One of the best things in my kitchen is a set of silicone ice cube trays. They make the most perfectly cubic ice cubes I've ever found and the pliable silicone means you can pop cubes out of the mold really easily. Beyond regular old ice cubes, I've used them recently to preserve fresh items from my fridge that were at risk of spoiling before I used them. Since I love a good squeeze of lemon or lime in summer cocktails, I froze a bunch of fresh lemon and lime juice.
I basically squeezed the hell out of a bunch of limes and lemons (I kept the juice separate) and then poured into the clean tray. I only filled the cubes about halfway up.
I've done this previously to save fresh zest, too. You can either cover the zest with water or a bit of the fresh juice. You can also cut a solid slice of rind to freeze in the cube - it looks really pretty in a cocktail!
I read about the second way to use these trays in the May issue of Real Simple.
Genius, right? Shortly after reading that tip, I had a bunch of chives and fresh thyme in my fridge with no plans to use them. I washed them both, chopped up all the chives, and portioned them out in the cube tray. I covered them with oil - again, not filling all the way - and stuck them into the freezer. Once solid, I popped them out into Ziploc bags and just store them for when I'm ready to cook!
I whipped up a three-ingredient shrimp stir fry using one of the chive cubes. I started off melting it in a pan.
I added in sliced radishes and snow peas - you can see that the chive pieces have spread around the pan on to the vegetables.
Then I tossed in some fresh, cleaned shrimp and added some salt and pepper.
Served with a scoop of quinoa, this was a super speedy weeknight dinner. Just like frozen vegetables are as close to fresh as you can get, popping an herb cube into the mix was a fast way to get that fresh flavor. It took a few minutes of prep but I've been enjoying these cubes for far longer than fresh herbs would have lasted in the fridge.
Next up is freezing coffee into cubes for iced coffee!