HOW ICE TRAYS SAVED A KITCHEN
It may not look like much, but the humble ice cube tray is one of the hardest working tools in my kitchen arsenal. Sure, a heat wave and the gallons of iced tea that follow mean it’s frequently chugging away at its original purpose, but it goes way beyond plain ol’ H2O.
I first discovered the versatility of the unassuming ice cube tray from a tip I read in a magazine. I tried freezing some leftover pesto cubes in an ice cube tray and discovered the little frozen pesto cubes were the perfect size for reheating. It was so remarkably simple that I was soon experimenting with other sauces and liquids: vegetable stock, tomato sauce, even those last dregs of red wine from our last dinner social can be saved for drinking a day or two later.
If summertime spells a bumper crop of herbs from your garden, a big batch of pesto can be poured into many ice cube trays, frozen, transferred to a labeled freezer bag, and stored indefinitely—or until I develop a craving for homemade pasta. The next time a recipe calls for a little extra kick, those well-preserved cubes can be called into action in a jiffy.
When my baby took her first few bites of solid food, my ice cube trays were rarely empty. Carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes, steamed and blended into mush, retain their freshness and nutrition when frozen immediately. As a working parent, I saved both time and sanity by cooking up batches of food on the weekend, then stocking up my freezer with meals aplenty for the days ahead. When my kidlet is older, those ice cube trays will have a new purpose: juice cubes with a toothpick in the middle to make mini popsicles!