Uncommon Uses for Ice Cube Trays

Ice is an interesting subject for contemplation. They told me that they had some in the ice-houses at Fresh Pond five years old which was as good as ever. Why is it that a bucket of water soon becomes putrid, but frozen remains sweet forever? It is commonly said that this is the difference between the affections and the intellect.

Henry David Thoreau

| By Amelia Stolarz |

We really shouldn’t need ice cube trays because most of us now have refrigerators that should make ice and spew it into a tray in the freezer or dispense it from the door.

However, my $2,000-plus refrigerator doesn’t always want to make ice.

Discussions with my peers draws me to the conclusion that most refrigerator ice makers are fickle. I’ve heard of people with refrigerators costing much more than mine, opting out of ice makers because they lack confidence in them.

So I invested in several ice cube trays. I was delighted by the inexpensive trays in Target and as a bonus, they were also made in the USA.


Besides making beautiful clear ice cubes that you can gaze into like Henry David Thoreau did…

Here’s what you can do with ice cube trays:

1. Store fresh pesto. You can make pesto by pureeing basil, arugula or spinach with walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and oil. Preserve its life by measuring tablespoons of the pesto into an ice cube tray and freezing it. Once frozen, remove cubes from tray, wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer. Add these cubes to soups, top meat with them before cooking, toss them into warm pasta or spread them on toasted Italian bread or flatbread.


2. Prep smoothies. Freeze a variety of fruit juices into cubes so you can easily add to smoothies later.


3. Save broth. After steaming vegetables or meats (I steam in my rice maker – but that’s a discussion for another day), freeze the liquid into ice cube trays and use to season soups and sautes at a later date.


4. Preserve citrus. Squeeze fresh lemon and lime juice into the trays to have on hand for future recipes.


5. Keep tomato paste. If you open a can of tomato paste and use only a small amount, freeze the remainder by the tablespoon in ice cube trays. Remove from trays and wrap in plastic wrap. Then, the paste will be available for another recipe.

If you want to hear a poetic narrative about ice…

Read Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” He extols the virtues of ice – the color, the scent, the taste, how various ponds produce differences in quality – you would think he was talking about wine in a French vineyard.

He compares the grain in ice to the grain in wood.


He talks about the icemen harvesting blocks of ice and how it is stored for a couple of years packed in sawdust and still as fresh as ever. He peers into thick ice on the lake and describes the differences in the tiny holes within.


He meditates on the sounds of ice. I’ve never heard ice talked about so much in any one place.

If you want to taste ice at its best…

granita4.jpgGo to Italy and enjoy the granitas. In Siena, I found the most refreshing mint granita that I still crave years later. In Rome, you can’t miss Tazza d’Oro Casa del Caffe, a coffee house a block from the Pantheon. They serve the most decadent coffee granita with cream (pictured).

Definition of granita
gra·ni·ta     ɡrəˈnēdə/     noun: granita; plural noun: granite
1. a coarse, Italian-style flavored ice.
a drink made with crushed ice.
First Known Use: 1869



13239220_868867996558951_5623648985723637852_nAmelia Stolarz is a lifelong organizing guru, an avid gluten-free baker and a Certified Public Accountant.

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