There is good old regular ice, and then there is clear ice. While regular ice is cloudy and doesn’t stay frozen for long, clear ice is transparent and can remain frozen for several minutes.
You may have seen this clear ice if you frequent fancy restaurants and bars. They add them to your drink to keep it chilled long enough for you to have the experience you truly desire. Aside from being better than the regular ice we are all familiar with, the clear ice is more pleasing to look at.
But then, do you always have to wait until the next time you are at a fancy cocktail bar or restaurant before you can enjoy a delicious block of water? Isn’t there some way to easily make clear ice, especially if you are a cocktail enthusiast?
The good news is you can make your clear ice and in very different ways too. You may even choose to do it manually and at no cost or use a home ice maker built mainly for that purpose.
If you decide to do it manually, you will need a few essentials such as a freezer, ice tray, and distilled water. You could even boil regular tap water if you don’t have distilled water available.
Here are The Main Steps In This Guide
How Long Does It Take For Ice to Freeze
We may all know that the freezing point for water is 32°F or 0°C, but the duration it takes water to freeze into ice may differ according to the procedure involved.
Using a water bottle can allow the water to freeze in about 3 hours, while using an ice tray will take about 3 – 4 hours.
Many of the procedures used for making ice often take about 18 – 24 hours to freeze perfectly, aside from the amount of time it takes to boil the water twice (if you are using tap water).
Also, factors such as the size of the ice tray can influence how quickly your ice gets frozen, as trays designed to make smaller ice usually tend to freeze faster than their larger counterparts.
The way the ice tray is designed to take in outside air can also determine how quickly the ice cubes will form. Hence an ice tray with air spaces will form ice faster than one with just dividers.
One last thing to consider is the air temperature within your freezer. If your freezer is always open or it contains warm or hot food when you are trying to make clear ice cubes, this could raise the temperature of the freezer and cause the ice to freeze a little more slowly.
How Can You Make Ice Freeze Faster?
There are several ways to ensure that your ice freezes faster. One of these ways is to fill your ice tray with hot water instead of water at room temperature. This counterintuitive trick functions through the Mpemba effect, which states that hot water cools and freezes faster than regular water.
Secondly, you can use stainless steel ice cube trays rather than plastic ones as metal is known as a poor insulator and can allow faster transfer of heat and cause quicker freezing.
You could also consider lowering the temperature of your freezer below the pre-set 0°C or ensure to keep it closed at all times. Also, don’t place warm or hot food inside the freezer when trying to make ice.
How to Make Clear Ice
Ice making is as simple as placing water inside the freezer and allowing it to sit for a couple of hours. However, this would result in uneven and cloudy cubes that melt quickly and are also not very appealing to look at.
On the other hand, you could make crystal clear ice perfectly shaped and incredibly beautiful to behold. The process may require a little more time and patience than the regular ice, but the effort is usually worth it.
To start, you need to decide if you will be using regular tap water or distilled water. Your home tap water is usually treated with chemicals, and even though this is done to make it safe for consumption, it could also be the reason that kind of water will not form crystal clear ice.
Your best option is to use distilled bottled water as this does not contain the chemicals, traces of mineral deposits, and tiny bits of debris found in tap water. Note also that because water comes in a bottle doesn’t mean it is distilled. Bottled water that has been distilled is often indicated on the label.
Once you have established the type of water you will use, it is also important to eradicate as much air as possible. Air trapped within water often causes imperfections within an ice cube causing it to melt faster.
The easiest way to remove the trapped air is to boil the water. After the first boiling, allow the water to sit and cool while covered with a clean lid or an aluminium foil. This will make sure dust and other particles do not contaminate it.
When the water is cool enough, boil it again for certainty. Many people often think that they only need to boil the water if they are using tap water because of the many things they contain, but we also encourage you to boil your distilled water to let out the trapped air bubbles.
Now that we have got all that explanation out of the way let us see the steps involved in making clear ice.
Using Slow Freezing
Step 1: Boil your preferred water the first time, then cover with something clean and allow to cool.
Step 2: Boil the water again to remove the remaining air and other particles that may cause cloudiness.
Step 3: Fill your ice tray with your freshly prepared water and place the tray in your freezer
Step 4: Raise the freezer’s temperature to the highest possible setting (30°F) and allow your water to sit in it the entire night.
Step 5: The next morning, return to the freezer to pull out your ice tray. It should contain crystal ice blocks that you can remove from the tray and use as you like. Remember always to return what you are not using at the moment to the freezer.
Using Cooler Freezing
Step 1: Create enough room in your freezer to house a small cooler
Step 2: Boil your choice of water as we have described above
Step 3: Pour your prepared water into an insulated cooler. Ensure you are using the rigid plastic-type. And only fill it halfway and not more
Step 4: Place the cooler without the lid in the space you created in the freezer
Step 5: Because the cooler has no lid, the water it contains will make faster contact with the air within the freezer
Step 6: Allow the cooler to sit there for between 18 – 24 hours. The ice will freeze from top to bottom, pushing impurities down as it goes
Step 7: Take out the cooler. The remaining water at the bottom of the cooler will contain the impurities while the ice sits on top as clear as day
Step 8: Turn the cooler upside down on your kitchen sink for about 10 minutes. The ice may fall out on its own, or you may need to give it a little nudge
Step 9: Cut the ice into the shape of cubes you want with a serrated knife. You can also use an ice pick to give your cubes any desired shape
Step 10: Return any ice you don’t intend to use immediately back to the freezer and store it in a closed container. The ice you intend to use right away must be allowed to stand at room temperature for at least 2 minutes before you add it to your glass of cocktail
Using Small-Scale Freezing
Step 1: Get a silicone ice cube tray and a baking pan or freezer-safe casserole dish. This is in a situation where you don’t have enough room in your freezer.
Step 2: Make a hole at the bottom of each cube on the silicone ice cube tray.
Step 3: Place the tray at the centre of the baking pan setting it to sit on a small riser that allows it to stay an inch above the bottom of the pan
Step 4: Fill the pan with the hot water you have prepared (as described above). Be sure to fill it until it barely covers the ice cube tray.
Step 5: Place your pan in the freezer and allow it to sit for between 15 – 20 hours. you can pull the pan out once you notice several inches of ice forming
Step 6: Turn the pan upside down on your kitchen sink for 5 – 10 minutes until the block of ice falls out. You can also gently shake the ice block to fall out.
Step 7: Break off the block of ice surrounding the ice tray, then pop out the clear ice cubes from the tray
Using a Home Ice Maker
Step 1: Get an affordable countertop ice maker
Step 2: Pour in some water. You may skip the boiling and even use regular water as the machine takes care of distillation and air bubble removal.
Step 3: The water is moved over chilled coils that work to freeze the ice instantly while the cube build gradually
You know you will need some ice when you have a party at your place, or you just want to enjoy a nice drink on a Friday night.
A lot of people will always want to buy ice which is not entirely a bad thing. But you can’t be too dependent on these stores. What if they run out of ice when you need it the most?
This is why we recommend that you take the time to learn how to make ice on your own. Following the methods we have described above will not only give you ice but high-quality crystal clear ice.
However, the question of how long it takes for ice to freeze depends on the method you choose to use.