There are different types of ice to use in coolers. First, you must be familiar with ice cubes which have been the commonest for a long time. Others like ice blocks, freezer packs, and crushed ice also exist.
Certain situations will call for specific types of ice. So, this means that each ice type has its best way of use, pros, and cons. In this post, we cover how to make different types of ice for coolers. So, if you are a DIY lover, stick around!
How to Make Ice Cubes?
Here are ways of making ice cubes for your cooler. It is as easy as 123!
1. Ways to make Ice Cubes with or without Ice Tray
If you have an ice cube tray, here is how to make ice cubes using it.
Step 1: Assemble the Requirements
You will need clean water in a jug and an ice cube tray.
Step 2: Preparation
Fill the ice cube tray with clean water and place it in the freezer. It takes a few hours for the ice to form. Release the ice cubes from the tray by twisting them once or twice.
See other ways you can make ice cubes without an ice cube maker.
These could also be Ziploc bags. You can pick the best size of a bag for your needs. Then, you have to fill it with clean water and place it in the freezer for a few hours.
Smaller bags will produce smaller ice cubes. For big bags, fill them a quarter way. However, this method may not give the perfect shape of ice cubes.
Typical Freezer Bags
Though they work the same way as Ziploc bags, freezer bags will give almost perfect shapes of the ice cubes. In addition, they are affordable, and you can use the same procedure as leak-proof bags.
You will get ice cubes without smell as they don't allow the transfer of smell through them.
Silicone trays are a current favorite among many households. It is a tray but made of silicone and not the usual plastic you are familiar with these days. Use them like you would use your ice cube tray.
Did you know that this can work? It is a quick fix if you have nothing else to use. But, not a recommended option if you'd ask someone else.
Use a clean and disinfected plastic or polythene egg tray. If your trays have holes, fill them with foil. Use the same method when using an ice cube tray.
Most of them are portable and can work from your countertop. If your demand for ice is higher, you can match the supply by buying this.
You have to plug it and fill its reservoir with clean water to the recommended mark. Next, please switch it on, then select a suitable size of ice for your needs. It takes a few minutes for the ice to be ready.
2. How Long Does It Take to Make Ice Cubes?
So many factors will influence the duration it takes to form ice cubes. Among them are the freezer conditions and your method of use, among others.
On average, it takes 3 to 4 hours for the ice to form if you are using a standard ice tray. Surface area to volume ratio and air temperature are also factors to consider. They will influence the duration too.
How to Make Block Ice?
Ice blocks can come in any shape. It mustn't be rectangular only like you think. That means you can make them out of almost any container. But, you need to ensure that the size of block you are making is enough for your cooler.
You can use pre-made molds for ice blocks. But, if you don't have this, you can DIY using ice cream containers, buckets, milk jugs, bottles, and much more.
Bottles are most suitable as the block of ice remains in the container. You can use it as it is. Moreover, you can reuse the water once the ice block melts.
Use freezer-safe glass bottles for greater functionality and durability. Other types of glass will freeze if you put them in the freezer. However, as ice forms, it expands and will not be precisely the size of water.
It means that you mustn't fill your glass containers to the brim. Otherwise, expansion, when there is a lack of room, can lead to cracking or breakage.
For other plastic containers, fill them to a level you feel is ideal for a good ice block size. Be careful as some could crack. Avoid filling containers to the brim.
Remember, the bigger the ice block, the more time it takes to freeze. When it comes to materials for making ice blocks, not everything works.
Metal is the best. Freezer-safe glasses work, too. Rubber and plastic are other options, but you have to be careful with them. That is why you can use cake pans, and they'll perform well.
Take safety measures when choosing containers. They should be food grade to prevent health hazards.
You will need a container of your choice (be careful about the material and size) and clean water. Then, fill that container with water to the level that you'll need the ice cube size.
Place the container inside the freezer for some hours. You can keep checking from time to time to see if the blocks are ready.
How to Make the Coldest Ice Pack?
Using ice packs is the newest technology and has proven to work well. But did you know that you can make your ice pack colder than your freezer can? This section explains how you can make ready-made ice packs colder.
You can use salt or alcohol. Take your ice cubes, then add either isopropyl alcohol or salt to it. It makes the cubes melt faster and will get colder.
A Few Tips for Using Salt or Alcohol to Make Ice Packs Colder
Depending on what to choose to use, shake the mixture with vigor to allow for proper mixing. It helps the ice to melt faster and make the ice pack colder.
Isopropyl alcohol will make colder ice packs than using salt. That's because you can stick the alcohol in your freezer.
Both alcohol and ice will start at shallow temperatures.
If you are making ice packs for injuries, consider using alcohol, as the pack will mold to your body with ease.
Ensure that the alcohol doesn't get into contact with your skin. If it finds an open wound, it can get into your bloodstream and be absorbed.
The ratio of water to alcohol when using this method should be 2:1 or 1:1.
Why Does Salt Make Ice Colder?
There happens a chemical reaction when you mix ice and salt. So, to melt ice, people often add salt to it. It helps to prevent re-freezing when on transit. Usually, ice cubes melt slower when in a saline environment. So its temperature becomes colder too.
Adding salt to ice makes the temperature drop from its freezing point to negatives. It can go to as low as -21 degrees Celsius.
As ice melts, heat or energy gets absorbed from the surrounding environment. As a result, it counters the hydrogen bonding that holds water molecules. That's because the melting process of ice is endothermic.
It doesn't matter if you add salt or not. But, once you add salt, you can see how easily water can re-freeze into ice.
You can agree that there are various forms of ice to use in your coolers, especially for portable coolers you will be moving around with all the time.
You can't randomly pick any ice type because each has its recommended place of use. So, make the correct type of ice for your cooler.