and  Red and pink layered ice cubes (photo courtesy Ocean Spray).  Add some pomegranate ice cubes (here’s how from Kelly Elko). Flower ice cubes: small flowers make a big impression (here’s how from Martha Stewart).  More ways to use an ice cube tray: save pesto (photo courtesy P&G Every Day) or  lemon juice (photo courtesy Food Network).
These days, many people enjoy refrigerator-freezers with built-in ice makers.
But here’s a reason to hold on to those old-fashioned ice cube trays. In addition to party ice cubes, you can also use them to make granita—and much more, as you’ll see on the list below.
Because we’re days away from Valentine celebrations, how about some special ice? You can’t get these from a mechanical ice-cube maker!
RECIPE: LAYERED VALENTINE ICE CUBES
Ingredients Per Ice Cube Tray
1 ice cube tray
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed (substitute frozen blueberries)
1/3 cup Ocean Spray Blueberry Juice Cocktail
1/2 cup Ocean Spray White Cranberry Juice Drink
1/2 cup Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
1. PLACE 4 blueberries in each of 16 ice cube cups. Add about 1 teaspoon blueberry flavored juice. Freeze at least 1 hour or until solid.
2. ADD 1/2 tablespoon white cranberry drink to each cup, atop the frozen blueberry layer. Freeze 1 hour of until solid.
3. TOP with 1/2 tablespoon cranberry beverage. Freeze at least 1 hour or until solid.
OTHER VALENTINE ICE CUBES
Don’t have time or desire to layer ice cubes? These are much easier:
Aril ice cubes (photo #3): just water, pomegranate arils and a heart-shaped ice cube tray.
Berry ice cubes (photo #4): make them with water or pomegranate juice, in regular or heart-shaped trays.
Flower ice cubes (photo #5): Add small flowers to water. If you’re using them in drinks, be sure the flowers are organic (otherwise they have pesticides).
Plain red or pink hearts: Add red fruit juice or pink lemonade to heart or conventional ice cube trays.
MORE USES FOR ICE CUBE TRAYS
Certain foods are easier to pop out if you have silicone ice cube trays; others work better with a lever pull in an old-fashioned metal tray.
Once whatever you’re making is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for storage. Here are some ideas to try.
Chill beverages without diluting them. Make ice cubes with leftover coffee, tea, coconut milk, juice, etc. (freeze tomato juice for Bloody Mary’s).
Similarly, smoothies! Freeze fruits and vegetables to pop into the blender.
Make pretty ice cubes. Add berries, fruits, citrus peel, etc.
Deconstruct cocktails. For example, for a Piña Colada, try adding frozen pineapple juice and coconut cream cubes to a glass of rum.
Make dessert bites. An ice cube tray is great for making miniature desserts, from fancy (chocolate-covered cherries) to casual (mini Rice Krispies Treats).
On-a-stick. From frozen cheesecake to juice pops and yogurt pops, you can make something different on a stick every week.
Make your own Chunkys & PB cups: Melt your chocolate of choice, blend in nuts, seeds, raisins or other dried fruits; and set in the fridge. For peanut butter cups, layer melted chocolate and peanut butter and refrigerate until set.
Make chocolate squares. Fill the compartments partially, so you end up with bite-size chocolate tiles. Add whatever you like to flavor: spices, coconut, etc.
Desserts & Snacks
For the first two: Once your cubes are frozen, pop them from the tray into a resealable freezer bag. For precise measures, determine in advance what the tray compartments hold.
Freeze extras and leftovers: From lemon juice and stock/broth to wine and bacon fat, you’ll have the perfect size to pop [frozen] into soups, stews and sauces.
Freeze herbs. Hard herbs like oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary defrost better than soft herbs like dill and basil. Pack the ice cube trays with 3/4 herbs and 1/4 olive oil. Toss a cube directly into the pan to season eggs, sauces, etc.
Freeze garlic and ginger. First, purée them before adding them to the compartments. This also works with pesto (as is—no additional work required).
Freeze buttermilk. Buttermilk is pricey, and a recipe often requires just a quarter or half a cup. Freeze the leftover buttermilk; you’ll need it again soon.
Make sushi. It’s hard for amateurs to hand-form nigiri rice beds. Fill the compartments with seasoned rice, pop them out and lay the fish or other toppings onto them.
There are household uses, from homemade detergent cubes to starting seedlings. Just look online!