When Annie first started her adventures in juicing, she was excited by the prospect of all the different, healthy combos she could try. But then she realized, as many juice enthusiasts do, that throwing together a six-veggie juice on short notice—say, when you’ve only got five minutes before you have to head out the door to work—isn’t always practical. And making large quantities ahead of time isn’t an option, since fresh vegetable juices stay nutritionally potent only for about a day. The answer? Get yourself some cute new ice cube trays, and hit the deep freeze.
We’ve taken to freezing all manner of summer and fall bounty and convenience foods, from fresh fruit to pestos, and it saves us tons of time on making dinner and snacks, especially when we’ve got a houseful of guests on the way. Any type of ice cube tray will work, but we prefer silicone, which are more flexible, making it easier to remove the frozen cubes without breaking. (They also come in a wider variety of fun shapes—perfect for juices, teas, and cocktails.) We pop the frozen cubes into zipper-top baggies for more efficient storage; then, whenever we get a hankering for an herb or veggie snack, we pluck out exactly as much as we need and let it defrost.
Here’s a look at just a few of our favorite freezables. Post yours in the comments!
- Basil or chive pesto—prepare as usual, but skip the Parmesan; add in the cheese after thawing.
- Mushroom duxelles—this earthy mixture is a great base for sauces. Prepare as usual, mincing the ingredients as small as possible, and freeze away.
- Herb butter—it doesn’t get much easier than adding a handful or two of fresh herbs and a pinch of salt to your favorite room-temperature butter, and mixing it up. Spoon into cube trays for an unexpected treat.
- Lime or lemon juice—squeeze, add in a bit of the zest, and freeze. Great for cocktails, salsas, and sauces!
- Beet juice—we love this stuff in our daily smoothies, but it’s a mess to make. Dirty up your kitchen just once by making a big batch, and popping out a cube or two at a time, as needed.
- Coffee cubes—don’t toss the leftovers in the bottom of the pot; add a bit of water and freeze into cubes for when the iced-coffee craving strikes. Bonus: these cubes won’t dilute your coffee.
- Wine cubes—wine is notoriously hard to keep around for long, so pour those leftovers into trays and freeze for whenever you need a splash of wine in a recipe.
- Alcohol infusions—chop up that overabundance of mint, lemon balm, or lavender, or your favorite berries and diced stone fruits (peaches and nectarines are perfect for this), and mix into vodka or rum. Pop a few into cocktails for extra flavor and pizzazz.
Don’t forget the cheery accessories! Our go-to source for cute ice cube trays is Home Goods, and you can snap up these table linens from Pine Cone Hill:
- Mingled placemats
- Pleated Linen placemat
- Candy Stripe placemats
- Granada Stripe napkin
- Rainbow Dot napkins
- Rainbow Stripe napkins
- Resist Strip Indigo napkins
- Chevron Denim napkins
- Infinity Navy tea towels