More Ice Cubes

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.More Ice Cubes

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:

Glad_Ice-Cube-BagsIn 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:

I think they’d also be good for making up a quick “ice pack” in case of injuries.

Other Ideas

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!

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  • Jim Shell
    Posted at 29 March 2013 Reply

    The film cannisters are not food grade plastic to my knowledge and perhaps should not be used for injestable liquids. The plastic 1 to 2 oz. condiment containers are food grade plastic and much easier to find than film cannisters.

  • Heather Braun on Facebook
    Posted at 29 March 2013 Reply

    Do you have a recommendation for a flexible silicone ice cube tray?

  • Judie Ashford
    Posted at 29 March 2013 Reply

    I use tiny trays sized for RV’s. Make a tray full, then decant to a plastic bag. Repeat. Works well for small quantities.

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 29 March 2013 Reply

    Not sure of how you are set up, but usually the problem with “traditional” trays is that the water sloshes out (frozen water all over other stuff and no ice cubes) and most people say that the lidded ones don’t do a good enough job for a boat as they are not designed to be totally leakproof. I’m afraid you’d have the same problem with a silicone one and I’ve never seen a vertical tray in silicone . . . but I keep looking for more options.

  • Lorraine Dolsen
    Posted at 30 March 2013 Reply

    What I did in our last cruise, was to fill a ziplock sandwich bag with water and put on the freezer. Then used a ice pick to break up the ice into smaller pieces. Didn’t look pretty, but took up less space and still cooled the drinks enough.

  • Monica McKaskle
    Posted at 27 April 2013 Reply

    We also use ziplock sandwich bags. We fill them about 2/3 full and put them next to the freezer plate. We do it in the a.m and by cocktail hour, everything is solid. We use a knife or anything hard to break them up. Works great.

    • Trish Vitaz
      Posted at 01 January 2015 Reply

      I’ve been using the snack size ziplock bags filled about 2/3 full and lay them flat on the bottom of the freezer. They make a smaller “block” of ice and are easier to break up to fit in your glass or thermos.

  • Teresa
    Posted at 01 June 2013 Reply

    Vertical ice cube tray looks promising but I have yet to try it. First seen on Pinterest of course.

  • LaMarr Harding
    Posted at 26 November 2013 Reply

    I have used the “Tupperware” flat ice cube trays for years. Yes they are horizontal, and I had to cut the ends off to fit them in my Engle freezer. They do have the lid that keeps them from spilling with motion and if you have them off level the cubes are mishapen or at worst waffle shaped and you have to break them apart. I just accosted a Tupperware Lady, at a fair, only to find that they don’t make them any more. BUT, if you really need space and are patient enough to release one cube at a time, they do still make the little tapered shot glass size bottle with the sealing lids. No I don’t sell tupperware, always hated it as a kid, but the Ice trays, the pickle container with the lifter, and the lettuce crisper are the only Tupperware I have.

  • Steve Labarre
    Posted at 05 January 2014 Reply
    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 05 January 2014 Reply

      Reports I’ve heard say that they leak and the lids are prone to pop off with the motion of the boat. They’re more designed just to keep the water from sloshing out when you’re carrying the tray from the sink to freezer.

    • Sherry Day
      Posted at 05 January 2014 Reply

      I have the Okra one and I don’t think it is going to work under way as the lid is not close to the top of the water. Don’t buy it.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 05 January 2014 Reply

      Thanks Sherry!

  • Steve Labarre
    Posted at 05 January 2014 Reply


  • Sherry Day
    Posted at 05 January 2014 Reply

    You don’t realize how much you like an ice cold drink until you go without ice for days!

  • Steve Labarre
    Posted at 06 January 2014 Reply

    anybody tried Joie Covered No Spill Ice Cube Tray ? from an engineering stand point of view they look awesome

  • Deb
    Posted at 01 January 2015 Reply

    Freeze grapes….they won’t dilute your white wine

  • Bruce Stewart
    Posted at 25 October 2016 Reply

    Hi Carolyn – as Aussies, we have been using the Glad ice cube bag for years and recommend them highly. Each bag (8 bags to a pack) makes 24 pillow-shaped ice cubes. Simply fill the bag up slowly from the tap and when all 24 compartments are full, quickly invert the bag, creating a water lock that automatically seals the bag. As the bag is sealed, it will not leak in the freezer and does not need to sit on a flat surface. Once frozen, simply squeeze individual ice cubes out (Ike squeezing Menthos out of a roll pack) or quickly pull the bag end to end to give you a bag full of 24 ice really is simple and ideal for boats. Btw, we also stand a plastic pitcher in the freezer with about 3-4 inches of water in the bottom. Once frozen, this can be filled with water, punch or mixed drinks (think G&Ts) and will keep the drinks cold, even after refills. Great when guests drop by!

  • wally
    Posted at 25 October 2016 Reply

    I have the vertical ice trays from Sea Frost, they work great only being placed against the cold plate. A little expensive at $90, but being SS, they last for the life of the boat.

  • Kristi Cilles
    Posted at 16 February 2017 Reply

    I used to use a couple of small water battles, cut down to about 2 inch high base, and filled with about an inch of water. I found this size fit perfectly into my glass, popped out easily from its container, and it was just enough to keep my drink cool for a long period of time! I always kept a couple “going” in my freezer,

  • Daryl Ramage
    Posted at 18 February 2017 Reply

    Have you tried whisky stones? My son in law uses these rocks for expensive Scotch.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 18 February 2017 Reply

      I’ve talked to people who tried them and their answer was that they do cool drinks some, but it takes a LOT of them to really make a normal-size glass of something cold. I think they might do okay if you started out with a cold drink — that is, not a room temp drink — and wanted to prolong the cold.

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