Inventive ice trays are summer saviors

Nester's Needs

Nester's Needs looks for innovative kitchen and home gadgets that are worth buying.

Having grown up in a fairly new home in a fairly new neighborhood with fairly new appliances, the concept of freezers without ice-makers was a foreign one. Call me spoiled, but it wasn't until my first experience living on my own, in an apartment that was far from new, that I found out about the marvel of ice trays.

Although I no longer live in that dingy pad, and now have an ice-maker all my own, I still have a distinct place in my heart for ice trays, the savior of summer drinks.

After checking out a few of the cool (pardon the pun) trays I've found, you will surely love them, too.

While you may not tout an ice-laden ring on your finger, you can have one in your cup thanks to the Jewel Ice Cube Tray. The flexible, diamond-shaped molds can be used for freezing water or juice, and the jewel-like cubes they produce are a sparkling addition to drinks. For the kiddies, these cubes would be the gleaming touch on a princess tea party. The trays retail for $4.95 for a six-pack set, and they're sold at area home stores and online at Amazon. com.

One of the biggest ice hassles is filling and freezing the tray without spilling a drop. Inevitably, a few non-frozen cubes will end up on the floor before the tray makes it to the freezer. The Container Store has stepped in with the Our Ice Cube Tray. The tray's slide lid ensures water is dispersed evenly and survives the transition from sink to freezer. The translucent lid lets you see how many cubes remain in the tray and the curved design helps avoid over-filling and spilling. Each tray makes 14 rounded cubes, and multiple trays will stack easily to maximize the vertical space in the freezer. The ice cube tray is safe in the top rack of the dishwasher, for easy cleaning. Retailing for $3.99, the tray is sold at The Container Store.

Add a splash of flavor and color to any drink with the Ice and Slice Ice Cube Tray from Progressive. The tray freezes orange, lime or lemon slices inside cubes of ice. Each citrus slice sits in its own well and the ice cube forms around it. Each tray holds 10 slices and packs are sold in sets of two. Retailing for $7.95, the trays are sold at specialty home stores and online at Amazon.com.

On hot summer days, any and all outdoor activities require bringing along at least one water bottle. Since ice is typically cubed, chunky and not water-bottle friendly, how do you keep your H2O cool? With Icy Bottle Sticks Trays, of course. The trays create long, narrow frozen water sticks that fit inside almost any water bottle or beverage. Sold in sets of three trays, each with 10 stick wells, the trays are stackable and dishwasher-safe. Retailing for $3.99, they are sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Anna Ferguson is a Lifestyle writer for the Daily Post. E-mail her at anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.