Almost every home kitchen has one or two ice cube trays, but if you have a fridge with an ice-maker, they may be sitting unused in the kitchen cupboard. Don’t let them gather dust — they can be used to make more than regular ice; the trays can work overtime (especially during summer), giving you more ways to preserve herbs, chill drinks, and make cool treats.
Five ways to turn your ice cube tray into a multi-purpose tool:
1. Coffee cubes.
Freeze leftover brewed coffee and use them in iced coffee. The make-ahead cube allows you to chill your morning java without watering it down.
2. Almond milk ices.
Vietnamese coffee (brewed coffee over sweetened condensed milk) is too indulgent for some, so almond milk cubes are a healthy substitute that also cools the brew at the same time. Bonus: these cubes are perfect in regular iced coffees as well.
3. Puréed herb cubes.
Preserve fresh basil, mint or oregano, even garlic or ginger by chopping or pureeing in the food processor with a little canola or olive oil. Freeze them in the summer and you’ll have enough to add to creamy soups or curries during winter. Bonus: Enjoy making homemade pesto? Freeze it into portions to use later, rather than having the extra spoil in the fridge.
4. Decorative (and edible) cubes.
Freeze edible flowers, raspberries, blueberries or other summer fruit with distilled water (to minimize the cloudiness of the cubes) and use them to cool and garnish summer cocktails.
5. Leftover tomato paste cubes.
Measure leftover tomato paste into 1-tbsp portions, freeze in the trays, then store in freezer bags. There’s no need to open a new can and measure out a tbsp. or two the next time you make a sauce or pasta.