third of the melted chocolate into the bottom of 8-10 molds. Mix together the nut butter and sweetener. Divide the nut butter evenly among the molds, placing it in the middle of each mold. Cover with remaining chocolate. Freeze to set the chocolate. These can be stored in the fridge or freezer, or they can stay out at room temperature for a few hours. Feel free to double the recipe!

Make Hot Chocolate On a Stick

Imagine giving away little hot chocolates on a stick for Christmas or other gift-giving occasions. These are really easy to make and you mold them in an ice cube tray. Once finished, you just add the stick with the hot chocolate and marshmallows to a cut of hot milk and after a few minutes it creates hot chocolate. You can lightly spray the ice cube tray with cooking spray to keep the chocolate from sticking and to make for easier cleanup.

Stock Up On Pesto

If you have a few green tomatoes and you aren’t quite sure what to do with them, you can make green pesto and use your ice cube trays to freeze it for later. Pesto is great for soups, dips, salad dressings and many other recipes. You simply make the pesto from the green tomatoes, freeze it in the individual ice cube slots and you have the perfect portion size for adding to all of your favorite dishes. You can store the frozen pesto cubes in freezer bags and they will keep for several months.

Make Frozen Fruit Salads

Summer is nearly here so you need some great cool recipes that are light and tasty. Using those ice cube trays, you can create a wonderful frozen fruit salad that contains sour cream, maraschino cherries, fruit cocktail and bananas, along with a few other ingredients. You just mix these together and fill your ice cube trays. Once they have frozen, you have a delicious and cooling dessert that is perfect for summer barbeques or just any time you want something light and sweet.

 

Make Mini Popsicles

Ice cube trays are the perfect size for mini popsicles. There are a number of things that you can freeze in them and then simply cover with plastic wrap and insert toothpicks into each slot so that you have a stick for your popsicle. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to avoid sugars that are often contained in store bought popsicles and simply make your own. You can use fresh fruits that are healthier and taste much better than preservatives.

 

Make Rice Krispies Poppers

Instead of making traditional Rice Krispies treats, mix it up just a bit by forming your treats in the slots of ice cube trays. They come out in smaller bite sized pieces which are absolutely perfect for parties or any snack time. You just make them as normal and then form them in your ice cube trays. Once they have set up properly, you can pop them out and dip them in chocolate and sprinkles or just serve them plain. These are great for treat bags and will be perfect for Christmas candy when the Holidays roll around.

 

 

 

Make Bite Sized Candy Bars

Homemade candy bars are so delicious and they are really easy to make, particularly when you have a candy bar mold on hand. If you don’t have a mold, you can use your ice cube trays. They make the perfect squares of candy and are just the right size for smaller snacks, treat bags and party foods. You can create just about any candy bar recipe, like a chocolate turtle, that has plenty of taste and is much easier to mold when you just have to pour your candy into ice cube tray slots. You may want to spray the slots with just a bit of non-stick cooking spray before adding the chocolate.

 

Preserve Fresh Herbs

By adding herbs to olive oil and freezing, you can keep fresh herbs on hand for all of your favorite recipes and save a little space as well. Freezing the herbs in olive oil helps to reduce some of the freezer burn that herbs are prone for and most dishes often call for oil anyway so you can save a step when you have your oil and herbs in the same cube. You just fill the ice cube tray slots with olive oil, add your herbs and then freeze. Store them in a freezer bag with the type of herb and the date on it and they will keep in the freezer for several months.

8 Steps for Freezing Herbs in Oil

  1. Choose firm, fresh herbs, ideally from the market or your own garden.
  2. If you wish, you can chop them fine. Or leave them in larger sprigs and leaves. Here I froze a combination of finely-chopped and whole herbs such as rosemary, fennel stalk, sage, and oregano.
  3. Pack the wells of ice cube trays about 2/3 full of herbs.
  4. You can mix up the herbs, too; think about freezing a bouquet garni of sage, thyme, and rosemary to add to winter roast chickens and potatoes!
  5. Pour extra-virgin olive oil or melted, unsalted butter over the herbs.
  6. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  7. Remove the frozen cubes and store in freezer containers or small bags.
  8. Don’t forget to label each container or bag with the type of herb (and oil) inside!

Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries – or bananas or other fruits – are delicious but they can be so very messy to make. You can avoid the mess and make the perfect sized treats when you use your ice cube tray as opposed to the traditional way of dipping your fruits in chocolate. You just pour the melted chocolate into the ice cube tray slots and then add your strawberries or other fruit. Once the chocolate sets up, just pop out your yummy treats and completely avoid the mess that they usually cause.

Prepare Tomato Sauce for Future Use

Imagine being able to cook a home-cooked meal and save time while you do it. When you prepare certain things ahead of time (like months ahead of time) then you save time and you still get the deliciousness of a home-cooked meal. You can use ice cube trays to prepare homemade tomato sauce that you can use months down the line. Just prepare your tomato sauce, pour into the cube slots and then freeze. You can store homemade frozen tomato sauce for several months in the freezer so you’ll have plenty to do you until the next time you want to make a batch.

 

 

 

Make Sugar Scrub Cubes

If you love sugar scrubs for getting out the dirt, you can make your own and form them perfectly with old ice cube trays. The ice cube tray slots are the perfect size for a sugar scrub cube that will last one time. By making them this size, you can store them all together but you only grab one cube for each time you want to scrub. These are great for gifts as well. Just make them up and add them to a mason jar or other glass container or keep them for yourself. If you love that pampered feeling but just don’t always have the time to whip up your sugar scrub, make it ahead with ice cube trays.

 

 

 

Make Chai Iced Tea Cubes

If you love Chai lattes, you can make your own Chai iced tea cubes to add to your lattes which will help to keep them cold without watering them down like normal ice cubes do. These tea cubes are very easy to make and you can store them in the freezer for several months in a freezer bag. You just mix up the ingredients for the tea and then pour into your ice cube trays and allow to freeze for an hour or so.

 

 

 

 

Make Crayons

Instead of throwing out old crayons when they get broken or too small, simply peel the paper off, put them together in a silicone ice cube tray and bake for a few minutes. The crayons will melt into each other creating new crayons. If you use shaped ice cube trays you will have really fun shaped crayons for the kids. You can create new crayons of the same color or just mix a lot of different colors together. Note that you will have to use silicone trays for this as plastic will melt in the oven.

Make Herbed Garlic Butter

If you love flavored butters and you love to make things yourself, you can use your ice cube trays to make your butter ahead of time. The slots in the trays are the perfect size for molding butter pats and it makes adding herbs and garlic a bit easier, too. When you need them, simply place a few of the pats on a serving dish. These are great for a number of recipes, too. You just have to melt your butter, add your herbs and/or garlic and then pour into ice cube trays and freeze. These will keep in the freezer for several months in a Ziploc bag.

Save Lemon and Lime Juice

If you have leftover lemons and/or limes, you can squeeze the juice from them and freeze in your ice cube trays. Add a bit of water if needed and you can use these cubes for recipes or as ice cubes for teas or waters. The juice is perfect for iced tea and gives it a wonderful fresh lemon or lime taste plus the ice cubes are filled with juice so they won’t water down your drinks.
Puree and freeze slightly overripe avocados, then pop them into smoothies for a boost of healthy fats.

Ingredients : metric ( imperial )

  • avocados
  • lemons

Instructions
I didn’t state amounts on purpose since it depends highly on how many avocados you have. A general rule of thumb is using 2 tsp of lemon juice per large avocado or 1 tsp for small ones. If you never bought an avocado you might wonder how to open or cut them. It is very simple.
Before you get to that you should make sure the avocado is ripe. There is a very simple way of checking it. Look at the colour. If it is bright green it isn’t quite ready yet. The moment it starts getting dark patches it has started to ripen and once it is completely dark it is perfectly ripe and ready. If that doesn’t give you enough reassurance then you could in addition remove the stem and check the avocado’s colour underneath. That is the most reliable way. If it is dark brown you waited too long, if it is white it is too early and if it is yellow-is it is just right
Scoop the avocado cream into ice-cube trays and freeze. Once it is frozen you can pop them out of their container and place them in freezer bags. There you go. Perfectly portioned avocado for whenever you need it. I hope you enjoyed my little guide on how to freeze avocados – it is a kitchen hack that has saved me a lot of money throughout my life.

Why I eat avocados on a nearly daily basis.

There is a reason why I tried to find a way of preserving small portions of avocado for easy use. I love adding avocado cubes to smoothies or any recipe that requires avocado or a source of fat. There are countless ways to use avocados, be it frozen or fresh and you definitely should add them to your diet. They come packed with vital nutrients and have an incredible amount of health benefits. I could go on and create a giant post about their nutritional value but my dear friend Helen from Well Being Secrets already went through all that trouble. She wrote a wonderful, well researched article that provides you with 19 reasons why you should eat them.
Or freeze soon-to-expire Greek yogurt and toss it into smoothies for extra protein.

Frozen Greek Yogurt and Pomegranate Bites

Prep time
15 mins
Total time
15 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 2% plain Greek yogurt (We used Chobani)
  • 1 cups powdered sugar (We used Wholesome Sweeteners)
  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds (about 2 pomegranates)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl whisk well yogurt and sugar until creamy. Add pomegranate seeds and mix well
  2. Pour mixtures into square ice tray cubes ( We used these)
  3. Place trays in the freezer for 2 – 3 hours until frozen
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