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Ice Baths


Shalmanese
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I can understand ice baths in a restaurant context where ice is plentiful and you're regularly blanching large batches of food but in my home kitchen, ice is scarce and a pain in the ass to make. Whenever I've needed to shock something, I've always done it under rapidly running cold water and I've not noticed my vegetables being any less vibrant.

Does an ice bath make THAT much of a difference? Is it something I should be doing or should I just stick to what I'm doing now?

PS: I am a guy.

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Makes sense to me. After all, rapidly running cold (34F say) water is probably just as cold as a still icebath, especially one with inadequate ice, once the warm stuff goes in there and starts heating up the water.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I do this a lot of times too, but there are some things I wouldn't do it with. Hard boiled eggs are one of this things that spring to mind as I don't think they'd cool as quickly as necessary without a serious ice bath. Another thing would be greens--they're too plentiful often and the ice bath allows you to deal with their volume most efficiently.

I think for things with a lot of surface area matters: asparagus works with running because it's long and skinny so the mass is stretched out, allowing for faster cooling and less need for the water bath.

nunc est bibendum...

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I do not do a full blown ice bath, but I know that throwing some ice cubes into the water I am using to cool things gives me a speedier result. Conscious of the plastic leaching issue, I do however use frozen plastic water bottles to cool down the water surrounding an item I am cooling like stock as then I do not feel it is leaching potential hazards. If I am cooling down a green vegetable I toss some ice cubes into the strainer as the water flows over with the thought that it will cool it quicker.

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Makes sense to me. After all, rapidly running cold (34F say) water is probably just as cold as a still icebath, especially one with inadequate ice, once the warm stuff goes in there and starts heating up the water.

Tap water at 34 F? I don't think so. At best, tap water is ground temperature -- averaging about 54 F. In many places in the south and southwest -- Houston or Tampa, for example -- it's well above that.

Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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It's about +3 C here in Vancouver, many of us have problems with toilet tanks sweating alot, my cat just strts licking the condensation on the tank in the winter.

I did live in Singapore for 4 years, the water that came out of the taps there was jst about body temperature--all year round.....

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This is great guys - so we've discovered that the temperature of the water from the cold water tap is related to the ambient temperature of the part of the world we live in. Who'd have thunk it! :biggrin:

I must say here in the UK it's mostly cool enough to use the running cold water method. Sometimes I'll use some ice if I particularly want to ensure that the fresh green of a vegetable is maintained, or where I really want to quickly arrest the cooking process but I must confess I haven't made any empirical study of the effects.

Funnily enough it hadn't really occurred to me to use the plastic ice packs that I store in the freezer but I think that I might try that from now on. My concerns re plastic leaching are tending towards the infinitesimally small...

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I think water quality might come into play too. The water here often reeks of chlorine right out of the tap, and even if it were cold enough, once you smell it you'd never want to let food touch it. I use an ice bath because the ice is made with filtered water. I'm sure this is a consideration in a professional kitchen also.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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