As you browse the web, you will find a lot of articles about how to make crystal clear ice at home. The various suggestions include preparing ice out of filtered water, boiling water, using both boiled and filtered water, and special silicone molds. There is one technique to prepare clear ice in large quantities by using directional freezing. Certain ice turns cloudy, the reason being the use of extremely hard water, and the water might contain too much limestone in it. The reason for this could be calcareous water. When you add a few drops of lemon juice in the pure water it gets much better. One of the reasons for cloudy ice or opaque ice is the presence of air in the ice. During the freezing process, the minute bubbles that are formed are not removed. We must certainly avoid the formation of bubbles if we want to prepare crystal clear ice at home. To avoid the air from entering and causing bubbles, freezing water from all sides must be avoided.
Directional freezing for making clear ice
The natural process that takes place in nature, during wintertime where a lake freezes and the surface turns out clear as crystal. That is what is mimicked in the freezer. The top layer of water is chilled by the cold air freezers thereby forming a thin sheet of ice. The top or first layer of the ice and the cold air will make the water that touches the ice to freeze again and let the air move sideward or downwards. The ice begins to expand as the air further moves downwards or sideways. The lake contains enough water, so only the top portion is frozen, and the bottom will still contain water in liquid form and the air can reside beneath the ice. But, in the freezer that does not matter. The freezer will have a few centimeters depth and the cold air passes from all sides, unlike the lakes. So, the freezer needs to be exposed to the cold only at one side.
This process can be done by insulating the water container, the water gets frozen from the top as the air gets pushed downward and the result is the formation of clear ice at the top.
Creating clear ice at home
Now let’s discuss the things that are needed to prepare crystal clear ice at home.
- One essential requirement is the Styrofoam box with a lid that perfectly fits in your freezer.
- Then you will need a huge container for storing the water. The container must fit into the Styrofoam box, there should not be any gap for the air to enter.
- Silicone molds are optional for the cubes that fit into the water container. Make sure it is not larger than fifty percent of the height of the container.
- You will need a freezer and as an alternative, you might also need something to keep the silicon mold above the container.
The step by step procedure to prepare clear ice at home
Step — 1
A customized Styrofoam box that needs to be adjusted so that the water container will exactly fit the freezer leaving no air gaps. You can make use of a sharp cutter to prevent Styrofoam from splitting and creating a mess. If the water container is too large, by using a soldering iron you can dissolve some of the Styrofoam. You can carry out this process outdoors since it is not healthy to breathe the smoke that is coming out.
Step — 2
Make holes of about 4-6 mm in every compartment of the silicone molds, so that the air bubbles can easily move out. If the holes are very small, it can leave the air inside the cube and make it appear cloudy.
Step — 3
The silicon molds must be inserted into the water container, also a small plastic bowl can be kept. Ensure that both the molds and plastic bowls are not more than 50% of the water container’s height.
Step — 4
The next step is to add water from the tap or filter. There is no necessity to add boiling water.
Step — 5
Place it in the home freezer and wait until the process is completed. It may take about 23 hours. At this stage, the ice cubes are formed in the compartments of the mold, but it is still in the liquid form underneath. A few test runs may be necessary for you to figure out the exact time it takes to freeze.
Step — 6
Once it is done to perfection, remove the ice and water from the freezer. Now, you are ready with amazing and perfect crystal-clear ice cubes at home. The time duration changes accordingly depending upon the quantity of water used, insulation, and also the size of the cube.
Step — 7
The final step is optional, which is to cut the clear ice. Remove the huge chunks of ice and water. Pour out the water that is collected below the ice layer. To avoid the water from spilling you can use a clean towel. For cutting the ice a Serrated knife may be used. You could even make use of silicon gloves to avoid the breeze burns.
The boiled water trick to prepare crystal clear ice at home
You will need a plastic or silicone ice cube tray, preferably for large enough cubes (this effect will be more impressive), plastic wrap, a saucepan on the stove or a kettle and freezer. Note that this trick works even better with demineralized water.
⇒ Boil the water in a Saucepan or Kettle and allow it to cool.
⇒ Once the Boiled water is cooled, boil the water once again for a second time, and let it cool again.
⇒ Place the water in your block of ice cube tray.
⇒ Cover the tray with plastic foil to prevent air from entering the water (and to prevent bubbles during solidification).
⇒ Place your container in the freezer, without modifying the temperature.
⇒ Let your ice cubes harden for two hours.
Once the ice cube becomes solid, run a stream of water over your frozen cubes to defrost their faces. And you will get transparent and clear ice cubes, which will blend discreetly into your drinks.
Storing the clear ice prepared at home
Use a sealable box to store the ice cubes. Keep it away from other food items to avoid transmitting the aroma of the food items into the ice cubes, since ice attracts the aromas and odors of the items that are kept close to it. These cleared ices prepared at home can be used to add them to drinks. The perfectly clear ice cubes do not have any cavities caused by the air bubbles.
The surface is flat and small which means the ice will melt slowly, it cools the drink and insignificant dilution of the drink is an added advantage.
Advantages of Crystal-Clear Ice
1. It looks better and perfect
Clear ice has a greater visual attraction than regular ice. And since it is not as easy to make as regular ice, surely you will get a lot of inquiries and appreciation from your guests.
2. It melts more slowly
Because it contains mostly water and no air or impurities, it can hold its frozen state longer than regular ice. As a result, the drink stays cold longer.
3. It tastes better
Clear ice is made from pure water and contains no air, impurities or odors. These ice cubes do not have that bad fridge taste that we all don’t like. Clear ice cubes will help your drinks to taste better.
4. It can be healthier.
Since this type of ice lacks impurities and air, it is healthier to consume than regular ice. It’s just pure water.
In this article, we have briefed about the making of crystal clear ice cubes at home and the step by step procedure to prepare and store the ice. I hope this article answered your question “How to make crystal clear ice”. Give it a try in your house to relish the beautiful experience of using the homemade ice in your drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes ice cubes clear or cloudy?
At home, we generally use room temperature tap water to make ice. At room temperature, water has many dissolved minerals, gases, etc. Which are invisible to our naked eyes. On freezing this water, its temperature starts dropping and ice starts to form from outside. Hence, the minerals and gases no longer remain dissolved. But, as they cannot escape out, they get pushed towards the unfrozen center. In the end, when the center freezes, the trapped minerals and gases become visible, making ice cloudy.
Does boiling water make clear ice?
Yes, boiling water can make partially clear ice. Boiled water removes the dissolved air from the water. Mostly ice cubes from the Boiling water look transparent at the top and cloudy in the bottom of the ice cubes.
How do ice makers make clear ice?
There are many different methods to make clear ice, it varies from the Home method to Expert level. You can use The Boiled Water Method Which is briefly discussed above in this article to make a clear ice at home. Also, you can use some expertise methods like Top-Down Freezing Method (Using the small cooler box to freeze the Ice cubes), High Temperature Freezing Method (Freezing the Ice in the freezer box by keeping the High Temperature around 25°F or -1°C), and Bottom freezing Method to get crystal Clear ice.