Whether you are holding a party at home, heading out for a day on the beach, or packing up some ice for camping, it’s tricky to keep ice frozen and solid for as long as you need it. An ice box is a must to keep drinks chilled and food fresh, but without ice, it’s just a box.
As important as ice is in keeping things cool, it’s often short-lived – we’ve all seen how fast ice can go from solid to completely melted on a hot day!
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent ice from melting so quickly. Here are some useful tips that will help you keep your event super chill, in more than one way!
Not All Ice is Created Equally
First, you should know that some ice stays solid for longer, and some will melt more quickly. If you’re wondering how to keep an ice cube from melting, then you have to look at how the ice is made and how big the piece of ice is.
Clear ice melts more slowly
Regular home-made ice cubes are murky, which means they have a lot of air trapped inside.
Clear ice contains mostly water molecules, so it has fewer air-bubbles trapped inside. This means it’s more solid and can maintain its low temperature longer (i.e., it melts slower).
You may be pondering how to make clear ice cubes without getting a degree in science? Well, we have good news - it is way more simpler than you think.
Get yourself some water and follow these few simple steps:
- Boil your water.
- Cool it down slightly. It should be cool enough not to damage your ice cube trays, especially if they’re made of silicone or plastic.
- Pour the water into your ice cube trays and freeze.
Once your cubes are frozen solid, you’ll be happy to see that they’re lovely and clear. You’ll be even more delighted when you begin to use your clear ice blocks and notice they melt considerably slower.
What’s more, this is just the first step you can take! There are other ways to make ice last even longer.
The bigger, the better
If you’ve ever had a cocktail with crushed ice, you’ll know it melts pretty quickly. This is because it contains tiny pieces of ice, and the larger the piece of ice is, the slower you can expect it to return to its natural state: water.
In comparison to the volume of a piece of ice, the surface area makes a huge difference. This is because more of the ice is exposed to the environment. Whether it is air or liquid, the warmth in it will make the ice melt faster.
Yes, you can make large ice shapes at home!
There are several ways to make large ice cubes:
- You could use a muffin tin to make ice discs, follow surprisingly simple instructions to cut up a large chunk of ice into smaller blocks;
- Or, you could use specially designed ice-shape makers to make spears or spheres of ice.
One of the best ways of keeping drinks cool is with clear ice balls. They have the clarity and the shape that makes them melt super slowly – perfect for drinks like whiskey and brandy on the rocks.
How to make clear ice balls is also simple; all you need is hot water and a clear ice maker.
Once you’ve made your ice blocks, spheres, discs, or cubes, the next step is to have them last as long as possible. If you’re out and about on a picnic or a barbecue, and need to keep food, drinks, and ice cool, an ice box is an excellent solution.
Keep Your Cooler Cool
To maintain the cool temperatures needed to make ice keep longer, your ice box needs to be as cool as possible.
If you have one of those high-tech coolers with all the bells and whistles, you’re good to go. Your ice will have a better chance of keeping cool and staying solid.
However, if you don’t - a standard old-fashioned ice box will do the trick if you keep a few things in mind.
Here are a few ideas for how to keep ice from melting in a cooler.
Choose a quality ice box
- Research some brand names and stick to those that are reputable. They will have the right type of isolation to keep the ice solid for longer.
- You should also consider the size and weight when the box is fully loaded.
- Investing in two smaller boxes may be more practical.
Begin with a layer of crushed ice
Although crushed ice will melt quickly, spreading a layer of it in the box the day or evening before you use it will cool the air inside the ice box. This gets part of the job done.
Remember, a colder ice box will keep your ice solid longer.
Use frozen packs or bottles
Crushed ice is full of air and space, so it melts super quickly and won’t keep your cooler at a cool temperature. We’ve all seen a cooler box with a puddle of water and no ice at the bottom!
After spreading a layer of crushed ice and cooling down the air in the ice box, your next step is to use larger, solid pieces of ice, like:
- frozen bottles of water;
- frozen ice-cream containers;
- or frozen ice-packs in your ice box.
Store it in the shade
Pick the right place to keep your ice box so the ice stays cool too.
This can be:
- under a shady tree;
- under a covering;
- near a building in the shadows;
- you could also add to the shade by covering the ice box with a towel or blanket - a wet towel works remarkably well!
Just make sure it is out of the sun and away from heat sources.
Watch out for other heat sources
Don’t put pots or other containers with hot food near the cooler – this will help you to avoid disrupting the temperature. Ice is super sensitive to heat, so avoid it in all forms!
Avoid opening it too often
- Every time you open your cooler, you let some heat in and some cold out.
- Consider using a smaller ice box with the main one and moving an entire round of drinks and enough ice to serve them into the smaller space every time, so you don’t have to keep taking individual drinks out and causing your ice stores to melt.
Is it okay to use dry ice?
Dry ice has more than double the cooling power of regular ice, and you can use it with most coolers, as long there is a way to ventilate the box because dry ice evaporates into a gas.
The ice box should have a drainage cap, which is usually situated close to the bottom of the box, or it should have a lid that doesn’t seal completely.
However, there is a downside to using dry ice - it has a short shelf life:
- It can’t be stored in your freezer at home because it has to be kept in temperatures as low as -109.3°F, or it will begin to evaporate as a gas.
- Around 10 lbs is lost in as little as 24 hours.
- Keep this in mind if you’re thinking about using this type of ice for your next event!
Enjoy the Party!
If you follow this guide, you and your family and friends will enjoy cooler drinks for longer at your get-togethers.
Or you’ll be able to slowly sip on your sundowner, knowing that there’s no rush to finish it before the ice blocks melt and it becomes diluted.
Enjoy the party, and don’t forget to bookmark this article if you need to refresh your memory on tips for cold ice in the future!