I found a set of ice cube trays while cleaning out my kitchen, leftover from my more ambitious days of thinking I’d make and freeze baby food (key word here is think). I almost set them in the donate pile with the mini muffin pans that I don’t use anymore, but then I remembered a friend telling me about her coffee ice cube hack (see below) for not-watered-down iced coffees. With the temperature heating up, I figured, why not? — and gave it a try. It turned out to be a big success, so naturally, I turned to Pinterest for more ideas. After some trials and errors, here are five ice cube trays hacks that I love:
As simple as it sounds, pour cooled coffee into your ice cube tray, and use them instead of ice cubes when making your next iced coffee. They’ll keep your drink cool without watering it down. You can also add cream or spices to the coffee for a flavored drink. The same idea can be used for iced tea, but I didn’t really notice a difference between regular ice cubes and tea ice cubes in the drink. Maybe it’s because I already compensate for the watered-down effect by making my iced tea a little stronger.
When I’m feeling fancy, I like to infuse my water with fruit. But that requires planning ahead and having said fruit on hand, so more often than not, I’m not sipping on any fancy water. This solves that problem — chop up your favorite fruit and freeze it in water, then you’ll have some fruit-infused ice cubes on hand to pop into your water whenever you’d like.
I use this one to sneak in more veggies in our daily smoothies. It’s essentially making baby food again (hey, turns out I’m finally following through on that goal…four years later) by steaming, pureeing, and freezing carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and other sweet-ish vegetables. Throw them in your smoothie blender for an extra dose of veggies that’s virtually undetectable by your kids and/or husbands. You can do the same with slightly browned avocados (minus the steaming step) — just add a bit of lemon juice to help it keep its pretty green color.
We love our yogurt and will sometimes go a bit overboard when they’re on sale at the store. Freeze the yogurt that’s near its expiration date and add them to smoothies later or snack on them since it’s literally frozen yogurt! You can scoop the yogurt into a sandwich bag, then snip the corner to squeeze it into the ice cube tray — or use a spoon for a slightly messier/lazier approach.
I’m a total lightweight, and so is my husband. Sometimes we’ll open a bottle of wine and only have a glass (or half a glass!) each, then the rest of the bottle ends up down the drain. Now, I freeze it and use the cubes when I’m making a sauce or a marinade. I’ve also seen them used to make wine spritzers or sangria, but I haven’t tried it yet.
You can also preserve fresh herbs in olive oil or save extra servings of homemade pesto using ice cube trays. I just haven’t tried them yet because, well, I’m a heathen who uses dried herbs that come in bottles and buys pesto at the store.
For more ideas, check out these links: 10 Life-Changing Ice Cube Tray Hacks & 20 Ice Cube Tray Hacks That Aren’t Just for Summer.