DinnerDork [ ˈdi-nərˈdȯrk ]
If you’re like me, you cringe at thought of wasting food. Even a tiny morsel. Seriously, I was raised in a home where nothing went to waste. Chalk it up to my dad’s rural farm upbringing where there were plenty of animals and compost piles to consume all manner of food scraps.
Keeping with the spirit of saving time and money, ice cube trays offer many opportunities to do both:
- After dinner, ladle extra sauces and gravies into ice cube trays for a quick-sauce-start next time you’re cooking with the same flavors. When you’re ready to use the frozen sauce, thaw it at room temperature, in the microwave, or simply dissolve it straight into your cooking! If you’re an animal lover like me – these tasty cubes can also serve as special treats for cats and dogs – just be sure that you haven’t used any ingredients that aren’t safe for them to consume. Don’t be afraid to use freezer bags to store larger amounts of sauce for later use. Just be sure to allow it to cool down to room temperature before using freezer bags, as they are typically not heat resistant and may melt when used to store hot foods.
- Don’t waste the last bits of wine or other spirits simply because there isn’t enough left for a serving! Decant them into ice cube trays and freeze for later use in cooking. This is especially useful for wines, rums and other sweet spirits that can give that extra special flavor to a dish. Try adding them to steaming shellfish, pasta sauces, soups, stews and more! Be sure to properly label any ice trays containing alcohol so that you can dispense and give access to them responsibly.
- Make juice of citrus and other fruits. There aren’t too many quick and useful ways to use up fruits that are on the verge of spoiling. If you aren’t ready to eat that old orange, or have no use for that wilting lemon, don’t fret. Simply juice them into ice cube trays and freeze for later. They can be defrosted or melted directly into a recipe, or used as flavored ice cubes for water, iced tea, lemonade, sangria, mimosas, and more!
- Having trouble exhausting that container of buttermilk before the expiration date? Freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray, and thaw as needed in the fridge, microwave, or by setting cubes in a container at room temperature. Buttermilk cubes are the perfect solution for whipping up pancakes, breads, muffins and other goodies without having to keep a container of buttermilk in the fridge at all times.
- None too pleased about reheating leftover mashed potatoes? Spoon them into an ice tray and freeze for later. Mashed potatoes are a great addition to crab cakes, salmon croquettes, meatballs, and other recipes. They can be a flavorful substitute for nearly any recipe that uses breadcrumbs as a filler.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with the way you use ice trays! They’re perfectly sized and tempered to give new life (and extend the shelf life of) to left overs! Each cube holds about 2 tbsp, or 1/8 cup of liquid. Just be sure to practice safe food handling techniques, and properly cleanse the trays after and between uses.