Things You Can Put In Ice Cube Trays, Besides Water

Part of the American Dream is having an automatic ice cube maker in your freezer. Once upon a time I was indeed livin' the dream, and I found myself with a lot of leftover, useless, plastic ice cube trays. Well, they are not as useless as you might think. Here are some helpful suggestions as to what in the world you can do with an ice cube tray besides fill it with water, or stash it in the back of a kitchen storage cabinet.

1) Don't you love it when strawberries go on sale? Don't you hate it when they start to mold before you can eat them all? When it looks like you're not going to get to those strawberries in time... wash and puree them in the blender! Freeze them in the ice trays and store them in zipper lock bags. The next time you pour yourself a tall glass of lemonade... you see where I'm going with this, don't you? That's right! Add a few strawberry ice cubes, and double your pleasure!

2) If you just can't bring yourself to finish that bottle of wine (yeah, right!), make wine ice cubes! You can pull them and drop them into a glass of fruity juice. Or into a yummy sauce or stew. But don't keep them for longer than six months. 

3) Oh, here's my favorite! Italian seasoned butter. In a small pot on the stove (because I'm trying to ease the microwave out of our lives), melt a couple of sticks of butter. Add the assortment of Italian seasonings: garlic powder, a touch of salt, oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme... whatever you like, it's up to you! Stir it all in, and let it cool. When it's cool enough, pour it into your ice cube tray and let it solidify in the fridge. When it returns to a solid state, freeze it overnight, and then pop them into a zipper lock bag or plastic storage container. You can thaw them out for simply buttering your Italian bread... melt a couple into a pasta dish... throw a few into a homemade chicken soup... add it to a pan as you cook up some chicken... I'm sure you can think of more uses.

4) For the grown ups, have you ever tried freezing fruit juices (like cranberry or cherry), and then pouring some vodka over those rocks? With all of the new vodka flavored these days, you could come up with some very interesting combinations.

5) Okay, this one's not for consumption, but if your garbage disposal is beginning to smell like Jacksonville on a summer night, freeze small slices of lemon in a tray of vinegar. Store them in a zipper lock bag or plastic container in the freezer. Once a week, or whenever you smell Jacksonville, feed the disposal blades one or two cubes to freshen things up a bit.

6) Ice cube trays always make good storage for jewelry. Paint them, dress them up, stack them. One for earrings, one for necklaces, one for rings, one for odds and ends. Oh, and don't freeze this one.

7) Crafters are always looking for ways to keep things organized. Heeeyy, ice cube trays for tiny glass beads! Available for easy reach and grab, and portable.

8) Are your eggs about to expire? No problem. Just crack the eggs into an ice cube tray, give each egg a little whisking, and freeze them. When frozen, pop them out into a zipper sealed bag. There they are, waiting for you to need them in your recipe. Aaand, you can use them for up to a year!

Having trouble getting your frozen things out of the ice cube tray? Just tilt your tray to the side and run the bottom under a little warm water. Or, set the bottom of the tray inside a shallow baking pan that's been filled with warm water. Not for too long, you don't want your frozen goodie to thaw completely until you're ready to use it!

I'm sure there are plenty of other ideas out there. If you have a suggestions, put add it to the comments section!

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