Cool New Ideas for Ice Cube Trays

Looking for an item that can help you in more ways than one? Check your freezer.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Divide a drawer
If your junk drawer is an unsightly mess, insert a plastic ice cube tray for easy, low-cost organization. One “cube” can hold paper clips, the next, rubber bands, another, stamps. It’s another small way to bring order to your life.

Organize your workbench
If you’re looking through your toolbox for that perfect-sized fastener that you know you have somewhere, here’s the answer to your problem. An ice cube tray can help you organize and store small parts you may need at one time or another, such as screws, nails, bolts, and other diminutive hardware.

Keep parts in sequence
You’re disassembling your latest swap-meet acquisition that has lots of small parts and worry that you’ll never be able to get them back together again in the correct sequence. Use an old plastic ice cube tray to help keep the small parts in the right order until you get around to reassembling it. If you really want to be organized, mark the sequence by putting a number on a piece of masking tape in each compartment. The bottom half of an egg carton will also work.

A painter’s palette
Your child, a budding Mary Cassatt or Picasso, requires a palette to mix colors. A plastic ice cube tray provides the perfect sturdy container for holding and mixing small amounts of paints and watercolors.

Freeze foods in handy cubes
An ice cube tray is a great way to freeze small amounts of many different kinds of food for later use. The idea is to freeze the food in the tray’s cells, pop out the frozen cubes, and put them in a labeled self-sealing plastic bag for future use. Some ideas:

  • Your garden is brimming with basil, but your family can’t eat pesto as quickly as you’re making it. Make a big batch of pesto (without the cheese) and freeze it in ice cube trays. Later, when you’re ready to enjoy summer’s bounty in the middle of winter, defrost as many cubes as you need, add cheese, and mix with pasta.
  • There’s only so much sweet potato your growing baby will eat at one sitting. Freeze the rest of it in trays for a future high-chair meal.
  • The recipe calls for 1/2 cup chopped celery, but you have an entire head of celery and no plans to use it soon. Chop it all, place in an ice cube tray, add a little water, and freeze. The next time you need chopped celery, it’s at your fingertips. This works well for onions, carrots, or any other vegetable you’d use for stew and such.
  • Are you always throwing out leftover parsley? Just chop it up, put it in an ice cube tray with a little water, and freeze for future use. Works with other fresh herbs.
  • There’s a bit of chicken soup left in the bottom of the pot. It’s too little for another meal, but you hate to throw it out. Freeze the leftovers, and the next time you make soup or another dish that needs some seasoning, grab a cube or two.
  • If you are cooking a homemade broth, make an extra-large batch and freeze the excess in ice cube trays. You’ll have broth cubes to add instant flavor to future no-time-to-cook dishes. You can do the same with a leftover half-can of broth.
  • Here’s what to do with that half-drunk bottle of red or white wine: Freeze the wine into cubes that can be used later in pasta sauce, casseroles, or stews.