After reading my post about making individual ice cubes, a couple of readers wrote me about two other options for making ice cubes without taking up the space for a vertical ice cube tray.
Disposable Ice Cube Bags
Janice Fleischmann uses Disposable Ice Cube Bags, shown in the two images on the left at the top of the article and says they work great.
You fill the bags from the top with your own water, then turn it over and tie. One bag makes 18 round cubes and can’t be re-used (you tear it apart to get the cubes out). The bags are quite flexible and can be tucked in anywhere in the freezer, but you can’t make less than a full sheet of cubes as they are all interconnected. The big advantage is that since they make actual cubes that are taken out of the plastic, all the cooling power of the ice goes to your drink. The ice, however, will dilute it.
The bags are inexpensive (shipping is likely to cost more than the bags) and available on Amazon in 10- and 20-packs:
In Australia (but not the US, Canada or anywhere else it seems) Glad is also selling Ice Cube Bags. I don’t know of anyone who has tried using them, nor have I found any reviews from real-life users. The bags are self-sealing (no trying to tie them) and they say that the cubes can be dispensed individually. You can buy them on the Glad Australia site.
Reusable Ice Cubes
Mention “reusable ice cubes” and my first thought are those little balls or novelty shapes that are made from thick plastic filled with water. They were marketed as not diluting your drink. We tried those when we first moved aboard Que Tal and quickly learned that while they didn’t dilute our drinks, they also didn’t do much too cool them as the heavy plastic insulated the ice inside just too well. Yeah, they’re cute and they can tuck in anywhere in a tiny freezer, but they didn’t do what they were intended to — and so they went off the boat pretty quickly.
Now there are reusable ice cubes that actually work! A reader who asked that his name not be used sent me a link to “Icy Cools” on Amazon (the two photo on the right at the top of this article) and says that he’s been using them for a couple of years and loves them.
They come pre-filled with sterile water and you simply rinse them off after using them and toss them back in the freezer. Since each one is individual, you can use as many or as few as you have room for (no having to use a full sheet at a time). The plastic is BPA-free.
There’s somewhat of a tradeoff in the thickness of the plastic — since it’s not nearly as thick as the “old style” reusable ice balls, most of the cold is transferred to whatever you want cold. However, because it’s thinner plastic, they can develop pinholes and leaks over time. You may end up with some of the water in your drink or the freezer (where it will form ice encasing something else). Over time, you’ll have to replace them.
I really like the idea and if I didn’t already have my individual ice molds, I think these would be a great solution. You can buy them on Amazon:
- Package of 45 Icy Cools Reusable Ice Cubes on Amazon
- 3-pack (135 total) Icy Cools Reusable Ice Cubes on Amazon
I think they’d also be good for making up a quick “ice pack” in case of injuries.
Other readers have weighed in with some other ideas that they use:
- Plastic film canisters — if you can find a place that actually develops film, you may be able to get some. Don’t fill more than 3/4 full as the ice will expand and push the cap off otherwise.
- Any sort of very small (about 2 ounce) plastic container with a tight lid.
Got other ideas you have used? Leave a note in the comments about what has — or hasn’t — worked well!