We don't often think about it, but ice cube trays are some of the most useful tools in our kitchen. I rarely use them for their intended purpose — making ice. Instead, I rely on them all the time to create components for quick meals and to avoid wasting food. Here are 10 great uses for your ice cubes trays, aside from making ice.
1. Preserve fresh herbs
Avoid wasting leftover fresh herbs by freezing them for later. For heartier herbs, like rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano, considering freezing and preserving them in olive oil.
2. Freeze small amounts of stock
Instead of letting leftover stock get lost in the back of your fridge, just freeze it for later. You can grab the individual cubes as you need them, and the small size helps them defrost quickly.
3. Keep wine around for cooking
I know, I know....leftover wine isn't something most of you encounter. But, on the off chance you do, consider freezing it to cook with later. The alcohol prevents it from freezing completely, but the cubes are solid enough to pop out and transfer to another container.
4. Stash smoothies for breakfast
For those times you find yourself with a tiny bit of leftover smoothie, or you just want to get a jump start on tomorrow morning's drink, pull out the ice cube trays.
5. Make coffee ice cubes
Instead of throwing out that last bit of coffee that's sitting in the pot, throw it in the freezer instead. Coffee ice cubes will keep your iced coffee strong til the last sip.
6. Stock up on baby food
If you make your own baby food, ice cube trays are the perfect portion size to freeze it for later.
7. Give yourself the gift of caramelized onions
Did you know that you can freeze caramelized onions?! Since it's just as easy to caramelize 5 or 6 onions, as it is one, why not make a big batch and freeze the extras for later.
8. Save excess egg whites
So, you just made a recipe that uses a lot of egg yolks. Whatever you do, don't be quick to throw away the whites. Egg whites freeze really well and keep almost forever.
9. Rescue milk and cream
For those times you find yourself with leftover regular milk, buttermilk or cream, and don't have an immediate use for it, freeze it for later.
10. Organize your junk drawer
Sure you could buy a fancy organizer, but we've got a simpler, cheaper option to get your junk drawer under control... an ice cube tray.
Aside from making ice, what other uses have you found for your ice cube trays?
Updated from a post originally published March 2011.
(Image credits: Faith Durand)