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New way to reuse styrofoam egg cartons!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
This morning, DD1 and I were talking about all the fresh fruit we have in the house that's just a bit past its prime, and she suggested making ices out of them. I was thinking we could freeze them in ice cube trays then blend again with water or fresh fruit to make an "ice cream" like texture. But the thing is that we only have 2 ice cube trays and we need them for making ice.

As we were having this conversation, I noticed the empty styrofoam egg cartons sitting on top of the fridge, that I didn't know where to recycle and saved in case I could find a use for them. I realized the egg cartons were shaped kind of like ice cube trays, and it's even covered!

So we filled up one egg carton (from 18 eggs) with pureed honeydew, and another one with pureed pineapple. A few hours later we discovered that the frozen fruit pops out very easily because the carton is a flexible material.

We also discovered that honeydew makes wonderful ice pops that are just as good as commercial pops made with sugar. The pineapple is OK when it's fully frozen but thaws to a weird texture. We'll probably use up the pineapple in smoothies rather than eating it plain. We also have some of the honeydew frozen in actual ice pop molds (but we only have about 4 of those and we didn't want to waste the melon) and some in gladware containers, to be eaten with a spoon.
post #2 of 26
Sorry to rain on your parade, but I am not sure that anything frozen in styrofoam egg cartons that you will then eat raw (as in ice-cream) is a good idea. I really do like my eggs to be cooked for safety and then you never know how clean the chicken was who laid the egg (Salmonella, anyone?). It's just that if E-coli can be in a vegetable or fruit (and not just on it), Salmonella might be on the egg-shell and therefore on the carton???
post #3 of 26
Just wash them!
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by margob73 View Post
Just wash them!
Um, yeah, of course I washed them first! I just didn't bother to mention that on my original post because I didn't think it was necessary.

I'm not afraid of germs in general and I enjoy my eggs with runny yolks.
post #5 of 26
What a great idea. My kids get WIC so we have a ton of egg cartons around the kitchen.
post #6 of 26
Styrene migration from styrofoam cups & containers
The migration of styrene from a polystyrene cup containing cold or hot beverages has been observed to be as high as 0.025% for a single use. That may seem like a rather low number, until you work it this way: If you drink water, tea, or coffee from polystyrene cups four times a day for three years, you may have consumed about one Styrofoam cup-worth of styrene along with your beverages. Mmm.... chemically...

Styrene migration has been shown to be partially dependent on the fat content of the food in the polystyrene container -- the higher the fat content, the higher the migration into the food. Entrees, soups, or beverages that are higher in fat (like a bowl of three-cheese chili or a cup of Triple-Cream Frappa-Mocha Java Delight) will suck more of the styrene out of the polystyrene container.

Some compounds found in beverages, like alcohol or the acids in "tea with lemon," can also raise the styrene migration rate. When it comes to more solid food, the meat or cheese you buy from the market on a clear-plastic-wrapped polystyrene tray is readily picking up styrene from the foam container. Studies have also found that styrene tends to migrate more quickly when foods or drinks are hot.

Health effects of styrene
Once styrene gets into your food or drink -- and then into you -- what does it do? Studies suggest that styrene mimics estrogen in the body and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities, and other hormone-related problems, as well as breast cancer and prostate cancer. The estrogenicity of styrene is thought to be comparable to that of Bisphenol A, another potent estrogen mimic from the world of plastics.


Full article here: http://www.collegecentral.com/Articl...ArticleID=3007

Please do not use egg cartons or meat trays for further use in the kitchen, it's just not safe...
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Ok, so if styrene transfers into hot, fatty foods, it sounds like freezing pureed fruits (which are practically fat free) is a relatively safe way to use it.

I'm not using styofoam cups for hot liquids 4 times a day for years on end.

Is this any less safe than using plastic or aluminum to freeze stuff? Stanless steel ice cube trays aren't in the budget right now.
post #8 of 26
It's not just fatty food items, also acidic food (like the ice tea with lemon).

I just think these are two strikes against using styrofoam egg cartons like this (salmonella, which don't tell me that'll go away with washing, I just don't believe that styrofoam egg cartons are that washable, and that leaching of plastic into your food), I would not wait for a third strike to put it off my to-do list.

I just don't think this is a good idea and I would not want people to imitate it. Sorry to rain on your parade (but DH works in restaurants and maybe I am just a food safety freak).

Yes, I think that Rubbermaid and Tupperware are slightly better, or why don't you splurge (once) on those individual serve apple sauces (package of six):

a) they already contained an acidic food (and hopefully somebody made sure that's okay)

b) way easier to clean than egg-carton
post #9 of 26
I'm not a fan of styrofoam at all.

Do you save small glass containers? I save every glass container as I always think I'll find a use for them later- utilizing that second R

You could freeze the fruit in small round glass jars- think small jelly jars or baby food jars.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jojo F. View Post
I'm not a fan of styrofoam at all.

Do you save small glass containers? I save every glass container as I always think I'll find a use for them later- utilizing that second R

You could freeze the fruit in small round glass jars- think small jelly jars or baby food jars.
We don't use baby food at all, and we go through jelly pretty slowly. We don't use teeny tiny jelly jars anyway as the jelly is too expensive that way.

Basically, I thought of using the egg cartons when we had a huge melon about to go bad and literally $0 available to buy any new freezer containers.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
We don't use baby food at all, and we go through jelly pretty slowly. We don't use teeny tiny jelly jars anyway as the jelly is too expensive that way.

Basically, I thought of using the egg cartons when we had a huge melon about to go bad and literally $0 available to buy any new freezer containers.
No baby food here either but it just kind of gave an idea for the size you were looking for.

Would you be against using a larger glass jar to freeze the fruit?
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
But how could I get frozen fruit out of a glass jar if the opening is even slightly narrower than the jar itself? Most glass jars are like that. I don't mind freezing broth in glass, because I'm going to thaw it out before use. But the fruit we WANT to consume frozen, or to put into the blender while it's still frozen- so if we can't get the frozen pieces out easily while they're still frozen, it's a waste of food.

If I had a set of shot glasses, that might work, but I can't go shopping right now.
post #13 of 26
Hmmm, I've got some four ounce canning jars that I've used for paint (non-toxic) at school. Those would be a great size for me.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
We don't use baby food at all, and we go through jelly pretty slowly. We don't use teeny tiny jelly jars anyway as the jelly is too expensive that way.

Basically, I thought of using the egg cartons when we had a huge melon about to go bad and literally $0 available to buy any new freezer containers.
I have a couple of ideas:

1. We only have 3 ice cube trays but we regularly empty out the ice into a different storage container to fill up the cubes with juice that's about to go bad or whatever. Then we empty the juice cubes into a different container and refill with ice.

2. If you have a melon baller, you can make melon balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet then transfer into a storage container. I did this last year when we grew watermelons. They actually make great ice for water - just a tiny bit of flavor or you can use them in smoothies or whatever.

HTH!
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmom View Post
I have a couple of ideas:

1. We only have 3 ice cube trays but we regularly empty out the ice into a different storage container to fill up the cubes with juice that's about to go bad or whatever. Then we empty the juice cubes into a different container and refill with ice.

2. If you have a melon baller, you can make melon balls and freeze them on a cookie sheet then transfer into a storage container. I did this last year when we grew watermelons. They actually make great ice for water - just a tiny bit of flavor or you can use them in smoothies or whatever.

HTH!
I love the melon baller idea!!!
post #16 of 26
Aww, man, are there any good ideas for the egg cartons then? I'm on WIC too, and while I feel bad for using all these cartons, it really does help me out financially right now. I've heard of saving them for building blocks for baby later, and I've also heard of putting them up on freecycle or something similar if you live in a rural community.

I'm starting to ask myself if my use of WIC is worth it financially versus trying to do my best for the environment. But that's a whole other thread.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyhats View Post
Aww, man, are there any good ideas for the egg cartons then? I'm on WIC too, and while I feel bad for using all these cartons, it really does help me out financially right now. I've heard of saving them for building blocks for baby later, and I've also heard of putting them up on freecycle or something similar if you live in a rural community.

I'm starting to ask myself if my use of WIC is worth it financially versus trying to do my best for the environment. But that's a whole other thread.
Well, they can certainly be used to safely store non-food items, such as organizing sewing notions or different kinds of nails and screws. Or to make ice cubes that won't be used for food- asy to fill up a freezer so it's more fuel efficient or to use in ice packs for boo-boos.

I just don't know if any of those uses will require quite as many egg cartons that you probably aquire with WIC. I have yet to find a good use for the paper egg cartons I get from Trader Joe's, other than to keep extras on top of the fridge so that I can transfer eggs from styrofoam to cardboard when I buy them at stores that sell them in styrofoam, since the paper cartons fit better in my fridge.

I wouldn't hesitate to use egg cartons as ice cube trays in a pinch, when I'm truly out of options and want to avoid wasting food, but once I get a little extra cash I plan to get some better quality, safer popsicle molds and/or extra ice cube trays.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by happyhats View Post
Aww, man, are there any good ideas for the egg cartons then?
I use the foam ones to hold small portions of paint for the kids' artwork. They like to mix their own colors and this way I don't end up with 10 shades of brown in the big bottles. Plus it keeps it from drying out for a few days.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormborn View Post
I use the foam ones to hold small portions of paint for the kids' artwork. They like to mix their own colors and this way I don't end up with 10 shades of brown in the big bottles. Plus it keeps it from drying out for a few days.
We use ours for painting, too.
post #20 of 26
Well, why can't you just line the darned things, then? I wash and re-use what little cling-wrap I use anyway.

I had no idea styrofoam was that bad, either. But now I want to puree some melon Someone tell me there is no serious hazard in frozen food against cling-wrap? That's a fairly safe alternative, right?

OT- I'm extremely lucky that my recycle guy will take styrofam egg cartons, because I can't get WIC approved eggs in cardboard. We were just talking about it-because i wanted paper ones to start seeds with.
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