Do you want to know one of my very favorite kitchen secrets? The one secret that I use multiple times each month to help me save money and prevent food waste??? It has everything to do with an ice cube tray! Instead of tossing excess foods, freeze those foods in an ice cube tray to extend the life and use at a future time. There are many different foods you can freeze in an ice cube tray, truly the skies the limit!
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Why Freeze Food in Ice Cube Trays?
Many recipes call for half a can of this or a few tablespoons of that. Tossing this leftover food aside may not feel like a big deal at the time, but when it is continually done over and over again the amount of waste adds up, which in turn means more money spent.
Freeze these leftovers in ice cube trays so you can use them in small portions the next time a recipe calls for it. These small cubes are easier and faster to thaw than when it is frozen in a large chunk. Making the cubes perfect for those quick meals!
How to Freeze Food in Ice Cube Trays
- Simply fill each ice cube tray with the food you want to freeze
- Stick the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours until frozen through
- Pop those cubes out of the tray and into a freezer bag (I use these!)
- Get all air out of bag and put in freezer
- You can now pull out the cubes and use as needed in recipes
These cubes will stay good in the freezer for 3-6 months.
Standard ice cube trays are about 2 Tablespoon (1 ounce) per cube. This makes 2 cubes equals 1/4 cup.
Have leftover Chicken Stock? Maybe from a homemade stock or from a box? Either works! Simply fill your ice cube tray up with the stock and freeze. These stock cubes are great to use for soups or sauce.
Freeze your yogurt in ice cube trays before it expires. Add these cubes to smoothies or oatmeal for added protein and creaminess!
Cream will stay good in the fridge for about a month. If your cream is getting close to the expiration date consider freezing it for later. The frozen cream can be used in making butter, ice cream, sauces, soups, or whipped cream.
My Pumpkin Cookie recipe calls for about 3/4 can of pumpkin puree. Instead of throwing away the extra 1/4 can of pumpkin I have started freezing it in cubes, and loving it! These pumpkin cubes are perfect for smoothies or protein drinks, but can also be used in all of your pumpkin baking! If you have a baby around use the pumpkin to feed your little one!
Freezing your excess pesto is a great way to save it for use in pasta recipes, eggs, sauces, or salad dressing. They are easy to pop out of the freezer and use in a quick fix!
6. Tomato Paste
Most of my recipes requiring tomato paste only need 1-2 Tablespoons, making the majority of the can go to waste. Instead of throwing it away, I have learned to freeze that excess in ice cube trays to use for later. These freeze well and are perfectly proportioned for my stew recipes!
7. Lemon Juice
You can freeze fresh squeezed lemon juice, or bottled lemon juice! The ice cube portions are perfect for drizzling over salads, using in baking, lemonade or for making buttermilk substitute.
8. Herbs in Olive Oil
Don’t let fresh herbs go to waste. Place herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano work best) in an ice cube tray about 3/4 full, fill the rest of the cube with olive oil. Freeze. You can pull these cubes out of the freezer to use in soups and stews.
Do you use ice cube trays for freezing convenience?? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments!
And, if you are looking for more Grocery Money Saving Tips check out Crystal Paines (from Money Saving Mom) new ebook, Slash Your Grocery Budget, where she shares her 25 top tips for saving money at the grocery store.