If you’re like me, you’ve got a few old plastic ice cube trays hanging around that you just don’t want to give away, even though you don’t make ice cubes with them. It’s time to put them to use! Both inside and outside of the freezer, ice cube trays can come in awfully handy.
In the freezer:
1) Freeze pesto: Fill each cup with a little pesto and freeze. Pop a pesto cube or two out when you need to whip up a quick pasta lunch or drop them into soups and sauces for extra flavor.
2) Preserve herbs: Chop up fresh herbs and put them in the trays. Fill each cup with water or olive oil and freeze. When a recipe calls for just a small portion of fresh herbs, you’ll have just the right amount in one cube.
3) Don’t waste tomato paste: Recipes rarely call for more than a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, so what’s left in the can often goes unused. Spoon tomato paste into the ice cube tray and freeze for perfect future portions and no waste.
4) Stockpile smoothie ingredients: Puree kale or spinach and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Add the still-frozen puree cubes to smoothies instead of plain ice for an extra dose of healthy vitamins.
5) Make mini popsicles: Freeze juice, yogurt or pureed fruit in an ice cube tray until thick or slushy, then prop a toothpick in the center. Once frozen, you’ve got a bite-sized popsicle – the perfect no-guilt, anytime tiny treat.
Around the house:
6) Organize jewelry: The cube cups in the tray are the perfect way to organize pairs of earrings, rings or other small pieces of jewelry on a dresser or in a drawer.
7) Start spring seeds: Put a little potting mix in each cup of the tray and sow small seeds. Once they sprout, carefully lift them out and transfer to a larger pot.
8) Make a paint palette: For your child’s next art project, keep the paint colors from getting mixed together by putting each color into a different cup of the ice cube tray.
Julianne Puckett is the creator of Yankee Kitchen Ninja, a blog about what she calls “stealthy homemaking” — healthy recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, DIY gardening tips and the occasional craft project. A designer, writer and former suburban-dwelling IT professional, she lives in rural Vermont, where she struggles to balance the siren call of her inner farmer with her love of cute shoes and cocktails.