Ah, the freezer. A mysterious arctic land inhabited by piled popsicles, a startling amount of frozen mushroom packets, all opened and half full (what was I going to use them for, again?), fish fingers, broccoli and the occasional pizza. All strangers in a strange land, all of whose existences are of a transient nature and destined to have much warmer conclusions.
But what's that – jammed in the corner, under the porcini mushrooms? Why, it's the ice cube tray! The only really permanent inhabitant of the freezer, most likely. A bit of a relic, too – mass-consumption of homemade ice cubes is really more a thing of the past, when humans regularly drank soft drinks instead of coconut water. And yet he is still around. What weird and wonderful adventures await him in the 2010s?
The suggestions below are more or less useful depending on which products you make regular use of. Since you probably don't have dozens of ice cube trays on hand, you can always transfer the cubes to appropriate freezer bags once they are frozen. Freezing food is also a great way to buy products when they are on sale and store them for longer.
You can easily create single portions of frozen herb and spice additions for your meals using oil or water. If you're into making your own broth or stock, then you can keep some cubes in your freezer as extra flavouring. Then, simply add and melt into your dish while you're cooking.
2. Perfectly Sized Cookie Dough Pops
Freezing cookie dough is an excellent way to have a last-minute dessert/snack option. Simply place the desired amount for a single cookie into each little compartment, ready to be transferred onto your baking tray.
Want to add an extra little somethin' to your cookies or cupcakes? Always keep a handy dose of coloured buttercream frosting in the fridge for last-minute decoration.
I have heard talk of freezing "left-over wine" to later "use for cooking". Dismissing such a suggestion as absurd, I say: freeze wine beforehand to add to your homemade sangria or wine wine-based cocktail on a hot summer night!
5. Homemade Baby/Toddler Food
No need to waste any more of your homemade baby or toddler food: simply pour it into the tray and only take out the quantity you need for each single meal.
For all the smoothie lovers out there: you can keep little ready-to-use pops of frozen fruit and vegetable puree for a quick, last-minute fix.
8. Cheese for Pizza and Pasta Bakes
Soft cheeses such as cream cheese and ricotta do not respond well to freezing. On the other hand, semi-hard cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar freeze very well, so you can stop worrying about rapidly approaching use-by dates and keep a ready stash of cheese to throw onto your homemade pizzas and pasta bakes.
9. Pesto and Tomato Sauce
Whether they are homemade or store bought, it's so easy to end up with left-over pesto or tomato sauce.Why not store them away in single-portion cubes for future use?
10. Juice, Berries and Flowers for Drinks
For a more tasteful chill to add to your summer beverages, freeze your juice. Add frozen grapefruit juice to your lemonade, frozen lemon juice to your ice tea, frozen pineapple juice to your Malibu. The combinations are endless! To add a little extra punch, freeze mint or ginger to add to your drinks. For a fancy garnish, try freezing whole berries or edible flowers in water.