Networx

Posted by Sayward Rebhal | G+ | May 01, 2012

Creative Uses for Ice Cube Trays

Freeze homemade pesto in ice cube trays and you'll be ready for pasta anytime. (Photo: Sayward Rebhal for Networx.com)How do I have so many ice cube trays? No seriously, I don’t know where they all came from. Are they actually alive, secretly breeding in some dark cold recess of my freezer? Maybe frozen peas act as an ice tray aphrodisiac?

If your amorous ice trays seem to be multiplying like mine, you can consider it a blessing. Now you’ve got your own stockpile for putting a few of these awesome, alternative options into practice:

1. Freeze other liquids.

Homemade veggie broth is a great choice, and perfectly portioned cubes will make cooking a breeze. Fresh pressed juices and smoothies act as excellent stand-in “popsicles”, and freezing coffee or tea will allow you to cool down your beverage without diluting it. Finally, frozen lemon or lime juice is always great to have on hand, for fancying up your water or tea, or for when a recipe calls.

2. Freeze some food.

You can save a lot of money by freezing fresh herbs while they’re in season. You can also make big batches of pesto or marinara, and then freeze them in ice cube trays for individual use later. Big freezer bags make for better long-term storage of sauce cubes than open ice cube trays (prevents freezer burn).

3. Make your own baby food.

Not only does this save a lot of money (and I mean a LOT), but preparing in bulk and then freezing can save you tons of time. Ice-cube-sized is perfect for baby, and storing them is so simple, and frozen food is a lifesaver come teething time.

4. Turn it into a snack tray.

I started doing this for my toddler, but I love it for myself as well. Simply fill each compartment with a different tasty treat, like fresh fruit, baby carrots, cucumber rounds, a scoop of hummus, leftover pasta, nuts or seeds or trail mix, raisins or dried fruit, chips or crackers or pretzels, mini pb&j sandwiches, or anything else you can think of. Perfect for healthy grazing!

5. Turn it into a paint tray.

Again, this is great for kids and adults alike. The little ones find it easier to keep the paints from mucking up together, while we big kids just appreciate the orderliness of sixteen separate compartments. This works for watercolor as well as acrylic.

6. Use it to start seedlings.

Simply drill (or use a hammer and nail) a small hole in the bottom of each little chamber, which will allow for water drainage.  Then fill the ice cube tray with dirt, add your seed, and place in a sunny window. Voila! Instant seed-starter tray.

 

7. Organize your desk.

Paper clips, thumb tacks, staples, and more – they all fit so nicely into those petite storage cells. Multiple ice trays make for a totally tidy “junk drawer”.

8. Store craft supplies.

Ice cube trays are perfect storage for little bits like beads or doll parts or whatever it is that you need to sort and organize. Some plastic wrap over the top can help to prevent disaster if the thing ever falls.

9. Tidy up the garage.

Same idea as above, you can use ice cube trays to keep nuts, bolts, washers, etc. Again, some plastic wrap over the top is probably wise.

 

10. Use it as a work tray.

If you ever find yourself disassembling something with small parts – say a piece of electronic equipment – an ice tray is a  great way to catalogue track each little piece, in the order that it came out.

11. Sort and display jewelry.

Keep one ice cube tray for your collection of earrings, another for your vintage brooches, and a final one for your cocktail rings. You’ll never lose that perfect piece way down in the depths of jewelry drawer again!

12. Store your pocket contents; sort pocket change.

Keep an ice cube tray by the front door “landing strip” for easy access. Keys, wallet, quarters, and you’re good to go on laundry day.

13. Make Jell-O shots

That’s right folks! You can make Jell-O shots and freeze them in the trays. Then come party time, just pile the “shot cubes” in punch bowls. It’s a much more eco-friendly, much less wasteful solution than plastic shot glasses.

14. Make a “topping bar”.

From baked potatoes to nachos, stir fry to ice cream sundaes, everybody loves to customize. Especially kids! So set out an array of toppings in the various compartments of an ice cube tray, and make a family-friendly, hands-on dinner where everybody gets involved.

15. Use as a chocolate mold.

Homemade chocolates, and even peanut butter cups, are actually very easy. Ice cube trays are the perfect size, too.

16. Use as a soap mold.

Homemade soap may seem intimidating, but it’s actually totally doable. Also, totally adorable! The mini soaps that come from an ice tray mold just beg to be given as sweet little gifts.

17. Make and transport seed bombs!

A seed bomb is simply a seed – usually a vegetable or flower – encased in dried, packed dirt. The “bomb” is then flung into urban areas like abandoned lots, grassy (often overgrown) median strips, parks, fields, or anywhere else you fancy. This of course leads to awesome plants sprouting up, bearing either food or foliage for the neighborhood to enjoy. It’s activism at its finest, and dang it if it’s not fun as well!

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