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January 14th, 2020

Quick Kitchen Tip: Use Your Ice Cube Trays Better!

Ah, the humble ice cube tray. A great single-use tool for…making ice cubes, of course. But what if it wasn’t just single-use? We love to experiment with ice cube trays and come up with kitchen “hacks” to help you make your life a little easier and your kitchen super convenient. Here are a few of our favourite things to do with the little compartments and how we like to use them. Hopefully you find something new to try!

PRO TIP: Keep a tray marked specifically for strong or savoury ingredients. Curry, pesto, and garlic will all linger in the tray and impart their flavours into the next batch. 

 

What to freeze:

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  1. Pesto or herbs. Since ice cube trays are already pre-portioned, we love to use them for flavour bomb ingredients like pesto or herb blends. If you have the issue of buying fresh herbs, using them once, and then watching them go bad, why don’t you try freezing them? Blend your herbs with oil, and pour the liquid into your trays and freeze. Toss one of these cubes into braises, salad dressings, stir fries, soups, egg dishes, pastas, and more.

  2. Garlic and ginger. This is the same concept as with the herbs. Mash roasted garlic into a pulp or grate ginger (don’t squeeze out the liquid) and stuff your ice cube trays. Add to sauces (both), defrost and smear on a buttery baguette and then broil for easy garlic bread (the garlic, of course), or add a cube to boiling water with honey and lemon for a quick tea (the ginger) without having to reach for fresh. Talk about a time saver.
  3. Stock. Little cubes of chicken beef, veggie, or seafood stock will never go to waste. In my kitchen, I cook veggies for my 1-year-old in stock and he eats them up way faster than when I use water. This is a great trick for bringing depth of flavour and a nice saltiness to many, many dishes that you might otherwise water down.

  4. Coconut milk or buttermilk. If you’re anything like me, you always have half a can of coconut milk and half a carton of buttermilk hanging out in your fridge. Make it easy on yourself and just freeze the leftovers into cubes. The next time you’re making a curry? You’re all set, just throw a coconut cube in with veggies and curry paste (maybe some of that ginger you’ve frozen as well). Or thaw a buttermilk cube for baking or whipping up a tangy salad dressing.

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PRO TIP: After cubes have solidified, pop out and freeze in freezer bags or small tubs. Remember our tip for labelling? This is a great time to use it. 

 5. Wine. Any questionable bottom-of-the-bottle splashes of wine (as long as they don’t contain sediment), get frozen as well. I have a tray for white wine (amazing to toss into chicken dishes) and red (hello, boeuf bourguignon) I’ll also freeze wine that is maybe not up to drinking standards, but will be perfectly ok to cook with.

6. Coffee. Hear me out! Maybe this isn’t seasonally appropriate, but if you love iced coffee, and you drink it at home, try making your ice cubes out of coffee. They won’t water down your beverage, but they will keep it nice and cool. Or have you even tried bolstering a chocolate cake or frosting with a little coffee? It seriously deepens the chocolatey flavour.

7. Berries or citrus in water or juice. A few of these cubes will make any drink prettier, and give you that spa-water feeling. 

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Have you done this before? What else could we freeze? We’re thinking maybe tomato sauce or cubes of garlic butter! Maybe puréed dark greens to add to smoothies? 

Emily

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