Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ice Cube Trays - Your Frugal Friend

A few years ago we got a new fridge with a built-in ice maker and water dispenser.  It's the first time in my life I've had that feature, and I use it every single day (I'm a big water drinker - I probably drink close to a gallon of water most days).

After the fridge was installed, my husband, who is one of those "get rid of it if you're not using it right now" kind of people (i.e. the total opposite of me - yes I drive him up a wall sometimes) wanted to get rid of the ice cube trays.  Now, granted, we had about eight of them.  So I let him donate six, but I kept two.  Why?  They are useful for so much more than just making ice from water!

I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of tomato products from a can.  Besides the issue of BPA in the lining, to me the tomatoes always coming out tasting like the can, instead of that sweet tomato goodness.  Then, I discovered these Hunt's tomato sauce Tetra Paks.  The sauce is delicious!  At 33.5 ounces, though, it's rare I would use a whole container of sauce in one day (or in one week, for that matter).  Sure, I could stick the whole container in the freezer and then thaw it out when I'm ready to use it, but sometimes I only need a little bit of sauce.  What to do...what to do.  Out come the ice cube trays!

Each divot in my trays holds two tablespoons of liquid, if I fill them right to the top.  So two cubes = 1/4 cup of liquid.  Easy to freeze, easy to pop out, easy to measure for recipes!

Over Christmas, I bought two pints of heavy cream for a couple of dishes that I thought I was going to make but then didn't.  I'm not one to let cream go to waste, but we REALLY don't need to be eating anything cream-laden right now, so I froze that too.  Here are the cubes after I popped them out of the tray.  Beautiful dairy popsicles. 

I've read (though I haven't tried it yet) that once they're thawed, they'll whip up like they've never been frozen. I can also just drop a cube into soups that need that creamy edge, or, if I'm feeling really decadent, thaw a cube for my coffee (one cube would probably last me four days in my coffee - it doesn't take much!).  

What else can you freeze?  Anything that freezes well that you want access to in small portions.  I've frozen:

  • sliced green onions that were going bad (great in soups and sauces where they'd be cooked thoroughly anyway)
  • diced bell peppers, celery, onions, garlic (these and the green onions go in with a little bit of water in each divot)
  • broth or stock, for those recipes that only need 1/4 cup or less (I usually freeze my stock in two cup portions)
  • Erupting Ice Chalk (my daughter had so much fun with these a couple of summers ago!)

Basically, if you can think of it and it's small enough to fit in an ice cube tray, it's perfect for this.

Do you use ice cube trays in your frugal kitchen?  I'd love to know your thoughts and ideas!

Happy Freezing!


Nike Athena said...

Puree basil and freeze for little pesto popsicles for recipes. I've also done this with summer fruit (watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, etc) that was about to go bad. Add to ginger ale or sprite for a fruity fizz, to my kombucha or smoothies.

kbeeps said...

Great ideas! I remembered that in the summer I make coffee cubes for iced coffee, too.