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Crystal Clear Ice


Kohai
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Also, though it's just the kind of ritual many folk-alchemists would latch onto and then eloquently rationalize, I'm skeptical of real benefit from putting still-warm water into a freezer, as follows. Any cooling system works better (even beyond Carnot-type efficiency limits) when the desired temperature change is smaller, i.e., the water goes into the freezer as cold as possible. Hot water also evaporates an unusual volume of moisture into the freezer, which doesn't help your objective (but does lean on the auto-defrost feature). Why not let it cool first to room, then refrigerator, temperature? This just bypasses the period during which the freezer itself would be cooling the water down to those temperatures, before freezing begins. (Although I resist the hubristic conceit, including among scientists, that not understanding something implies it can't be so, still I recall no evidence in this thread that putting hot liquid directly into a freezer gives any benefit, vs. those side effects.)

I agree that what you say makes sense. The issue, as I perceive it, is the desire to minimize the time period during which the water can reabsorb gas before it freezes. If one were able to pour boiling water into a reasonably gas-impermeable container and then seal the contain with minimal "headspace" then it might make plenty of sense to freeze the water quite slowly.

I wonder if using a freezing container with sides that sloped outwards just slightly might minimize internal stress-cracking.

--

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-------i was wondering if i could find an off the shelf pump used to long run times like a hot water circulating pump and convert this freezer into a mini block maker replicating all the principles that makes the carving block machines work.

any ideas? i'm willing to drill some holes and spend a tiny bit of money.

You can stir liquid in a container using a motorized magnet to drive another magnet. Laboratories do that all the time.

dcarch

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I don't know if this might help you in the quest for the perfect ice. But I saw a show on Japanese TV a while ago about ice made in a pond somewhere in the North of Japan. The ice was sold to bars in Tokyo for it's purity.

This is an article about such an ice maker

My linkhttp://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/photos/seasonal/lens239.htm

My blog about food in Japan

Foodie Topography

www.foodietopography.com

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In that linked article, "---I sampled the shaved ice and found it had a soft taste and quickly melted in my mouth. It definitely wins a gold medal in my book.---"

Have you tasted the purest water? distilled water?

It really tastes funny. It is what you are used to tasting.

dcarch

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I don't know if this might help you in the quest for the perfect ice. But I saw a show on Japanese TV a while ago about ice made in a pond somewhere in the North of Japan. The ice was sold to bars in Tokyo for it's purity.

This is an article about such an ice maker

My linkhttp://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/photos/seasonal/lens239.htm

Thank you! These are the guys I was talking about seeing on Cooking Showdown. God, I miss that show.

"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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When I try to convince my wife that I'm not crazy for spending lots of time in eGullet, I think I'll elect not to tell her about the lengthy discussions And experiments about how to create perfectly clear ice (though I'll confess just to those here that I find this topic fascinating).

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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  • 4 months later...

I just saw this contraption via a friend of mine and wondered if anyone owns it or has used it?

The Polar Ice Tray, from Lumiaire, "a global modern design ecommerce store based in Canada, USA and UK."

Is it the ice maker all of us have been waiting for? At $59, might it be worth a shot?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I just saw this contraption via a friend of mine and wondered if anyone owns it or has used it?

The Polar Ice Tray, from Lumiaire, "a global modern design ecommerce store based in Canada, USA and UK."

Is it the ice maker all of us have been waiting for? At $59, might it be worth a shot?

It's not clear how this thing is supposed to work. Making clear ice at home is not possible without expensive and complex machines as far as I know. The machine needs to freeze the water from the bottom to the top while agitating the mixture in order to not trap impurities and gases in the center of the ice and instead force these to the top/surface of the ice block to remove them. So if this thing really does work and costs $60, that's a good deal.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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This appears to simply be a stylized version of the freezing in a cooler trick. You still get cloudy ice, it's just all concentrated at the bottom where you can chisel it off.

no more 'boring' rectangular cubes!

Finally!

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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This appears to simply be a stylized version of the freezing in a cooler trick. You still get cloudy ice, it's just all concentrated at the bottom where you can chisel it off.

Finally!

I don't think you have to chisel it off. It appears as if there's a perforated insert, under which the cloudy ice forms. When you lift the top section off, the cloudy section remains at the bottom.

Is that how the cooler trick works?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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This appears to simply be a stylized version of the freezing in a cooler trick. You still get cloudy ice, it's just all concentrated at the bottom where you can chisel it off.

Finally!

I don't think you have to chisel it off. It appears as if there's a perforated insert, under which the cloudy ice forms. When you lift the top section off, the cloudy section remains at the bottom.

Is that how the cooler trick works?

I guess I'm not sure how you prevent that insert from being stuck in the middle of your final block of ice. I can't seem to find any pics on the site of ice that hasn't been chiseled in some way. If it produced one big clear cube, I'd expect to see that. The cooler trick produces a large block with clear on top and cloudy at the bottom.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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For $60, you could boil a LOT of water and get the same effect.

Not really. If you want the full skinny on what to do for clear ice, Camper English at alcademics is the man; here's his post on the hot/boiling water question. Using his research and a few attempts around here, Society members came up with a few effective methods in this topic.

From my recent blog, a surface-scratched New Years block using the insulated cooler approach:

DSC00080.JPG

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris--I was focusing on the ice-for-drinks aspect of this thing. Though I've never done it myself, first-hand reports (and at least one video) indicate that for ice-cube size pieces of ice, boiling works fine.

The manual [pdf] says that the ice compartment is 17.4x13.4cm, and that it makes 600mL of ice. This means the ice is only 2.6 cm--or about 1 inch--thick. I think this thickness can be done using boiled water and an appropriately sized pan, but I'm not sure. Camper's pint-size tubs may not be the best comparison. In fact, if you look at the size of the region of clear ice in Camper's experiments, you'll see it's about 1 inch thick.

Time to whip up a couple experiments. I'll be back in a bit.

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Time to whip up a couple experiments. I'll be back in a bit.

So I quickly boiled some tap water [analysis--PDF] and used it to make ice in my standard ice cube tray and also a pint-sized delitainer. I filled the containers right out of the pot while the water was essentially still boiling in order to minimize oxygen uptake due to agitation. And what do you know--neither produced anything like perfectly-clear ice! I guess even at the ice-cube size, the stress of freezing from the outside in causes fractures in the center of the cube. What was interesting, though, is that the boiled-water ice cubes essentially removed themselves from the ice cube tray--no twisting required.

Since it seems like unidirectional freezing (keeping the bottom of the freezing vessel warmer than the top) is important, has anyone tried floating an ice cube tray in a second tray of water while freezing (like a water bath, similar to making custards)? Maybe that could give the same effect as the cooler, except without the need for a cooler.

This is definitely a fun problem!

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The water bath idea is worth trying. Hint, hint.

I've noticed that the cubes on the outer edge of my silicone Tavolo trays are clear wherever they could expand -- the corner ones are clearest -- and cloudy where they have another cube next to them, so center cubes are cloudiest. I wonder if filling them in a checkerboard pattern would be worth trying.

OK, that's my contribution. :wink:

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I've noticed that the cubes on the outer edge of my silicone Tavolo trays are clear wherever they could expand -- the corner ones are clearest -- and cloudy where they have another cube next to them, so center cubes are cloudiest. I wonder if filling them in a checkerboard pattern would be worth trying.

I don't have a silicone ice cube tray, so the next thing I thought of for freezing water in a stretchy container: water balloons. Of course,Camper did that too, though not with degassed water. However, some photos of people freezing balloon about half-way (meaning, fill the balloon and remove when half the water is frozen) suggest that this might work.

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  • 11 months later...

I know Camper has gone to length about clear ice, and I do think that the cooler method is probably one of the easiest, but I was curious if there were more methods on making clear ice.

One question I had though was how much oxygen can be removed from water through boiling it? I know the boiling method doesn't work too well (as Camper has shown), but has anyone tried keeping the water in a vacuum so that it is not exposed to air during the freezing process? What I was thinking about was to fill a bottle completely with water, then stick that into a boiling pot, making sure that the water level in the pot is higher than the top of the bottle. After letting it boil for a while, cap the bottle (making sure this is done while the water is still boiling), and freeze it. If done properly, there shouldn't be any airspace in the bottle, preventing any air from reabsorbing into the water. This experimenter found some success in preventing some reabsorbtion (albeit, not as extreme as this experiment; just a covering in plastic wrap).

Also, it seems that the boiling method doesn't work too well on larger blocks of ice, but I've seen other sources showing that the boiling method was fairly effective for smaller ice cubes. Was there a reason for this? I would assume that there would just be a proportionally smaller cloudy center in the smaller ice cubes, but they look clear all the way through.

Finally, one other experiment that I was curious about was layering ice. Camper tried this, but not with his directional cooling method. What I wanted to try was to freeze an initial 'seed' layer (about an inch thick) in the bottom of the cooler (which would be cloudy). Then put subsequent 1/2-1 inch thick layers of ice cold water (making sure there are no chunks of ice in it) on top and stick it in the freezer with the cooler lid on. Would the water freeze from the bottom up since it is on top of the ice and relatively insulated all around? I'm wondering if any ice is formed, would it form and grow on the seed layer or float to the surface? I was thinking that since the water is freezing from the bottom up, any dissolved oxygen would be able to escape to the surface.

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