Monday, December 4, 2023


Your ice cube tray does a lot more than just make ice

When we purchased our most recent RV, I was pleased to find an automatic ice maker. I was also happy to discover many wonderful uses for the ice cube trays that we no longer needed for making ice. Below are a few that I know work. Try them out and let me know how they work for you.

Note: Not all ice cube trays are the same. You can purchase oversized ice cube trays from Amazon if you prefer to freeze food items in larger amounts.

Ways to use ice cube trays in your home or RV

Tomato paste. I hated wasting the tomato paste that remained in the can after scooping out the tablespoon of paste needed for a recipe. Well over half the can remained! Now I keep that extra tomato paste—by freezing it! First I measure out one tablespoon of paste per each ice cube section. Then I put the tray into the freezer and when the tomato paste is frozen, I pop the cubes out and put them into a freezer bag. I note the individual cube measurement (one tablespoon each) on the bag. Then the bag goes back into the freezer. Now when a recipe calls for tomato paste, I can go to the RV freezer rather than to the store. (Hint: You can also freeze your homemade pesto or other sauces this way, too.)

Fresh herbs. Tougher or hard herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano freeze best. Simply cut the amount of each herb you want and place it into ice cube sections. Fill each section with olive oil, broth, or melted butter. Then freeze. Once frozen, transfer the frozen herbs into a freezer bag. I love using these herb cubes in soups and stews. (Note: The herbs may look different when frozen but their flavor remains the same.)

Garlic. I like to mince the entire garlic clove at once, no matter how much the recipe requires. I put the unneeded seasoning into ice cube trays, tightly packing premeasured amounts into the cube sections. Then I add oil or water. Freeze it for later as described previously.

Baby foods. Families can save a lot of money by making their own pureed baby food. (Note: Some fruits and veggies are best when cooked first.) Puree the prepared food in a food processor to the thickness or texture you prefer. Then pour the food into individual cube sections of the ice tray. Put the tray into the freezer and, once frozen, transfer the food cubes into freezer bags. (Try carrots, yams, pears, squash, etc.) The cubes will quickly thaw and warm in the microwave.

Ice coffee. Sure, you can put ice cubes into your coffee, but the melting water will weaken the flavor. Freeze actual coffee in ice cube trays instead. Then use the coffee cubes for a great cuppa’ joe. (This works with tea and wine, as well.)

Fruits. Freeze pureed fresh fruits in oversize ice cube trays. Pop them into your morning smoothie or poke craft sticks into the cubes for a homemade fruit sickle. Additionally, you can freeze small portions of Greek yogurt in ice cube trays. Eat them as a cool snack or add them to a smoothie.

Cookie dough. If you freeze individual portions of cookie dough (about one teaspoon) in each ice cube section, you can bake a smaller batch of cookies. It will get you out of your RV’s kitchen more quickly, and your family can still enjoy fresh cookies often.

Lemon/lime juice. It seems as if I always have leftover juice after adding some to a recipe. Now I freeze the leftover freshly squeezed juice in ice cube trays. You can add a frozen lemon cube or two to a glass of water and yum! You’ll have your own flavored water to drink on hot camping days.

S’mores. Yes! Make these treats ahead of time and you can enjoy s’mores without a campfire! (Great for those rainy days.) Get the recipe here.

Do you use ice cube trays in unusual ways? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

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Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.



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Marilyn M (@guest_225044)
9 months ago

I’ll freeze broth in the trays, put in labelled zip-lock bags and then give one to each dog on a hot summer day. Or the liquid off of canned salmon/tuna I’ll dilute with 1/2 water and let one thaw and give it to the cat as his treat.
For raw cookie dough I don’t use trays – I roll them into balls, place them onto a small cookie rack, freeze and then put them into labelled zip-lockbags with instructions. Then take out what I need and pop them in the toaster oven.

Matt Colie (@guest_225030)
9 months ago

We actually carry a couple of ice trays to use when we are involved in a chili Cook-Off. They provide a dozen (or so) individual places to put separate samples.

Linda (@guest_225021)
9 months ago

I love these ideas. Helpful for home too! This would be great as well to prepare for a trip by freezing the herbs, sauces, purées, etc., at home before we leave. Then pack and go. Thank you!

Cheryl Cox (@guest_225010)
9 months ago

My dog gets pumpkin purée daily. I freeze portions of it in the trays and store in freezer bags.

Jane (@guest_225001)
9 months ago

Hint, you can now buy tomato paste in a tube like toothpaste. Same with guacamole and sour cream! Life is good!

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