Before beginning with this chilling article, keep in mind that the process of ice melting is what produces the ‘coolness’ that is, once the ice melts, it absorbs energy from its surroundings. One of the foremost common kinds of energy is ‘heat’; therefore, when the ice melts, it effectively ‘absorbs heat’ and changes its state from solid to liquid, leading to the cool surrounding atmosphere.
Why do we need an ice block?
There could be multiple reasons why you want a massive block of ice. You might want to produce or buy a large clear ice block to sculpt it into, maybe in the shape of a sphere or a diamond, or break it up to put in a homemade cocktail. Fortunately, producing a large block of ice is neither a piece of cake nor as tricky as pinning a medal in a shadow. All it requires is a freezer to keep it in for freezing, a few basic household materials like the mould and water, of course, along with some patience.
We put ice cubes in our drinks; from cocktails to iced tea and from mocktails to cold coffee, our favourite cold beverage wouldn’t be the same taste as it would taste with ice in it. Before refrigerators and freezers were invented, the food prepared and stored in the kitchen could not last longer than a day or more than that before it went spoil in our homes and even in restaurants. Thus, ice blocks have played a massive part in preserving our favourite food, chilling our drinks, and cooling us down when we return from a football match or when exhausted. Smaller blocks of ice, like what we used to have daily in our homes, don’t last that long like regular ice cubes. Additionally, crushed ice, which we add a couple of times in our shakes and in which fresh fish and prawns are shipped, melts the most quickly, so the smaller the size, the quicker it melts. But, being extremely large, these blocks of ice can preserve themselves by maintaining their temperature for an extended period.
Some ideal uses of ice blocks:
- Preserving food/ beverages in case there’s no space available in the refrigerator.
- When their refrigerators are being repaired in bars, they need to keep the food away from any spoilage.
- Ice can be used in outdoor events where it could be hot.
- When one is needed in long-lasting ice at home, ice cubes can get melted way too fast.
- It can be used for cooling the swimming pool on a warm sunny day.
- It is used schools and laboratories, to experiment with ice or to bring the temperature down of any chemical.
- They are used during the shipment of preserved frozen food.
- Blocks of ice are used even in sculpting out something as a form of art.
Types of ice:
- Regular ice cubes: These are the most ordinary ice types, which you have enjoyed a million classes in your juices and beverages.
- Ice blocks: These are rarely seen by ordinary people as they are primarily used in large volume containers, industries, laboratories, slowly chilling the drink throughout the party.
- Crushed ice: Most freezers come with two options which include crushed and cubed. However, if your refrigerator does not have an opportunity like this, it’s not difficult to take some cubes and smash them.
Steps involved in making an ice block:
- Find a cardboard box or any plastic tub: A cardboard box or plastic tub is readily available in anyone’s home, but make sure that the size of the selected box should not be too large to not fit inside the freezer. Remember, water expands when it cools. So, a cardboard box would be a better choice in this case so that the container could expand.
- Get thick plastic wrap: For the ice block to quickly come out, you need one plastic wrap, which should be thick, so if you pull it up, then it can soon come out. Don’t forget to place the plastic wrap with the help of tape on the outside of the box. If plastic wrap isn’t available, then a new trash bag can be used.
- Fill the prepared box with purified water: After doing all the preparations, fill the container with distilled water either 3/4th or below the complete marking. Water needs to be clarified because it will only freeze into a clear block of ice; otherwise, the block would have white linings or cloudiness in it.
- Take a rope and tie knots: Take a thick rope measuring one foot (1 ft), and tie one knot at both ends. Place the knots in the water, but the rest of the part out of the water, so that it can work like a bag’s handle.
- Leave the box in the freezer for 2-3 days: Our ice cubes take up to 6 hours to freeze, so a block of ice would take a lot of time compared with cubes. Leave it for a minimum of 48 hours (2 days), and you can recognise if it is frozen by checking the cloudiness in the centre of the block.
- Take the block out of the box: After 48 hours, you can take your ice block out of the box by holding it with the rope you tied or by turning it upside down.
Do not forget to cover the ice block if you take it out for sledging not to wet your pants.
Containers that can be used for freezing ice block:
- Silicone block ice mould: They are readily available in supermarkets. They are becoming very ordinary nowadays.
- Ice cream containers: These can be a good option because of their shape. You can even use small ones, according to the form you like.
- Balloons: Yes! Balloons, you can fill them up with purified water and tie them off. After some patience of around 24 hours, you will get beautiful spherical-shaped ice balls. These can be served with alcoholic beverages in a jug, or instead of putting ice cubes, you can choose them to put in the glasses.
- Baking pan: Just like you pour the cake batter in the pan, this time use water and put it in the freezer, and you will get a beautiful cuboidal ice block.
It does not matter in what container you freeze the ice, but it depends on the quality and purity of water. You need to follow the steps of block ice making carefully to get the best results. And enjoy it, whether for sledging or any other purpose. We hope that you liked our article and might have shown you the correct path.