Freezing Fun – creative ways to use your ice cube tray

August 3rd, 2015

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Freezing Fun

Do your household’s ice cube trays end up going unused for the half of the year when it’s too cold for icy drinks?

During these winter months, it’s all too common for ice cube trays to be relegated to the back of the cupboard to gather dust, and the twist ice makers built into many freezers become wastes of space.

twist and serve ice HRF224FW Haier 224 Litre FridgeThe twist ice maker of a Haier HRF224FW 224L Fridge

But it doesn’t have to be so! There’s a STAGGERING array of creative ways to use your freezer’s ice cube trays, allowing you to reap the benefits all year round!

Here are a small number of our favourites:

Bacon fat

Bacon is one of those absurdly delicious foods that the Internet is collectively obsessed with. Look pretty much anywhere and you’ll find some kind of bacon recipe that will leave your mouth watering and the rest of your body quietly protesting.

bacon explosion creationCase in point – the Bacon Explosion from BBQ Addicts

The next time you fry up a batch of bacon on the cooktop, collect the fatty, greasy runoff and freeze it for later.

bacon-fat-cubes source: 2chefs&awineguy

That way, you can add a touch of bacony flavour to pretty much any meal! Just don’t put these cubes in your drinks…

Herbs and pesto

If you grow herbs in your garden (or your flat’s window-box), you’ll know that adding a few fresh sprigs to a recipe can make a big difference to its flavour.

But what about those occasions when you’ve a full crop of herbs ready to go, but nothing to cook? Or when you’ve discovered a great recipe and everything you need is out of season?

To make sure you have herbs ready to go for your recipes, simply take herb clippings when they’re fresh, stick them in an ice cube tray with some olive oil or butter, and freeze. Then, when you’re cooking, just drop a herby cube straight into the dish and let the herb-infused oil or butter flavour your ingredients.

This trick is also great for making pesto, keeping it ready to go at the drop of a chef’s hat. And it also works for garlic!

Leftover wine/sangria

Before you all start commenting with oh-so-original witty remarks like “leftover wine? What dat? Lolz”, take a moment to think about all the ways you can use wine OTHER than drinking it immediately.

leftover wine ice cubes source: Ponte Family Estate

If you fill an ice cube tray with the half a bottle of wine/jug of sangria that you don’t need to get through right now, the frozen wine cubes can be a fun treat to drop into drinks (possibly…more wine?) when summer comes around!

Tea and coffee

Rather than pouring your coffee dregs over the garden, freeze them in your ice cube tray for later. These are perfect for a adding to iced coffee drinks during summer, allowing you to enjoy an undiluted caffeine fix during hot weather. You could also experiment with adding these to milk-based drinks too, or put them in some very fashionable cold-brew coffee for an extra-chilled summer cuppa.

coffee ice cubes source: Jimmie on Flickr

Similarly, if you’ve a half-empty pot of tea that’s going to go to waste, consider freezing it rather than pouring it down the sink. You’ll thank me in the summer when you’re craving a nice iced tea.

Frozen chocolate desserts

There are many delicious chocolatey desserts you can prepare with an ice cube tray. One popular choice is chocolate-covered strawberries – just stick your fruit and melted chocolate in the tray and freeze.

chocolate strawberries ice cube tray source: I Sing In The Kitchen

We’ve also heard of people making their own home-made peanut butter cups in the freezers – peanut butter, melted chocolate, ice cube tray, freezer and BAM.

Fruit juice

Rather than old-school water-based ice cubes, why not add a dash of flavour to your drinks with some cubes of frozen fruit juice? Imagine a cool glass of lemonade with the extra tang of frozen lemon juice, or fruity punch that keeps a strong fruity flavour thanks to frozen orange juice.

strawberry and thyme ice cubes source: Shari’s Berries on Flickr (

It’s not just juice, either – making water-based ice cubes with whole berries in their centres, giving your drinks an extra dash of sweetness.

Buttermilk and other dairy

What do you do if you’ve bought (or made) a batch of buttermilk, butter, cream or yoghurt for some grand baking experiment, but don’t end up using it all? You could quickly throw together another recipe to use it up, or scoff the lot, but you can also freeze these ingredients for later use.

buttermilk ice cube tray source: Budget Bytes

Just remember that the freezing process can affect the consistency of dairy products, so you may not always be able to get the same results when using the frozen stuff.

Stock cubes

Similar to the last point, if you’ve been making stock for some hearty dish and there’s a bit left over, freezing it for use in some later meal is probably a more sensible and thrifty idea than just throwing it out and/or letting it go off.

beefcubes source: Incredible Crunchy Flavour

As with all the other ideas in this post, it’s important not to mix up your stock cubes with your regular ice cubes or other creative cubes. Many sites and blogs recommend popping out the different cubes once they’re fully frozen and storing them separately in clearly labelled plastic freezer bags.  Oh, and remember to thoroughly wash out your ice cube trays before re-using them!

Your turn:

What’s the most creative thing YOU’VE frozen in your ice cube tray? How did it go? And are there any exciting frozen treats you plan on making in your freezer this year?

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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