5/8/12

Money Saving Tips Using Ice Cube Trays

Ways to use ice cube trays
Lemon & Vinegar Garbage Disposal Cleaner Cubes

Those lowly plastic ice cube trays that have gone by the way side with all the automatic ice makers out there today, can be repurposed in a variety of ways other than ice to save you money and time. Never throw out little leftover bits of sauces/gravies/purees again!

The next time you see them at a yard sale, thrift store or even the dollar store pick a few up!  Quite a few liquids and sauces can be frozen for use in cooking and household cleaning.

If you are looking for new ways to be frugal and live a frugally sustainable way of life, this is a great habit to get into. It makes you look at what your throwing out in a whole new way! I always have ziplock bags of ice cube foods lined up in my freezer, and you should consider it too!

Store cubes in ziplock bags in your freezer for easy access!
Not sure how much to use in cooking? 1 standard sized cube = 2 Tablespoons , 2 cubes= 1/4 cup, 4 cubes = 1/2 cup, etc.
Here's a few of my favorites!

Garbage Disposal Cleaner Cubes


Place pieces of lemon in each ice cube slot.
Fill each slot with vinegar.
Freeze. When cubes are frozen, pop them out into a ziploc bag labeled as garbage disposal cleaner and store in freezer. To use: Place 1-2 cubes down disposal, turn on the water and run the disposal. The vinegar and lemons will clean the disposal as they whirl around.

Pumpkin & Applesauce


I love to substitute pumpkin puree or applesauce in my baking in place of the oil in a recipe to reduce the fat. Whether you make your own pumpkin or buy a can (not pumpkin pie filling,just plain ol' pumpkin!) either will be just fine! Just, fill your ice cube trays. Freeze solid, then pop out of trays and store in labeled ziplock  bags in freezer. Just pull out what you need based on the measurements mentioned earlier and microwave to thaw.

Tomato Paste


Sometimes you just need a tiny bit of tomato paste to thicken up your favorite sauce or soup. A whole can, no matter how small, is still just too much. So open a small can, fill your trays (I get about 8 cubes per can) and freeze till solid, pop out into a labeled bag and store in freezer. Just pop a cube into your sauce and watch it melt right into your dinner. Also little bits of leftover spaghetti sauce from dinner is great to freeze into cubes, no more waste!

Gravy / Soup Stock


Ever find that you have just a tiny bit of left over gravy and not sure what to do with it? For heavens sake, don't throw out all that flavor!  Just pop it into your trays and freeze. Store your cubes in labeled baggies in the freezer. The next time you are making soups, casseroles, or even opening a store bought soup, pop a cube or two in for great flavor!  Same if you cook meat in your crockpot or oven and get a bit of broth from it.

Yogurt or pureed fruit for smoothies


My kids love smoothies. To make it easier, you can freeze vanilla yogurt, or even mashed up fruit. Hey, we all end up with that one brown banana that no one wants to eat. Just mash it and freeze it for smoothies. (mashed banana can be used as an egg substitute too!) Same with any extra fruits. then pop into the blender with your other smoothie ingredients and wala, smoothie is done!

Coffee /Chai Tea Concentrate


I do not drink coffee or tea, so have no experience with this, but my coworkers are always dumping cold coffee out at work. What if you froze it or even Chai Tea Concentrate to make your next cold coffee drink?

Herbs


If you have some herbs in your fridge that are getting a bit old, consider chopping them up and putting them in the ice cube slots and then fill each slot with water. These herbed ice cubes are great to pop into homemade soups and other dishes!

Baby food


Before the days of  magic bullets and food processors I made my own baby food. It's a heck of a lot cheaper and with today's gadgets even faster then ever! I've seen those baby bullets and they look so cool,but I usually stored a much larger variety than the number of  those cute little containers, plus you don't need to spend the money on it. Make them into ice cubes and store in labeled bags in the freezer. Then pull out what you need and thaw carefully in the microwave.  You can  even mix those weird blends your baby likes, such as pears and squash, etc. all in the same cube!

I'd love to hear what you like to use your ice cube trays for!

This post was linked up at these great blog parties:
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51 comments:

  1. Wow!
    What great ideas!
    I especially like the herb idea....
    Definitely gonna put that one to use!!!!

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    1. Crystelle, thanks for stopping by with such sweet comments! That's one of my favorites too. I have rosemary cubes in the freezer right now in fact!

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  2. Those garbage disposer cubes are genius!!

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    1. Thanks! When I was making them the first time, I worried my family would think they were lemon ice cubes for drinks or water. No chance! The vinegar gives it away when you open the ziplock bag! :)
      Jan

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  3. I can't wait to use the garbage disposal cubes! Good thinking!

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  4. I'm so glad I found you at Penny Pinching Party! These ideas are brilliant, especially the garbage disposal and the yogurt for smoothies!

    I make my own baby food too and use the trays to make little baby food cubes. So much easier to pop them out to defrost in the fridge over night!

    I'm definitely going to try the herbs and the tomato paste idea too. Thanks again! I'm off to explore the rest of your site :)

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    1. Thanks Sarah! I hope you find a few things you like!
      Jan

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  5. Sabrina5/09/2012

    These are great ideas Jan! Thanks for all the time, effort and love you put into your blog.

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    1. Thanks Sabrina, You know that your opinion means a ton to me!

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  6. I'm also glad I found you and your wonderful tips! While I don't had a disposal I do love lemon in my ice water. Never thought of putting then IN with the ice. Thanks for the tip...and all your others I'm putting to good use.

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    1. I'm so glad you find me too! I love lemon in my water too! Thanks for stopping by with such sweet comments!
      Jan

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  7. Great tips! Love the garbage disposal idea! I currently purchase garbage disposal cleaner. This sounds like a great way to go! : ) Happy to be a new follower.
    Have a great day, Hope
    http://hopefuloneblog.blogspot.com/

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    1. I am so glad you found me! Thanks for stopping by the comment box today!
      Jan

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  8. When I found eggs on sale, I stocked up on them. I lightly blended them with a wisk and froze them in ice cube trays. With a little measuring, I figured out that 2 cubes=1 large egg. Great for baking or scrambled eggs, and they still look sunny in the plastic zip top bag in my freezer!

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    1. I love that idea! I am so gonna try this!
      Jan

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  9. Anonymous5/11/2012

    I freeze the organic canned pumpkin in ice cube trays and thaw one out every day to add to my dog's food. It makes her kibble more appetizing for her and is really healthy too.

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    Replies
    1. I never thought about adding pumpkin to dog food, that is a great idea!
      Jan

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  10. Anonymous5/11/2012

    When you mentioned freezing gravy I pictured my dogs' delight when they discover the ice cube I give them to play with in the summer is frozen gravy!!! lol I'll dilute to stretch it further (4 dogs in our house) and they will be thrilled!!!

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    1. Oh, my goodness, that is so clever! They will love you for it!
      Jan

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    2. you can also reuse the dogs bones that are hollow! i fill them with creamcheese or peanut butter and my dogs have a blast, because 4 dogs can be expensive i have 3 and they love when i freeze the hollow bones after they got all the other stuff out of them and give them to them the next day when thy r frozen filled, they last about 5 hours in southern heat.

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    3. I love that idea! I would never have thought of that! Thanks for sharing! (I'm tired of this southern heat already!)
      Jan

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  11. Anonymous5/11/2012

    I run blackberries through an applesauce screen and freeze the pulp in ice cube trays. We use them for smoothies.

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  12. Anonymous5/11/2012

    I've used mine to put tea or koolaid in. That way my drink doesn't get watered down.

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    1. My husband still loves koolaid, I'll have to do that for him! Thanks for the great idea!

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  13. You have a lot of great ideas! I especially want to try the disposal cleaner! Thanks for sharing with us this week!

    Take care,

    Trish

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  14. I do freeze leftover coffee. My husband won't drink it if it has to be heated in the microwave, but I don't mind. Coffee is too expensive to dump down the drain.

    The other ideas I'm definitely going to try! Thanks to all the new ideas.

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    1. I'm with you on the saving money!
      Jan

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  15. I use ice trays for storing extra eggs from my hens. One egg per cube fits well. Unfortunately, after freezing, the eggs are no longer good for frying, but they are great for scrambling and for puddings and cakes. They also work for quiche. The key is to blend them well.

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    1. I would never have thought of doing that! That is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
      Jan

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  16. Ever heard of the master cleanse vinegar, cyanne & maple syrup? I mix mine in a concentrate with out water & freeze in cubes then add to my water bottles , also I freeze cucumber & berries with water & use them in big pitures of water when we cook or hang outside . Adds a bit of flavor to the water, my kids love it

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have not heard of the master cleanse, it sounds intriguing. The cyanne scares me, but that's the cleanse part!LOL. I love the cucumbers and berries, that sounds so refreshing! Thanks for the ideas, I may research that master cleanse!

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  17. I made and froze all of my daughter's baby food. It made everything so much less expensive and easy. I definitely need to get better at making little sauce cubes to grab out and use for lunches and dinners. Thanks for the good ideas! I am stopping by from the Homestead Blog Hop.

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    1. Becky, I'm so glad you found me! Thanks for taking a moment to send me a comment, I love them!
      Jan

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  18. I make my own yogurt, so after I make a batch using a couple tablespoons of the store bought yogurt I freeze the rest in my ice cube tray. Then, when I'm ready to make another batch I just take out a couple cubes of the store bought, let them thaw at room temp (or add a little of the heated milk if I'm impatient) and use that as the starter for my next batch. It makes the store bought last a lot longer, and the cultures in the yogurt still work great even after freezing.

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  19. I know what I'm picking up the next time I'm at a dollar store! Such great ideas. Thank you!

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  20. This is absolute genius. Brilliant!!

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  21. Terrific post and so wonderfully simple. I just love the garbage disposal cleaner cubes!! Thanks for coming to Natural Mother's “Seasonal Celebration Sunday.” I would love to see you again next week!! Rebecca x

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  22. I LOVE this, please come over and link up at my new DIY link party www.littlehouseinthesuburbs.com

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    1. Deaanna, (Love that name, it's my Daughter-in-law's name!) Thanks for the invite, I'm dashing out the door in a moment, but would love to come back and link up!
      Can't wait to rummage around your site!
      Thanks,
      Jan

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  23. I noticed that you said you made your own baby food...any recipes or pointers for a first timer?

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    1. I think the best advice I can give is:
      1) talk to your local producer manager at your favorite "community" store (not the big box nat'l ones) and ask when or how they rotate produce. What you're wanting is to know if they'd ever call you if they had some produce they couldn't keep but that you could buy for making baby food. You'll be steaming and mushing them up so they don't need to look pretty.Or if they won't call you is there a certain day where they maybe marking some produce down? BUT the think to remember is the older they are the more nutrients they've lost, so that lead's me to
      2) watch for frozen vegies on sale. Frozen vegies traditionally have more nutrients than fresh in your store (unless you get a local farmers' market where it was just picked) because the vegies are flash frozen immediately after picking preseving their nutrients. Fresh produce in your typical store is several weeks old (if not more).
      3) Think outside the box: avacado's, are great and don't forget to cook some high nutrient lentils and mash them and mix them in with other vegies, they are cheap and quick cooking, and easily take on the taste of what they are mixed with so is a great mix in food.
      Does that help?

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    2. Oh, right after Halloween buy some "pie" pumpkins on clearance at a store or pick your own stand and cook down a bunch of discount pumpkin.

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  24. Awesome ideas! I'd love for you to add it on my link party at: http://printabelle.com/?p=4459 Thanks!

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  25. Great ideas! I love the garbage disposal one!

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    1. I LOVE your Log-in Name! Thanks for the kind words, I really needed them today!
      Jan

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  26. The garbage disposal cubes are pure genius. I will be doing this for sure.
    Also...why have I NEVER thought of the tomato paste one?! You are SO right...no mater how small the can you purchase, you never seem to be able to use it all when you only need a couple tablespoons for a recipe. Plus, it is more economical (at my store at least) to purchase a large can. I love your site.

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    1. Thanks so much for the feedback and kind words! Have a great week!
      Hugs,
      Jan

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