July 5, 2011

Frugal Ways to Use Ice Cube Trays

Do you have a stack of ice cube trays sitting unused in a cabinet or drawer? Then, put them back to work with these clever ideas:


1. Store Baby Food

Homemade baby food is great for baby, and easy to store when you freeze it in an ice cube tray. Fill each compartment to the top with your pureed blends, and freeze. Then, take out the desired number of cubes at mealtime. Not sure how much baby should eat? Here's an easy guide:
4-6 months = 2 cubes
6-9 months = 4 cubes
9-12 months= 6 cubes
Note: These numbers are estimates based on store-bought food sizes. Always consult your doctor to determine how much your baby should be eating.


2. Freeze Spices

Do you grow your own spices? Then, freeze some for use during the winter months. Fill the compartments of an ice cube tray with your spices and just a bit of water. Then, thaw a cube any time you need to season a dish.
Note: If you'll be using your spices in a heated dish, there's no need to thaw. Just drop your cube directly into the pan, and proceed with your recipe.


3. Freeze Leftover Eggs

Have a recipe that calls for egg yolks? Don't ditch those egg whites! Freeze them instead. They can be stored in an ice cube tray, and thawed when needed.


4. Make Popsicles

You don't need a fancy popsicle mold to make your own popsicles. Just fill an ice cube tray with juice, pudding or mashed fruit. Then, cover with foil, and poke a popsicle stick through the foil and into each compartment. Here are two great popsicle recipes that you can try:
Strawberry Popsicles
Jello Popsicles


5. Freeze Leftover Stock/Sauces or Pureed Fruit/Veggies for Baking

Have a bit of soup stock, tomato juice or sauce leftover after you've prepared a meal? Want to have homemade sauces easy to prepare (Pesto is perfect to throw in some cooked noodles or thaw and put on bread for a more glorified grilled cheese sandwich)? What about wanting to use pureed fruit or veggies in your recipes? (Especially if trying to get your kid to eat more veggies...you can hide them in anything or use a variety of them as a fat replacement in baked goods. Try Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld.)

Ice cube trays are the perfect way to store it. Just fill a tray with your leftovers, and freeze. Then, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag once they're completely frozen.

How much liquid does a cube hold? One ice cube is generally the equivalent of one ounce or two Tablespoons. Here are some conversions to help you determine how many cubes you'll need to use in a recipe:

2 cubes = 1/4 cup
4 cubes = 1/2 cup
6 cubes = 3/4 cup
8 cubes =1 cup


6. Use as a Candy Mold

Want your homemade chocolates to look professionally made? Then, use an ice cube tray as a candy mold, and all of your confections will be uniform in size.


7. Use as a Soap Mold

Designate an ice cube tray for craft use, and create melt-and-pour soaps that are the perfect size for a guest bathroom or gift giving.

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