San Francisco Cocktail Week September 21-27, 2010
Top Misspellings on Cocktail Menus

A Homemade Giant, Crystal Clear Ice Cube Tray

As you're probably aware, I've been dabbling in experiments making clear ice at home. [update: An organized index of ice experiments on Alcademics can be found here.] The way I've found that works best is to freeze ice in an Igloo cooler with the top off. (Please read the post before you tell me to boil the water in the comments- it doesn't work.)

This is now how I make all my ice at home- I haven't used trays in months.

Now I am working on ways to best carve ice and also trying to create an ice cube tray that will work in this directional freezing system. I found a method that works that I need to perfect.

Here's what I've done.

Holding ice cube small clear ice cubes
I went down to The Container Store and purchased these plastic gift boxes. They're 2 inches by 2 inches wide (4.5 centimeters) and around 5 inches tall (11.5 cm) with the tops off.

ice cube tray for clear ice
These I put in my Igloo cooler. I've done it with the open top of the container facing up, and also facing down. Facing down works better, actually, because the air in the rectangles gets pushed out the bottom. Facing up, you get a 1cm cloudy patch at the top of the cubes. No big whoop.

Cooler before freezings holding clear ice trays
Then I fill the cooler with water and freeze it. It comes out as a block of ice with the cubes stuck in it.

Frozen in block homemade ice cube tray
These separate surprisingly easily from the block.

Separate containers with clear ice
Also surprisingly easy is how the ice pops out of these plastic containers. I just leave them upside-down for a couple minutes and the ice cubes slice right out.

perfectly clear large ice cubes
As you can see in the above picture, there is a little bit of cloudiness when the trays are left with the open part facing up. I repeated this experiment with the open part facing down and there was less cloudiness. Either way, there isn't much to worry about as it can be cut off when cutting these big long cubes down to 2 inch by 2 inch by 2 inch ones.

Cubes crystal clear ice

Conclusions:

  • These ice cubes are fricking awesome.
  • I need to try it with cutting off the bottom of the containers so that they're a rectangular tube rather than a box. 
  • I think this is actually scalable to make an ice cube tray with some tweaking. 
  • Hooray!

An index of ice experiments on Alcademics can be found here.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Tony Harion

Great!
Have you had any of the gift boxes break when the water/ice expands?

Kelly

Can you detail how you get the cloudy bit off? You say it's no big deal, but I envision my roommate winding up with a knife stuck in his hand.

Camper English

Tony- only the bottom of the cubes have strained and cracked slightly when I had the closed end facing down. There is no reason for me to have a closed end so I'm going to cut it off. There doesn't seem to be any cracking laterally since all the air/pressure is concentrated at the bottom of the ice block, not inside the tubes.

Camper English

For all of this ice, you score a line with a knife then give it a whack with an ice pick and it should break in a relatively clean line.

Doug Winship

I eagerly await cross-marketing efforts between Trader Tiki's Syrups and the Alcademics Clear Ice Equipment Company.

In the mean time, it's off to the Container Store!

Thanks Camper, though I will now have to find space in the freezer....

Doug Winship

Incidentally, why are the exposed tops so irregular? It looks like the surface of a windy lake was flash-frozen.

Camper English

The iregular tops are due to the position of the cooler in the freezer- even in the big cooler the ice is thicker on the side closer to the freezer fan than on the other side. weird.

Drink

Fantastic.

Why the cooler though, Camper? Here at Liberty in Seattle, we generally use the round, japanese ball trays, and of course the ice comes out with lots of bubbles. Do you think that this has more to do with the speed of the freezing or the lack of an ability for the air to fescape since probably it freezes at top before inside?

Anyway. Another option that works is to go to a store that sells plastic trays for people that make jewelery. These stores will have perfect 2"x2" spaces that are 20 to the tray. The tops come out same as yours.

That all said, I sure like the ice balls better for how they fill a glass, but so far - no way to get rid of the air bubbles...

Thanks for the info!


Andrew

Camper English

The cooler with the lid open freezes only from the top down, not from all sides towards the center. Thus the cloudy part of the ice is all on the very bottom of the cooler, and if you don't let it freeze all the way there is no cloudiness at all. It took a few months to figure that out.

http://www.alcademics.com/2009/12/clear-ice-blocks-at-home-in-an-igloo-cooler.html

So if you use any molds that are non-enclosed (like these rectangles with the bottoms cut off) and place them only in the clear portion of the water (the top part of the cooler) all the ice inside them should be clear.

This probably would not work with ice ball molds because they're round. Maybe with a hole on each end they would work. I may try that in a future experiment.

Todd Appel

the problem is that when water freezes in a freezer it freezes from the outside in...that traps oxygen in the form of bubbles inside the ice. the best way is the icicle method, freezing from the inside out...used by quality ice machines.

This looks like a great way to trick the system so those of use with no ice machine can make clear ice at home.

Nice job Camper!...im going to try it

Mr Manhattan

Genius! Congratulations!

Doug Ford

This is brilliant. Gotta try it. Wait 'til my bride finds out I've taken everything out of the freezer...

Louis

Here's a thought: after you cut the bottoms of the rectangle, what if you lay a grate on the bottom of the cooler before putting in the containers and filling it with water? Then (in theory, at least) the cloudy portion will be concentrated below the grate, and all you'll end up with is clear, beautiful ice blocks?

FYI, after reading this post a few days ago, I tried this method with some 2" ice ball molds and Tovolo trays. The ice balls still had a noticeable 'bloom', but much, much smaller than normal, and the rest of the ice was crystal clear. The Tovolo cubes were almost entirely clear. Just a fine layer of bubbles on the bottom, maybe about 1/16th of an inch, tops.

Camper English

Hmm yes that's a possibility, just a permeable platform or something that elevates the rectangles (or whatever)above the bottom of the cooler rather than suspending them from the top. That way would make it easier to use different shapes of containers.

Glad the Tovolo tray worked- awesome.

Flamigno Fred

Cool! I'm a big fan of big lumps of ice in drinks.

Addy

Yay! I'm so proud of you.
I agree with Louis about putting a "permeable" platform on the bottom to encase the cloudy part. WOOT!

ROBinHAWAII

You need the water to boil; but not by heating it. I place silicone cube trays in a vacuum sealed container. Remove the air inside [I use a wine bottle vacuum pump], when the water stops boiling, place in freezer. This removers the dissolved gases from the water which yields clear ice.

Cheers,

Rob

Camper English

Thanks Rob. I'm thinking there are several ways to make clear ice.
1. Directional freezing, as above.
2. Removing air in the water through boiling and sealing.
3. Agitation while freezing as many ice machines do.

Lene Johansen

At my first ever night at a bar, I was set to polish ice cubes to remove the cloudiness. Being the go-getter naive 16-year old that I was at the time, I put great effort into the task. Seems your strategy is better!
:o)

Andrew H.

Hrm, we have the technique Rob replies, with no success (we used a vacuum seal plastic container). The results were virtually indistinguishable from non-vacuum sealed, boiled ice trays.

I postulated that it was impossible to remove 100% of the dissolved oxygen (it seems like the pressure required to do so would be rather extreme).

Rob, can you photodocument your technique?

Louis Anderman

Camper,

I just tested my theory on the 'elevated' ice tray method. I filled a rectangular tupperware container with water, put a couple of ramekins inside, then placed a filled Tovolo tray on top. So, the ramekins were about 1" off the bottom of the container, and about half submerged. Put that into the cooler in my freezer, and about 24 hours later...perfectly clear cubes. Now I'm trying the same method with my ice ball mold.

Camper English

Awesome! I'm having a hard time picturing the set-up though: how the Tovolo tray was in contact with the other water so that the cloudy/air in them could escape.

You sent a picture to me on facebook of your cube. When you next do it would you take a picture of your set-up and I'll share it here? Not sure if you can post pictures in the comments here but worth a shot...

Maddy

This is the most wonderful thing in the world. Ever. I asked people at Cal Tech why I couldn't make restaurant quality ice at home, and they had all these elaborate solutions. I say, if someone can make this quality ice automatic for a consumer freezer -- they will be stupid rich.

rachael

damn!

Tiare62

You`re a freakin`genius Camper! some day, when i have a coolor and plastic containers and space in my freezer i wanna try this out.

NW

C-Note,

I just used this method for Pickled with Carlos last week. I added sprigs of lemon verbena witch both infused the ice slightly and made a pretty remarkable garnish.

I call it a Han Solo.

Andrew H.

I'm also having a hard time picturing this setup... a photograph would be great. Wouldn't the ice cube tray be totally frozen into the water in the larger container?

Camper English

Andrew- Louis sent me a picture. He basically put a tray on a platform with water coming up almost to the top of the tray on the outside. This helped the cubes freeze top-down like the cooler method, with a little cloudy part on the bottom of each cube rather than in the middle.

Andrew H.

Was the ice tray upside down? Perhaps you can post the picture? :)

Camper English

Nope, it was just an ice cube tray right-side-up but sitting in a pool of water. The picture doesn't illuminate it very well.

Doug

Just a thought, and I'm not sure if this has been mentioned/tried. Please bear with me while I try to explain what I am picturing. This is a step by step to get what I imagine as the final set-up. I am sure there's a more efficient way to get there. :)

1. Place a cooling rack (like for baking) in the bottom of the cooler
2. fill cooler with water
3. place a gift box under water right side up so it fills and then turn it over so the opening is on the cookie sheet
4. repeat until you have all your gift boxes alike
5. pump out the water in the cooler until it is just higher than the "top of the cooling rack/bottom of the gift boxes" in the cooler, leaving you with a collection of water "columns" over a water "base" (I have no idea if this makes any sense)
6. Freeze

I am wondering if maybe the cloudy would get pushed out the bottoms of the boxes and into the water "base", leaving clear "columns"?

I imagine removal of the boxes would just require running hot water over the whole thing until the sides of the columns and where the boxes meet the base melted free. Of course, the columns would be attached to the base, I suppose.

Another interesting thing would be to see if after the removal of the water from around the columns if the addition of salt to the "base" would merge with the "Column" water. If not, then the base could be salty "insulated" water, ready to accept the air bubbles, while the columns freeze to their hearts content.

Doug

#correction

In step 3 above "cookie sheet" should read "cooling rack"

Camper English

I get what you mean. I've done this with the boxes both facing up and down, and both work well.

I don't think removing the water around the sides helps, because is there is any air contact with the sides of the boxes (between the boxes and the outside of the cooler) then they'll probably freeze before the top does.

I think an ideal compromise between your idea and what I've done is:
1. boxes that have no bottom- square tubes
2. put on a cooling rack
3. boxes that fit well in the cooler so there isn't much spare space

I would also love to find some kind of boxes made from silicone like Tovolo ice cube trays. These plastic boxes may expand and break- look like they're straining already.

Doug

Thank you for your response. Another thought that crossed my mind for either my idea or your compromise idea is if rather than being only a square tube, what if the bottom had removable "lid" with a smallish hole. I say this because with the open bottom in either scenario it might be difficult to remove the ice cube from the "base". However, with a lid with a smaller opening, hopefully the bubbles could escape through the hole during freezing, the tube portion could be removed from the "lid" as usual after freezing, and perhaps one could snap the ice cube off due to the smaller connection to the "base".

As usual, I hope my description makes sense and at least resembles what I am picturing in my head. And now I will stop trying to second guess your extensive research. :)

Camper English

Though I haven't done this too many times (so many experiments, so little time) so far I haven't had much trouble removing the ice from the tubes. That said, I've never done it by raising them off the bottom, so I haven't had to snap them off the base. Will keep it in mind!

frederick

Is it just me, or is this really a gigantic waste of energy, freezing water in an open cooler? I Is this your personal contribution to global warming?

Camper English

The freezer is still closed so I think it's like having a big ice cube tray. Also, I'm not buying blocks of ice that have to be driven anywhere...

Dan

Anyone that can explain the benefit of this to me? Who cares what your ice looks like?

Camper English

Not much taste difference at all, just a bit slower dilution for the same sized ice, but aesthetically it's much more pleasing, which helps the drink taste better!

Ed

Glad to find another person, nay group, trying to perfect clear ice. I'll look forward trying these ideas and sharing the results. One note is the containers need to be food grade. Not sure if the containers are. good luck!

Matt

I've been trying to get clear icecubes myself for a while but cannot for the life of me get 100% clear cubes. There's always some, usually at the bottom or middle of the cube.

I've filtered the water, boiled it twice, even distilled it (or rather, collected steam from boiled water) and think it has to be either to do with the hardness of the water (very hard) or the way it is freezed (people have said that industrial clear ice is made in freezers where the water doesn't "stand" while freezing).

Can you comment on either of those thoughts? Is it impossible to use pre-bought trays and get clear cubes/shapes?

I am using regular ice cube trays, albeit with different shaped cubes i.e. not cubes.

Camper English

Hi- Yep. Look through the links here:
http://www.alcademics.com/2009/12/clear-ice-blocks-at-home-in-an-igloo-cooler.html

And you'll see that I tried all those ways and they don't seem to make a difference. The two ways that commercial machines use to make clear ice are moving/rotating water so that no air freezes, and directional freezing a la the Igloo cooler. As far as I can tell, the only way to make an ice cube tray in a standard freezer make mostly clear ice would be to insulated the bottom and sides of it (directional freezing), then dump out the cubes before they finish freezing (as the cloudy part is the last part to freeze).

That said, there is always more ice research to be done- I still have a few more ideas to try...

Knut Gedichte

Such a super blog! just found it today looking for ice tips, but all of your writing is super intriguing and helpful and wizened! (not sure if i'm using wizened correctly, just wanted to toss it in there)...

anyhu, thanks a ton! looking fwd to future ice endeavors! keep us all posted! cheerio!

Mog

Haven't tried this, but seems like it would work like a charm. Punch 1/4 " holes in the bottoms of the tovolo tray with a hole punch. Place said tovolo tray in appropriately sized rectangular tupperware bowl so about a half an inch of water will remain at bottom. Then insulate the tupperware container with aerogel or styrofoam board or place in a larger tupperware bowl and use expanding foam to insulate.

Emil

Nice tests you've all been doing.
Have any of you maby tried to rotate the container while in the freezer?
I was wondering about this, and will maby give it a go.

Enjoy all, and thanks for the nice ideas :)

Camper English

For what reason rotate the container- to make the surface more flat? I think there is a tradeoff here - if you jostle the container too much when it's freezing it seems to have more bubbles/cloudy parts (higher up from the bottom) than if you leave it alone. Everything is worth a try, though!

Sebastian

Dear Camper!
I think it is perhaps a stupid question, but can you explain me, how you get the water into the boxes when you do it with the open top of the container facing down?
Best regards from the Beau Bar in Düsseldorf, Germany

Camper English

Hi- I dunk them in water then turn them upside-down. I can't fit a full cooler full of upside-down ones that way though. You might want to try this with no top or bottom of the boxes- just square tubes. I was not able to cut the tops off these boxes without cracking them so I have not tried this but on today's post on Alcademics you can see where Mike did it this way.

Jon Thorp

After reading the plethora of posts and comments on your site, I got to thinking the same thing. After a lot of thinking and a bit of research, I came across makeyourownmolds.com . It's relatively inexpensive and (bonus) food-safe. I would think possibility of making molds like your boxes would be fairly foregone conclusion. Other shapes might prove to be a bit difficult. But maybe a clear ice sphere is in our future...?

Camper English

Thanks for the link Jon. Might be worth a try! The problem with round molds is that water has to be able to pass through them, but perhaps a round mold with a hole at the bottom and the top would work..

brian

i hate to say it but try putting a waterproof
womans play toy in, that little bit of movement might get the air out.there for no
white

sagem1342@yahoo.com

Onyr

I've been experimenting with making clear ice for some time. You are correct, the boiling, or double boiling method does not work well. This site is the best I've seen at solving the problem. I had essentially given up and just used filtered (ZeroWater) water in a large stainless steel pail, then just used the clear portion.

Tonight I'm trying your method, sort of. took a variety of plastic containers and placed them in a clean small ice chest full of water. The containers are upside down or sideways. With one large one, I poked a couple holes in the inverted bottom to allow all the air out. I'm wondering if simply putting holes in the top will work the same as having a 'tube' container with no bottom or top.

Will report in the morning

Onyr

Works perfectly, but freezes slowly Not even half frozen after 2.5 days.

2d try started 10/10 at 1400 with a smaller igloo (9 qt) with two divders. I also punched holes in a sheet of plastic held .25" from the bottom. Will let it freeze about 24 hours or until I can see cloudy ice at the bottom.

Camper English

Thanks for sharing your experiments!

Karyn

You have me obsessed. I saw this video and thought it would be appreciated here. http://vimeo.com/42861174 - they used crystal clear ice and whittled it into an ice ball for a glass of Whisky. It was beautiful! He also talked about freezing it at a lower temp to make it denser, interesting idea. Have you done more ice trials lately?

Camper English

Not too many more ice trials since I figured this out. But it seems for clear ice only 3 options have been working for people:
1. This pond, or directional freezing, method.
2. Freezing at just below 0 degrees for slow freezing.
3. Commercial machines that agitate the water.

All posts on ice are available using the ice tag:
http://www.alcademics.com/ice/

Jon

A company is doing a small one ice cube model for $25.
Polaicetray.com

Pocko

Nice going, thought to slow the freeze down with a cooler. Another way ive done it is by vibration. If u litelyvibrate the water while freezing it will come out crystal clear

Camper English

What did you use to vibrate the tray? I've wanted to try this method but haven't figured out how to do it.

Taburroughs

Have you considered a sealed ice mold suspended in saltwater?

Camper English

Yes I tried that before I discovered this method, but it wasn't successful for me. I suppose it's just another insulator and there is no reason it couldn't work with enough salt, but plastic worked better for me.

http://www.alcademics.com/2010/10/using-salt-walter-as-an-insulator-to-make-clear-ice.html

Thewhiskeyiceco

As always, great work Camper. We adapted your process to work with our ice ball maker: http://whiskey-ice.com/blog/trackback.html?post_id=2

Thanks again for the great work.

Camper English

Nice work, and a simple solution for your molds. Your link didn't work for me. Here is one that should:
http://whiskey-ice.com/blog/entry/recipes-and-ideas/how-to-make-clear-ice-for-clear-spherical-ice-balls.html

Brian K

STOP STOP STOP!!!!!!

I'm lost... I need some 'splainin done.

You filled box with water, then put them open side down in a cooler (why didn't the water pour out?)

Can someone do this with a picture by picture process to better show exactly how to do it? My brain is cramping up from reading the original method, then every subsequent addition to the original method, then every derivation to add to the subsequent addition to the original method.....
I think I just tore the very fabric of space/time with that.

Altimate_One

This is some awesome reading. What are people finding as far as timing on how long they need to leave the cooler in the freezer? I'm one day into my first trial and it looks like i will be waiting for two more days. Is this typical?

Camper English

I believe it's 3-4 days for me. A further refinement - if you don't let it freeze completely solid to the bottom, everything is easier to break apart and the cubes slide out of the plastic boxes faster as well.

Altimate_One

Thanks for the follow up. My cooler is bigger and my patience got the best of me. Two days wasn't enough to accomplish my goal but I saw the possibilities and I'm super excited.

grinch_33@hotmail.it

Sorry but whats the temperature you use to freeze the ice? -1˚?

Camper English

Any temperature below freezing works. If you can get your freezer that accurate that you can freeze at -1, you might not need to use the cooler at all. Most of us aren't that fortunate.

Onyr

In my freezer 20 to 24 hours works well to get 2" cubes with mainly water in the bottom. My other freezer is slower, much slower.

The amount of insulation is another factor. I've used insulation from .25" to 2.0" The biggest difference is simply in how long it takes to freeze, without a big difference in clarity. BTW, what do people think is the 'ideal' size for a cube of clear ice?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200777319648747&set=pb.1035455778.-2207520000.1379608236.&type=3&theater

Quantastic

Does degassing with a chamber vacuum help at all? I'm thinking about water sealed in large vacuum bags, then placed into a rigid container to get the best dimensions out of it.

Camper English

I don't know of anyone who has a strong enough vacuum that they've tried it yet. When I tried something different with a bag inside a container though, the folds in the bag made the ice nearly impossible to get the ice out.

Nanl

Hey Camper - I have a few questions. (I read through most of the comments, but didn't see the answers I'm looking for. I apologize if they've been answered and I missed it.)

1) Are the different plastic products you used (the gift boxes) food safe? I'm mostly curious if you've noticed any actual plastic-related flavor in the cubes, but I suppose it would be good to know also if the boxes are toxic-ish.

2) Do you have links you could share to the products you used i.e. the Igloo cooler?

Thanks! Smart comments are a dying breed. Love your site!

Camper English

Hi - The plastic boxes are by no means guaranteed food safe. However they do not seem to transfer any plastic taste to the ice. (Water balloons, on the other hand, do unless you wash them off.) I don't necessarily recommend them for commercial use due to this (it's also pretty slow), but I find them taste-neutral.

The cooler - you want hard sided, with a Removable Lid (not the slide-to-the-side version), such as:

https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-FlipLid-Personal-Cooler-Blue/dp/B000IBWI42/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=crampercom-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=OJ2GPAC4QBVIBIAQ&creativeASIN=B000IBWI42

https://www.amazon.com/Igloo-Legend-Cooler-12-Can-Capacity/dp/B000BOB5L8/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=crampercom-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=5QHONT345JMTBCRN&creativeASIN=B000BOB5L8

but best to go see one in person to see if it looks like the ice will slide out - the top should the same width or wider than the bottom.

Alexander

Hello all,

Stumbled upon this blog, by way of Kevin Liu on sciencefare. So many great ideas on here, which got me inevitably thinking. From my time with scenery building, especially dealing with plaster. I came to think that ice forming and plaster pieces share some similarities.

When creating plaster pieces, you use silicone molds, just as with ice. And as with ice, you get trapped air bubbles, to get rid of these I would then put them in a homemade vacuum chamber. What if in conjunction with the vacuum you added some slight vibration. Either within the water surrounding the molds, in the molds, or on the container itself? This could be achieved through a cheap portable hand sander for the container, or some other vibrating device for within. Then to also add slow freezing, Im assuming smaller crystals would make a better block?

Alexander

Just to add, another idea from my modeling scenery, to cut the blocks why not use a hot-wire foam cutter? They can be made easily, cheaply, and to almost any size.

I should of mentioned as well, that a vacuum chamber can be built pretty easily and at a good price point.

Camper English

Hi - Thanks for the advice. With the vacuum chamber, I think you would have to place the whole chamber in the freezer, no? We've thought about vacuuming air out of water, but then you'd have to put it into some sort of plastic bag if you were going to remove it from the chamber to freeze it. While the size of this bag would probably be too small for practical use I'd love to see if it works as proof of concept.

I haven't hooked something up to a vibrating object yet - I should have done that years ago just to see its effect. The closest I got was going into an adult book store and asking if they had any 'personal massagers' with cords.

Camper English

I'd love to try the hot wire foam cutter to see if it works for ice. I have tried with knives in boiling water but it hardly made a dent before it became too cold. Looking online they seem to go from cheap to really expensive pretty easily. Maybe I should try a cheap one for proof-of-concept...

George Lara

Can someone please give me a link to where I can find these plastic containers or something very similar?

John B

@George - I'm pretty sure they're these: http://www.containerstore.com/shop?showDS=true&Ns=default&Ntt=Amac+Boxes&submit=

Tim Walters

I have followed several experiments on here on how to get clear ice. I pose a question to the public. Will the containers of ice produce completely clear specimens if the rectangular containers are raised from the bottom? Allowing water to circulate beneath them. Or, Will there be a another result if there is no bottom to the rectangular containers? Will the shape, location, or spacing of the air in the ice be affected?

Tim Walters

I also forgot to mention Big Fan of your work! Thank you!

Camper English

I think having the containers be square tubes that hang down from the top of the cooler would be an ideal way to make this ice cube trays. Another way would be to have a mesh platform that the containers sit upon, raised from the bottom of the cooler. I have thought about both of these but have not yet done them.

These particular plastic containers break when I have tried to cut off the bottoms, so I would need a better tool or a different container.

Later experiments have shown that as long as there is room beneath the suspended tray that the water/ice will flow down as it freezes, so yes to your question it should produce clear ice within the containers.

Camper English

You're welcome!

Tim Walters

I appreciate the speedy reply! I will combine a few things from the comments and I will try to let you know of my conclusions. Thanks so much! Best of luck!

Westy

Don't cut off the bottoms to make square tubes. Just drill a few holes in the bottoms. Then you can use the containers upside down with the opening on the bottom. Same functionality as a square tube.

You could put the upside down tubes on a mesh cooling rack that fits inside the cooler. While that works, I find it easier to cut or melt the cloudy part off. Melting (on a countertop or flat pan) has the advantage of making the cube perfectly flat/square with sharp edges.

earfdae

I was thinking that same thing. It's highly doubtful that they are food grade... thus the plastic is probably leaching bad stuff into the water/ice.

Pasquale

I'd love to here how it goes with upside down round ice molds since they have a hole at the top, but I don't think that it will work, because the mold may cause the balls inside to freeze slower than the outside water.

Camper English

Here is the ice ball solution
http://www.alcademics.com/2014/09/make-perfectly-clear-ice-balls-using-insulated-mugs.html

baly

I want to get an order

baly

I want to get an order?

Jackson Dewey

Hello - I tried this in an uninsulated plastic container and had mixed results. Does an insulated container allow the water in the 2” trays freeze faster relative to the water in the cooler? I’ll buy an insulated container if that was the cause of my less than clear ice. Thanks, Jackson

Camper English

It forces the water to freeze from the top toward the bottom. Here's a backgrounder on how water freezes in an insulated container: https://www.alcademics.com/2016/04/what-is-directional-freezing.html

Jackson Dewey

Many thanks for the fast and informative reply.

George

Hi, I've been trying to make clear ice at home, and used the cooler method with reasonable success.

I've had this idea, that you could use directional freezing from bottom to top, by using a silicone ice cube tray filled with water and placing an insulated box on top of it, covering the top and sides.

In my mind that would insulate the top and sides, forcing the water to freeze from the bottom up, forcing all the bubbles to the open space above.

I haven't experimented with it, and it might have flaws that I can't think of, but I discovered this site, and after reading some articles (and a lot of comments), I didn't see anyone trying something like it, so I thought I'd ask what do you think.

Camper English

HI George - Sorry this got sent to my spam folder. Here's an example of someone rigging the cooler system from bottom-up:
https://www.alcademics.com/2014/12/making-a-clear-ice-block-from-the-bottom-up.html

The problem with your proposed system is that ice floats, so you have to do something to stop it from freezing on the surface even if it's insulated- in the example above, which is how ice sculpture machines work, an aquarium pump is used to keep the surface clear.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)