Cubed Food: A Great Food Storage Option

Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

Nourish, Pantry Staples | April 10, 2016 | By

Welcome to my world of cubed foods, which I hope you will quickly agree are a great food storage option.  You know I steer away from processed and prepackaged foods…just really like to stay as close to the earth as possible with what I put in my and my family’s’ bodies. Additionally, we avoid all the sodium that so many processed and prepackaged foods contain. To that end, I make and can my own chicken and vegetable stock and my own soups. We grow what we can in our garden and purchase food in its natural state as much as possible.  I am definitely a ‘make it from scratch’ gal, even when it comes to traditional sauces and spices and baking staples.

The challenge with making your own food is that because it doesn’t contain all the sodium and preservatives, it is usually not as shelf stable as foods with those ingredients. To deal with that, I usual keep those foods in my freezer.  Which is fine, but when I just needed a teaspoon or tablespoon of something, it typically meant defrosting a jar, getting what I needed and then re-freezing the remainder.  That was my modus operandii until I thought…food cubes!!!  My first foray into food cubes had me using some ice cube trays that I picked up at Wal Mart…bad idea.  The trays were very inflexible and cracked after a couple of uses.  Then I went to my online mecca (aka Amazon.com) and found these fantastic silicon ice trays, which ended up being a game changer and I went on a cubed food frenzy! They are BPA free and very flexible, which makes it easy to pop the cubes out while they are still frozen. Plus, the aesthetic in me really likes the perfect little squares. Just an FYI, when I tried freezing a batch of hoisin sauce (which doesn’t freeze because of the sodium in the soy sauce), my trays kept a strong garlic smell to them.  I now have  2 sets of trays, one for heavily flavored cubes and one for more mild cubes.

Right now in my freezer I have cubed kale, cubed basil, cubed chicken bouillon, cubed vegetable bouillon, cubed masala curry and ginger/lemon ‘tea’ cubes.   

Cube Your Food: A Great Food Storage Option!

Kale Cubes

The cubed kale is so simple to make and so handy to have on hand for smoothies or soups.  

Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

I puree about 4 cups of kale with 1/3-1/2 a cup of water…that’s all it takes. A good blender makes this task so simple.  I simply ❤ my Vitamix.  I know they are pricey, but we took the plunge several years ago and this blender is a workhouse.  It is used multiple times a week for a variety of things. We have the Vitamix 6300.  To be completely honest, we only use the pre-progammed ‘smoothie’ feature so the other pre-programs are rather lost on us.  You can get a basic, without the pre-programmed settings but with all the other features for a good $100+ less.

Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

It’s a simple process to puree your kale and water and then to pour the mixture into your silicon ice trays.Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.Smoothies are by far the primary use of our kale cubes, but I will throw some into a pot of Vegetable Soup as well.

Basil Cubes

To preserve basil, you want to add some oil to keep it from turning brown.  I find that a food processor works best for this task.  For every cup of basil leaves, add approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil and process lightly.  I use my basil cubes primarily when making marinara and soups in the winter when I don’t have fresh basil in my garden.  As such, I don’t process until it’s a puree, but stop while it’s still rather coarse, but that’s a personal preference. And as much as I tried to get a pretty picture, there is just no way to get frozen  basil and oil to look good…so sorry.Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

Chicken Bouillon Cubes

The chicken bouillon cubes came about because I read the ingredients list of packaged bouillon cubes.  With the number one ingredient being salt, it was a non-starter for our family. However, I did want an option to boost the flavor of some recipes, which bouillon cubes are great for doing. While I give you my ‘recipe’, it really is no more than reducing your stock down and adding some aromatics.  Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

1 quart of chicken broth/stock

1/4 onion

2 bay leaves

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp thyme and marjoram

Blend these ingredients in your blender until liquid.Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

Slowly simmer this down, making sure you keep a watch over it, until it reduces to about 1 cup, which will yield you approximately 16- 1 tablespoon bouillon cubes, or 8  2-tablespoon cubes which is what I did.Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

 

Vegetable Stock Paste Cubes

The vegetable cubes were inspired by Lynn at  Heavenlynn Healthy and her Homemade Vegetable Stock Paste post.  This is my kind of food (as are most of Lynn’s recipes).  I took her inspiration but was able to eliminate the salt by freezing the paste into my cubes!  A win win!  These cubes are easily incorporated into soups and stews, but can also add some additional flavor to sauces, as well as the cooking liquid for grains.Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

I hesitate to use the word  ‘recipe’ as I think you can use just about whatever veggies you want, or have on hand, to make vegetable cubes.  But, here’s what I used:

5 oz each of fennel, parsnip, celery root and carrots (scrubbed and peeled as needed)

1 oz sundried tomato

3 oz shallots

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 oz dried mushrooms

I chopped these ingredients in my food processor until they were a coarse paste and then froze them in my trays.

Masala Curry Cubes

The masala curry cubes are the result of making some masala curry paste for a meal, but then having more than I needed.  I used this recipe from Indian Simmer and when it came to freeze the excess, opted to freeze them in cubes as opposed to the whole jar.Food storage is made simple when you freeze your broth, pastes, & sauces in cubes.

Some other foods I have, or would, cube:

  • Tomato paste…when you open a can and only need a tablespoon!  Put the rest in your trays in 1 tablespoon increments
  • Lime/Lemon Juice
  • Chipotles in Adobo ..I always have a jar in my freezer, but I’m going to cube it the next time I defrost it.

So, in a nutshell…’Cube Your Food!’  It’s a great, efficient and effective, way to store food essentials. What are some other foods you would cube?  Drop me a line, I’d love to hear.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Make a batch of frozen ginger lemon tea cubes and its easy to make a cup of healthy ginger lemon 'tea' every morning.

Ginger Lemon ‘Tea’ Cubes

As always, I am so thankful that you decided to spend a few minutes of your precious time with me today. I appreciate your company and your comments more than you can know. If you want to make sure you don’t miss future content, pop your email in the beige box up on the right.  I usually send out 2-3 emails a week, so I won’t inundate your inbox. 

Right now, subscribers to Nourish and Nestle will receive a free, downloadable Measuring Equivalents Chart overlaid on a watercolor lemon.  You can see it here. Sign up to our email list (on my right sidebar) and we’ll send it to your inbox within 24 hours!  If you are already a subscriber and would like a lemon measuring equivalents chart, send us an email with ‘lemon chart’ in the subject line and we’ll send you one too!

Hugs,

Lynn2


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Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Katrin
    April 11, 2016

    Hm, I’m really loving the idea of cubed sauces and stocks and purees, Lynn! I usually don’t make enough to freeze it, I also don’t have a large freezer, but as cubes it would still fit in! I hear ya, we are trying to live as paleo as possible and feezing your home made goodies is keeping it easy to access as well! Loving your photos, they look beautiful!

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 11, 2016

      Hi Katrin…cube is way to go! I’m telling you! They make it so easy to add flavor to your foods or easy access to sauces. And thanks for your kind comments on the photos. I’m having fun learning more and more about my camera and all it can do!
      Thanks for swinging by today and leaving your kind words.
      Wishing you a lovely Tuesday.
      Hugs, Lynn

    • Leave a Reply

      Barb
      June 16, 2017

      I’ve been doing little cubes of my homemade stock for years, but this inspired me. I like to infuse my water with cucumber, fruits, herbs. I’ve been making up mixtures and freezing them, so much faster to make a big batch and add a few to my glass each time. Thanks for the great idea.

      • Leave a Reply

        lynn
        June 18, 2017

        Hey Barb…we clearly share a brain. What are some of your favorite combinations? Would love to add to my repertoire.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Gail
    April 11, 2016

    Thanks for the recipes and cube tray source. I have made fruit cubes for smoothies and make my own stocks but never thought of bouillon cubes. Really enjoy your blog.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 11, 2016

      Hi Gail! I am so glad to have thrown some ideas your way…that’s what I hope to do each time I make a post. I really appreciate you stopping by an spending a few minutes of your time with me!
      Wishing you a lovely Tuesday!

      Hugs, Lynn

  3. Leave a Reply

    Shanna Rogers
    April 11, 2016

    I think this would be a great way to produce a lot of food and easily store it! 🙂 Great stuff here.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 11, 2016

      Thanks Shanna! Without a doubt, cubing your food does make storage and access so easy! So glad that I may have offered some ideas to you!
      Wishing you a lovely Tuesday.

      Hugs, Lynn

  4. Leave a Reply

    Linda at Mixed Kreations
    April 11, 2016

    What a great idea Lynn! I have never thought of freezing cubes like this. This is the first year in quite a while that I have had a place big enough to plant quite a few plants. I use to can a lot, and hoping to get back into it. I will have to remember the cubes and try out some of these recipes. I have a dehydrator, and I dry my kale so it doesn’t ruin now I can try the cubes as well. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 11, 2016

      Hi Linda, so glad you’ll be having a garden to grow your own food! Cubing it for future use is so easy and makes it so easy to use in sauces, soups, etc… And I haven’t thought to dehydrate the kale! Hmmm…does it turn to a powder? I may have to give that a try. Thanks for the idea and for stopping by today.

      Hugs, Lynn

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 13, 2016

      I’ll have to give that a try. I have a dehydrator. thanks Linda

  5. Leave a Reply

    Brianna
    April 13, 2016

    This seems like such a nobrainer I almost face palmed. I used to have bags of cubes when I made my own baby food. It just never occurred to me to make adult add ons like this! I will have to dig my trays out of the cupboards now!

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 13, 2016

      Hey Brianna…I’m kinda with you on the face palm…why have been having all this frozen solid jars in my fridge that I had to defrost at each use, just to refreeze? Anyway, these cubes have proven to be a great kitchen idea and hope that you find them useful as well.
      Thanks for swinging by to visit today.
      Hugs, Lynn

  6. Leave a Reply

    Ann
    April 13, 2016

    So many great cubed recipes. When I first saw it I thought it looked a little futuristic. Like the jetsons putting a pill in the microwave and getting a meal. But what a great idea to add a punch of health to a meal.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 13, 2016

      Hi Ann…these cubes make storing and using certain foods so much easier and now I’m always on the lookout for new foods to cube!
      Thanks for swinging by today.
      Hugs, Lynn

  7. Leave a Reply

    Mary-the boondocks blog
    April 14, 2016

    Very smart idea Lynn! It makes so much sense to do this and store it in the freezer for later use. My freezer is usually full of fish…lol. My husband is a fishing fanatic. So I’d probably not have room or not be able to find the cubes, even the ice cubes have to fight for freezer space in the summertime. But this is definitely preferable to using canned or other processed foods.

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 14, 2016

      OK Mary…dare I say…Fish Cubes?! Not sure I’d really endorse that truthfully. Well, tell hubby to make room for some vegetable cubes!
      Thanks for coming by today.
      Hugs,Lynn

  8. Leave a Reply

    Ilka
    April 17, 2016

    Lynn- I love cubed foods- I haven’t done it since my kids were babies. I used to freeze their homemade baby food in cubes – worked great! I think I need to add into my cooking again after reading this post. It really is such a great idea for so many different foods. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 18, 2016

      Hi Ilka, like you I made all sorts of baby food that I then froze. And then, like you, I forgot all about the cube food thing once they outgrew baby food. But it makes so much sense so…see…everything comes full circle!
      Have a great day.
      Hugs, Lynn

  9. Leave a Reply

    Keri
    April 18, 2016

    Lynn, your cubed food storage is such a great solution for freezing tiny amounts of food. Thanks for all your recipes!! Thanks for sharing at Sweet Inspiration! Have a great week!!

    • Leave a Reply

      lynn
      April 18, 2016

      Hi Keri, thanks for coming by and leaving your kind comments. I do love my food cubes! They do work perfectly for me…hope they do for you too.
      See you next week at Sweet Inspiration.
      Hugs, Lynn

  10. Leave a Reply

    Nikki
    April 18, 2016

    Lynn, as you know we try to eat as clean as possible also. So this post is perfect. I am definitely pinning it to come back to time and time again. I had bought the frozen pesto in cubes from Walmart, they are frozen with no chemicals or additives, and I saved the tray so that I can do my own basil this summer. Now I have your recipe. This is perfect, I am so excited. Thanks for sharing.

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