Extra Large Silicone Ice Cube Trays. Not Just for Ice!
If you eat and drink out much, you may have noticed a new trend that has taken over the food and drink industry. The ice cubes are getting larger and larger. Large ice cubes are perfect for any drinks because the ice melts more slowly, which prevents your drink from getting watered down. So it makes perfect sense for bars to use them. But Extra large ice cube trays are not just for ice cubes. There are lots of creative ways to use them.I am a huge fan of silicone kitchen products. I recently had the opportunity to test a set of some extra large silicone ice cube trays, and did I ever have fun with them! I had to think outside the box a bit, but I came up with 20 creative ideas for using this wonderful kitchen gadget.
1. Super Sized Ice Cubes. You can make your own super sized ice cubes just by freezing water in small Dixie cups, but special extra large silicone ice cube trays make it much easier and takes up much less space in the freezer too.
So now that you have your handy tool, and know that will be an essential bar tool, what else can you do with it other than making sure you don’t have watered down drinks?
2. Left Over Gravy. The next thing that pops into my mind comes from a trick that I learned when my husband and I were traveling in Germany before we were married. Some friends that we met there hosted dinner for us and I remember the guy asking “are you a one cube or a two cube gravy person?” They had frozen left over gravy and then just popped a cube or two for each person when they had a roast. Well, with these ice cube trays, we are one just a “one cube person!” Don’t throw out that extra gravy after you have a roast. Freeze it in these trays and then take out what you need one or two cubes at a time. (each cavity holds 1/2 cup of gravy!3. Tomato Paste. There are tubes of tomato paste which you can use for just a few tablespoons at a time, but they are quite pricey. Buy the larger cans of tomato paste and then use what you need and freeze the left overs in the silicone ice cube trays for later use. Saves money and waste as well.
4. Buttermilk. I love recipes with buttermilk but find that even the smaller containers has more in it than I would use in just a few weeks. Use what you need for your recipe and freeze the remainder for another day. Just freeze then pop into zip lock bags and label the package with today’s date.
5. Coffee Flavored Chocolate milk. Most coffee drinkers also like the taste of cold chocolate milk. Mix them together for a great taste sensation. Make yours special with a specialty “cookies and cream” coffee flavored chocolate milk by breaking up cookies such as Keebler chocolate cookies into small pieces in the ice cube cavities and pour coffee over the top and freeze.
Once you have your cubes, pour a cold glass of chocolate milk and add a bit of cocoa powder and sugar. Drop in your coffee flavored ice cube. It will start out like chocolate milk, but gradually take of the taste of coffee as the cube melts and leave you with a gooey cookie surprise at the bottom of the glass.
6. Juice Pops. I have those special Popsicle makers somewhere in one of my drawers but can never lay my hands on them when I want to make the darn things. Make healthy Popsicles by freezing your favorite fruit juice. Just add a Popsicle stick or even a small spoon into the center and freeze. The size is perfect for a snack and you will know it is not filled with refined sugar. My husband was just diagnosed with high cholesterol. I made these juice pops from Minute maid orange juice with added Sterols as a treat for him. (It is supposed to slightly lower cholesterol)
7. Coconut milk. I make curries all the time and one of the ingredients often called for is coconut milk. But normally, a recipe will ask for a cup, or 1/2 cup and the cans contain so much more. Just freeze the left over coconut milk, then place in zip locks and date. The next time you make a curry, you’ll have the coconut milk and won’t have wasted a drop!
8. Home made stock. Save your left over vegetable scraps, or chicken or beef bones and add water and make your own home made stock. Use what you need now for soup or other recipes and freeze the remainder in these over sized ice cube trays. Need a cup of stock for a recipe later? No problem. Just pop out two frozen stock cubes and add it to your recipe. Home made stock in just a few minutes! This plate has veggie stock, chicken stock and beef stock all ready to use in a future recipe.9. Single serving sweet treats. If you are anything like me, having lots of brownies or cupcakes out means that I’ll just eat them. Make your favorite mix and only keep out what you need for today or tomorrow. Freeze the rest in the silicone tray. Or, better yet, make them to order. There are loads of coffee mug cake recipes out there on the internet. Mix them up and drop the batter into the ice cube trays and microwave or bake them. Since the trays are made of silicone, they can withstand heat up to 450 degrees. This one is my banana chocolate cupcake recipe.10. Egg muffins. Drop some diced ham,( or line the cavity with ham slices, add some sliced mushrooms, diced peppers or whatever you like in your eggs and then mix some eggs and milk together. Pour over the milk mixture and bake for about 20 minutes at 350º. You can even add the cracked egg whole and then put shredded cheese on the top for an egg muffin with a runny surprise center. Freeze the ones you don’t use and pop them out when you want breakfast on the go.11. DIY Soaps. Combine blocks of glycerin, with some liquid food coloring in different colors in batches. Heat it in the microwave and if you wish, grease the cavities of the silicone trays with petroleum jelly. Pour in the melted and colored glycerin and let it sit for a few hours. The soaps will pop right out of the cavities. Store in a fancy jar in the bathroom. The soaps will get smaller with each wash of the hands, of course. Makes lovely guest sized soaps in pretty colors. Don’t use much food coloring, since it is very concentrated.
12. Baby Food. When my daughter was a baby, I would take the food that I had made for our dinner that was not too spicy and pureed it with a blender. These 1/2 cup sized ice cube portions are the perfect size for baby food. I credit my daughter not being a picky eater to doing this when she was younger. She has always eaten whatever we eat. Fruits can be pureed and frozen for later use too. The size is just perfect.
13. Spaghetti sauce. Ever needed just a cup of tomato sauce for a recipe and then found the rest of the bottle growing mold a few months later in the back of the fridge? No more with these trays. Immediately freeze, then pop out, store in zip lock baggies and label. Next time you need just a cup, you will have it handy and won’t have to waste another bottle.
14. Frozen yogurt pops. There are so many lovely flavors of yoghurt now. Freeze some of them for a healthy low cal “ice cream” treat in exactly 1/2 cup servings. Greek yoghurt is rich and creamy and makes great yogurt pops. (affiliate link.)
15. Left over wine. Wait…what is left over wine? Well, if you do have just a bit in the bottle, place it in the handy 1/2 cup cavities and freeze. Many recipes call for 1/2 cup of wine, so you will have it handy. Can be done with both white and red wine. Also, what could be better to chill down white wine that is at room temperature than a big ole white wine ice cube? Brilliant! (Note, the frozen wine will be more like a slushy ice cube because of freezing qualities of wine, but it will still keep the wine cold without diluting it.)16. End of season herbs. At the end of the summer, bring in the last of your fresh herbs and dice them and place them in the cavities of the ice cube trays. Cover with olive oil, coconut oil, or stock and freeze. Pop out, store in zip locks and label. Perfect for fresh herb taste all winter long for your favorite recipes. Olive oil or coconut oil is best because it preserves the freshness and prevents some of the freezer burn. (see some other ways to use up end of season herbs here.)
When the cubes are hardened, label them and put in zip lock bags for later. This picture shows basil cubes, rosemary cubes, mixed herb cubes, tarragon cubes, parsley cubes and thyme cubes. What a wonderful thing they will be to have to cook during the winter when most herbs are dormant.
17. Left over sauces. My husband and I love food with sauces, but I usually end up with more then just the two of us can eat. Freeze the left over sauce in the ice cube trays and you will have it to dress up plain chicken or beef the next time you are in a hurry for dinner.
18. Left over coffee. Do you have a pot of really good freshly brewed coffee but can’t drink it all? Freeze it in these big ice cube trays and use it to make iced coffee later. The large sized cubes will melt very slowly and keep the drink really cold without watering it down like normal ice cubes will do. Just pour over 1/3 freshly brewed coffee and 2/3 milk.
19. Healthy Smoothies. Do you add spinach or kale to smoothies? Puree until smooth and add to the ice cube trays. Use the frozen kale or spinach cubes later to make healthy smoothies for a fast morning drink.
20. Fruit juice cubes. There are times of the year when citrus fruits are a real bargain. Buy them in bulk and use the juice to make extra large fruit juice cubes. Add to sparkling water or mixed drinks for a taste that won’t get watering as the cubes melt.
I received a set of these ice cube trays in exchange for linking to them in this post. I only recommend products that I feel are useful to my readers. I just loved using them and would recommend them to anyone. If you would like a set for yourself, you can see them here on Amazon.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."