Want to know what one of my most useful kitchen tools is? The one that saves me the most money out of everything in my kitchen? No, I don't have one of those nifty food saver machines (though they look pretty cool). it is so much simpler and CHEAPER than that. Ice trays... simple, $1 for 2 at the dollar store, ice trays. I use them to freeze up bone broth, sweet potato and pumpkin purees, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and even fresh herbs (in olive oil). I can't tell you how much time I save in the morning when I can just grab some pre-chopped and frozen fruit, a cube or two of pumpkin puree, a handful of greens and a cup of liquid to make a smoothie in less than a minute. No measuring, no mess, no spoiled food... easy, quick and I save money to boot! Or the evening I come home exhausted and just want a quick burger with some yummy homemade ketchup or a bowl of soup but don't feel like spending 10 minutes making that ketchup or an hour or more making soup... nuke 1-2 cubes of ketchup while the burger is cooking and dinner's done or toss a handful of ready-made stock cubes with some chopped veg in a small pot while I do my evening chores (think laundry... so much laundry... why is there ALWAYS laundry!?!) and I'm done. I'm not a big fan of cooking for one and even less of a fan of cooking for more than 20 minutes on a weeknight... is anyone?
From left to right (what is in my freezer RIGHT NOW): beef bone broth (the chicken bone broth is freezing still), homemade sweet potato puree and homemade ketchup. All of these are simple to freeze, simply ladle them into the trays and freeze them.
If you wanted to store herbs you just chop or mince them, put them in the tray and fill the remaining space with olive oil. How would I use these cubes of oil and fresh herbs you ask? Just toss it in a hot pan and saute away... fast and easy way to start off your stir fry or pan seared Tilapia. Best part? Those fresh herbs you worked so hard to cultivate don't wilt away unused and wasted! I don't have any fresh herbs right now so unfortunately I can't show photos of how to do this... yet. I will try and come back to add photos the next time I do.
I measured my ice tray compartments by taking a cup of water and filling the compartments of tray one by one until the water was gone in order to measure the volume of each cube quickly and efficiently. Now I know exactly how many cubes I need when a recipe calls for something I have frozen away for later use and don't have to guess.