There are different types of ice regular ice also known as ice cubes, crescent ice, crushed ice, full cube, nugget ice, spheres, etc. these are nothing but ice differentiated based on forms, shapes, size, etc. but the interesting question is that do they all have same properties and melting point? What is the major difference between them? Our choice of ice depends on its properties. So let’s figure out all these.
Types Of Ice
These are the regular ice that we come across every day. These are readily available in our freezers, you just need water and the freezer to make them. The ice cube which we use in cocktails, juices, and other drinks are some examples of regular ice. There is cubic in shape generally but can also take different shapes depending on the container we put them in before freezing it. There are no technical issues in understanding it since it is part of our daily life.
These are also common forms of ice mostly used in hotels. It is also known as half-moon ice which is of a half-cylindrical shape cut vertically. One half of the ice is flat while the other is rounded. These are relatively larger cubes than those available at home. These ice cubes are hard to break and melt slowly. This is the prime reason why hotels use them in drinks which provide a top-notch cooling effect for every drink. The round shape also prevents splashing while pouring out the drinks.
Ice cubes when crushed or sheared into irregular- shapes flakes add a different aesthetic effect to some cocktails. It is also desirable when faster cooling is needed. The most common way is to put the normal ice into a food processor to crush them. But it can also be crushed simply using a hammer, it depends on the appliances we have. Crushed ice is also produced and sold commercially in bulk. These crushed ices can be stored in a tight plastic bag in a deep freezer.
Full cube ice has a slow melting point, so it won’t water down drinks as quickly as half ice cubes. Full cubes are the best all-purpose ice and they are especially good for chilling a drink quickly and for icing down your cooler to keep your favorite foods cold. Their shape is compact and they are relatively slow while melting making them ideal for a variety of uses.
Nugget ice is layers of flaked ice frozen together. This process creates pockets of air in the pellet ice nugget. These air pockets are also what make the nugget ice so chewy. It is the most satisfying ice to chew on and it is light and airy. These can be made by us on our own through a manual process or can be done through nugget ice makers that are available commercially in the market.
Block ice can be understood by its name itself, it is nothing but a big block of ice typically 25 pounds or more. This type of ice was common in homes and was used in “ice box” which was the first, low-tech version of the refrigerator. Block ice is hard ice that has been frozen in different blocks of different sizes.
These are used where there are less or no refrigeration spaces available. It is ideal for preserving food and beverages. It is nothing but a portable refrigerator. Many restaurants and food industries that offer shaved ice in the form of snow cones and slushies are done with block ice of course. One of the most interesting uses of block ice is that they are used for sculpting sculptures that are purely decorative and functional.
An ice ball that is a large, round piece of ice that melts more slowly than ice cubes. Sphere since it has less surface area allows us to have more volume of ice in the drink which melts slowly thereby allowing us to enjoy the drink before it gets too watery. These are generally 2 inches in diameter but certainly can vary from one place to another.
In Japan, carved ice balls are most common, these are ice balls carved from large bricks of ice. Plastic ice ball molds and ice ball presses are also other ways of creating your spheres. These sphere ices are used in drinks so that the consumer gets the perfect taste of the drink without making it too watery which spoils its flavor.
How To Make Block Ice?
There are a few ways to make block ice which are as follows:
Ice Cream Containers
They are the most easily available things to make block ice. They are of good size and air-tight which is perfect for making block ice. These ice cream tubs can be used, you will just have to fill in water and freeze them. The larger the box the larger the block will be.
Milk Jugs Or Soda bottles
It is again one of the simplest ways because milk is a product that we use daily. These cans are usually thrown after use, But this time preserve them to make your own block ice. Similarly, soda bottles come in different sizes if larger cans are available then go ahead and use them for your block ice.
They are again one simple thing that is easily available. The larger the balloon you buy the larger will be the blocks. Now fill in the balloons with water and tie them. Place them in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Once they are frozen use them as per your wish.
A Plastic Bin Or Containers
They come in different shapes and sizes. Choose your containers or bin as per your requirement but ensure that they fit your freezers. In order to make a clear block of ice, cover your containers in reflective insulation. And one could also use warm filtered water for more clear blocks.
It holds shape well and it is stretchable so that these cubes don’t break or lose their shape. These molds are available readily in markets of different shapes and sizes. We may choose it depending on our needs and requirements. Not only silicone molds but also buckets are available which can be used to make larger blocks, but ensure that it fits your freezer.
The main reason or factor that decides the rate at which ice melts is the surface area that is in contact with the atmosphere . The larger the surface area is the more heat it absorbs. Block ice melts slower than regular ice because they have less surface area exposed to hotter outside air than smaller ice cubes. Therefore block ice melts comparatively slower than regular ice. This is the predominant reason why block ice is used for preservation purposes.
It is not possible to exactly measure how long the block ice lasts over the regular ice as it depends on various factors like room temperature, climate, the quantity of ice, how it is used, how it is stored, etc. But on average large block ice will often last at least 0.5-1 day longer than the same amount of cubed ice in a decent cooler. Large quantities of block ice can add multiple days of ice retention than cube ice kept in a cooler.
Spherical-shaped block ice will last longer because the surface area of the sphere is smaller than any other shape hence it will absorb less heat therefore the process of melting will be slower than in other shapes.
Ice being a common thing in our daily life has got its own role to play. This might seem to be a tiny matter of discussion but has got its own importance in different industries. Ice is not only used in our homes but it is also used in most of the food and beverage industries. Apart from cooling down things, ice is also used as a preserving agent in many other industries. Though it is of simple nature that is formed from water, it plays complex functions. There are different shapes and forms of ice of different sizes. There is nothing called a perfect form of ice.
It is decided based on our requirements that we prefer one over the other. The melting and long-lasting effect of ice depends on many factors like size, shape, volume, climate, the method of freezing, the purpose for which we use them, the room temperature, and so on. Therefore as far as these are concerned nothing can be exactly measured, we can only get an approximate glimpse of things around us. Hence the choice of ice depends largely on the purpose we wish to use them for. Hence the ball is in your court, choose wisely according to your needs.