Stainless Steel Ice Cube Trays: Old Idea Is New Again

Stainless ice cube tray

I’m not sure if it’s my age that’s showing, but here’s an old idea that is new again:

Stainless Steel Ice Cube trays

This is the ice cube tray I grew up with, and here it is again. Now this is being re-marketed as a plastic-free tray for freezing baby food. And why not! The more parents learn about plastics and plastic softeners, the more they look for products that are PVC (polyvinyl chloride)-free, BPA (bisphenol-A)-free, and phthalate-free. Maybe I shouldn’t even mention that this is my old-fashioned ice cube tray.

But, I did. So, there you go.

When I showed this tray to my husband (who grew up without ice in drinks), he asked, “Is it flexible? How do you get the ice cubes out?” When you lift the cool lever on the top, which shifts the baffles between the cubes, the ice cubes just pop out. It creates the same kind of torsion (twisting pressure) that you get twisting a plastic tray opposite ways on each end.

Parenting by Nature has just started stocking stainless steel ice cube trays, a rather odd product for a baby store, but it was planning for the winter and preparing food for kids that made us realize it was actually a good fit. We wanted a plastic-free baby food tray, and my old-fashioned ice cube tray fits the bill. It makes a great companion to ultra cool (and decidedly new) stainless steel straws.

When you are making homemade baby food purees for babies, you know you can’t get through a whole apple or a whole squash before your baby is just tired of it. What I’ve always done for my children is just freeze the extra then put the cubes in a container in the freezer, ready to come out in small amounts when you need variety. As you harvest from your garden or pick up the last best vegetables from the farmers’ market, pureeing and freezing is a great way to save the baby food for use through the winter. Snow hits and garden is gone, but you have healthy baby food ready.

Beyond baby food, you can use frozen purees to feed more vegetables to toddlers and older children. Freeze spinach, zucchini, pumpkin, and other squash then add frozen vegetable cubes to spaghetti sauce, soup, stew, and chili. No one will even notice, except to tell you how great the sauce tastes. Frozen cubes is also how I save this year’s harvest for winter smoothies.

Looking at this tray just makes me laugh. I wish I could show my mother and watch her laugh about it, too. How cool that I can bring my children a healthy gift from the mid-20th century. I love my plastic-free ice cube tray.

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