How to CookKitchen Hacks

6 Uses for an Ice Cube Tray

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.  

Today: Our favorite ways to get the most out of our ice cube trays.

Ice Cube Trays on Food52  Ice Cube Trays on Food52

Freezer storage is an essential tool for any cook: It makes your kitchen (and your freezer) more efficient, and it gives you the freedom to make more food than you'll eat. It is, essentially, a very cold pantry.

More: Pick up our favorite ice cube trays in Provisions.

One of the easiest and tidiest ways to freeze a number of ingredients is to freeze them in cubes. So we've rounded up our favorite things to keep on hand in cube form -- be sure to share yours in the comments.

Ice Cubes on Food52

Tomato paste. You're usually only using it in tablespoons anyways, so freezing in small cubes is perfect. You also shouldn't store open cans or tins in the fridge (here's why), so this is a great way to avoid throwing away the majority of a can that doesn't get used.

Ice Cubes on Food52

Stock and broth. In case you needed further incentive to make your own stock at home: It freezes beautifully, especially if you have big ice cube trays. Cubes are tidier and easier to use than big, warped plastic bags full of broth that stack awkwardly. Use them to make pantry soups when your fridge is bare and the takeout menu is taunting.

Ice Cubes on Food52

Herbs in oil. If drying herbs at home isn't your thing, here's an easier way to preserve them. Defrost while you boil your pasta water, and you'll add an extra layer of flavor to dinner without any additional work.

More: Add herbs to a cheesy pasta.

Ice Cubes on Food52

Fancy ice cubes. Because they will make your guests think you are fancy. Add them to your cocktails, or to your fizzy water when you're in need of a pick-me-up.  

Ice Cubes on Food52

Pesto. Make a big batch -- here's how -- and freeze it in cubes to use when warm weather herbs are a far-off memory. Defrost and add to pasta, pizza, sandwiches, or crostini.

Just one last tip: Make sure to wash your trays well after freezing anything that isn't water. You likely don't want your cold brew tasting like fresh sage.

Tell us: What are your favorite things to do with an ice cube tray?

Photos by James Ransom