You’ve got a nifty piece of kit in your freezer; you just didn’t know it
Ice trays aren’t just for making ice. In fact, a whole world of opportunity lies before you in the freezer. Here are nine rather clever ideas to get you started.
1. Party lollies
You can make mini fruit lollies by partially freezing fruit juice, then sticking a mini lolly stick vertically into each section before freezing hard. For rainbow lollies, fill the ice cube trays to a third with orange juice and freeze, then add a third of apple and raspberry, red grape or blueberry juice, partially freeze, push the lolly sticks in and freeze again. Finally, top up with apple or kiwi juice and freeze hard.
2. Floral ice cubes
Many flowers are edible - they include dandelions, daisies, nasturtiums, carnations and cornflowers. So why not drop an edible flower bud into ice cube trays then top up with water for some super-pretty ice to add to drinks. (You don’t have to eat the flower, but it’s important you use edible flowers so you don’t risk poisoning yourself or your guests!)
3. DIY stock cubes
If you have stock left over (homemade or store-bought), freeze it in ice cube trays for ready-made stock cubes. You can add these from frozen to your savoury recipes.
4. Iced coffee cubes
If you enjoy iced coffee, make coffee ice cubes so you can keep it cold without diluting it. Clever!
5. Baby food in bulk
When babies first move on to solid foods, they can only eat a couple of teaspoons at a time – about the amount held in each hole in an ice cube tray. Freeze fruit or vegetable purées in single ice cube-sized portions, then defrost just what you need each time. As your baby’s appetite increases, you can defrost two or three for each meal.
6. Fruit boost
Freeze puréed berries or combinations of berries in ice cube trays. These can be added to cocktails, dropped into glasses of water to give a subtle fruit flavour or made into smoothies when blended with milk.
7. Instant salad dressing
If you make your own vinaigrette, it can be hard to gauge enough for just one or two people and it’s easy to end up with a small amount going mouldy in the fridge. Freeze any excess oil-and-vinegar-based dressings in ice cube trays and defrost just what you need each time, either in a microwave or by putting a few cubes in a bowl and sitting it over a pan of hot water.
8. Citrus cubes
Juice lemons and limes in bulk, then freeze the juice, either separately or in combination, in ice cube trays. You can add these to drinks or defrost as much as you need to use in recipes.