New ways to use an ice-cube tray

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We’re always buying colourful ice cube trays in interesting shapes, waiting for the perfect evening to make cocktails (that time never comes). Instead we use them to make the most of plentiful fresh herbs, to store extra stock or to make fruit cubes to refresh a summer smoothie.

Herb ice cubes: Spoon finely chopped fresh soft or hard herbs into an ice cube tray, filling them halfway, top up with cold water and freeze. When they are frozen, place the individual ice cubes in freezer bags. You can make individual herb cubes or a mix of things that go together (sage and thyme, rosemary and lemon zest). Drop a ‘herb cube’ into soups, stews and stocks. You can also replace the water with cold stock or white wine. You can also make olive oil herb cubes, replacing the water with olive oil. Use them at the start of cooking when you are frying onions.

– Iced fruit cubes: Spoon mashed fresh fruit into an ice cube tray – use blueberries, strawberries or any fruit that freezes well – top up each ice cube slot with cold water, freeze, then bag the ice cubes and label them. Return to the freezer until you need them. Drop a few cubes into your smoothie to add a fruit blast and to chill it at the same time.

– Stock cube tip: When you are making up a stock cube, you often find that you don’t need the whole cube. Instead of throwing away the remainder, make the whole stock cube according to the packet instructions using the recommended amount of liquid, use whatever amount of stock you need in your dish, and freeze the rest in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, remove the cubes and pack and label in a freezer bag ready to drop into soups and stews when you need stock.

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