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Old 07-07-2006, 08:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Have ice cubes changed over time?

I don't mean specific ice cubes, I mean ice cubes in general. I seem to remember my grandparent's ice cubes being very clear and HARD as rocks. You couldn't bite into them without hurting your teeth. They were big and clunky.

My ice cube maker thing now puts out ice cubes that are very dense and white on the very center, but clear and watery on the edges. They're pretty wimpy. It seems like my parent's ice cubes were about half way between -- they used ice cube trays. Square and solid, but not teeth-breaking.

My office has an OLD "ice-making machine" that I used to fill my Nalgene with today, and it had the old hard-as-nails ice cubes.

Have you noticed a change in the consistency of ice cubes over your lifetime or is just me being paranoid?
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It probably has more to do with the variation in freezers and makers than some conspiracy theory to soften our vital fluids.

A real cold freezer and cubes frozen in trays will make very solid cubes. An automatic ice cube maker in a slightly warmer freezer will result in softer, "wimpier" cubes. But there's no reason you couldn't turn up your freezer and buy some trays and make the old-school ones.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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How much are they paying you?
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How solid and how clear it is depends on how much air is in it and how fast it cools - Fast freezing ice cubes (31 degrees and that area) would be brittle and airy, like most of your ice machines that are apart of your fridge.

An old school ice machine probably freezes them at much lower temperatures and the water that it freezes it in is probably all connected so that no air can get into the machine where the water is (unlike one you would find in a freezer that's in a fridge)

Just a guess, though
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I would say its more likely the crap that's in the water these days that makes it different. Chlorine, fluoride, chemicals to keep the pipes free of build-up...
The 'white' in ice cubes is minerals. Thus, ice made from tap water would vary from place to place as much as the water does.
Pure distilled water makes clear ice. I use filtered water for mine.
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As a dedicated (addicted?) ice-cruncher, I prefer the wimpier ice cubes. I have at least as many different descriptors for ice as eskimos have for snow I hate the hard cubes, but love the slushy granuly ice from ice machines in restaurants. My favorite kind, though, is a very aerated ice cube that is split and results in a yielding texture that just about melts as you crunch it. Perfection. Mmm....
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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How stuff works: How do you make clear ice cubes?
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurkette
As a dedicated (addicted?) ice-cruncher, I prefer the wimpier ice cubes. I have at least as many different descriptors for ice as eskimos have for snow I hate the hard cubes, but love the slushy granuly ice from ice machines in restaurants. My favorite kind, though, is a very aerated ice cube that is split and results in a yielding texture that just about melts as you crunch it. Perfection. Mmm....
Personally I prefer the harder ones, especially the kinds out of industrial-size ice machines. My favorites are the squares that aren't more than half an inch thick. I also really like the ones that are sort of shaped like thimbles, with one end closed, so you can suck the ice on to the tip of your tongue. Out of all the fast-food ice, I prefer the ice from McDonalds: it is square with sort of a dome-shaped dimension to it, so it's not a perfect 3-D square. I hate ice from the home icemaker--it always tastes funny to me. Yuck.

Yes, I chew a lot of ice.
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Old 07-07-2006, 11:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter
I would say its more likely the crap that's in the water these days that makes it different. Chlorine, fluoride, chemicals to keep the pipes free of build-up...
The 'white' in ice cubes is minerals. Thus, ice made from tap water would vary from place to place as much as the water does.
Pure distilled water makes clear ice. I use filtered water for mine.
Close but no cigar.

The white in ice is disolved gasses coming out of solution as the temperature falls.

The ammount of gasses that will be disolved into the water in the first place is a function of hardness (i.e. mineral content), so the white is not the ACTUAL minerals, but is seen more in mineral rich water.

As has been said already, many of the minerals in water are denatured or driven out by boiling (this is called "temporary hardness") leaving only a smaller portion of the total ("permanent hardness"), also boiling drives off some of the disolved gasses. This is why freshly boiled water makes clearer cubes.
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Old 07-07-2006, 12:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
My ice cube maker thing now puts out ice cubes that are very dense and white on the very center, but clear and watery on the edges. They're pretty wimpy. It seems like my parent's ice cubes were about half way between -- they used ice cube trays. Square and solid, but not teeth-breaking.
Nah. Back in the 60's and '70s my parent's fridge put out just the kind of cubes you're talking about -- dense and white in the middle, clear and watery on the edge. From ice cubes trays in their old, no-frills Frigidaire.

So it's just the nature/capabilities of whatever fridge you have in mind. If you want, you can pay large money for a frig that makes clear ice, hard, dry ice cubes (like a SubZero) but why bother?
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Old 07-07-2006, 12:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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cold, hard, water? is there a problem here? have the principles of physics and the nature of matter changed in the past few hundred years?
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Old 07-07-2006, 01:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_
Close but no cigar.

The white in ice is disolved gasses coming out of solution as the temperature falls.

The ammount of gasses that will be disolved into the water in the first place is a function of hardness (i.e. mineral content), so the white is not the ACTUAL minerals, but is seen more in mineral rich water.

As has been said already, many of the minerals in water are denatured or driven out by boiling (this is called "temporary hardness") leaving only a smaller portion of the total ("permanent hardness"), also boiling drives off some of the disolved gasses. This is why freshly boiled water makes clearer cubes.
Damn, I thought I sounded good & everything!
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Old 07-07-2006, 02:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Man... This makes me miss those old aluminum ice trays with the levers for some reason.

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Old 07-07-2006, 04:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Psycho Dad
Man... This makes me miss those old aluminum ice trays with the levers for some reason.
That's the kind I grew up with. Lift the handle, break 'em all loose, then lift the dividers out and you've got a tray of ice cubes all ready to go. None of this twist-the-plastic-tray-and-dump-half-the-cubes-on-the-floor nonsense :-).
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
That's the kind I grew up with. Lift the handle, break 'em all loose, then lift the dividers out and you've got a tray of ice cubes all ready to go. None of this twist-the-plastic-tray-and-dump-half-the-cubes-on-the-floor nonsense :-).

Or break the whole damn tray in-half
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Old 07-07-2006, 05:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney
That's the kind I grew up with. Lift the handle, break 'em all loose, then lift the dividers out and you've got a tray of ice cubes all ready to go. None of this twist-the-plastic-tray-and-dump-half-the-cubes-on-the-floor nonsense :-).
I've done that so many times..
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Old 07-08-2006, 04:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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My understanding also is that the white is air.

I would expect that the solubility of air in water decreases with the temperature. As the water cools the air comes out of solution ("un-dissolves" ok) making it visible.

The problem for cube makers I guess, is that the freezes from the outside first - trapping the air.

I have heard that cooling the water slower helps. I like Daniels_ suggestion also, to boil the water first. Finally and interestingly - have you noticed that in catering/bars the cubes are usually donut shaped. I always thought this was to increase surface area (and cooling ability). It occurs to me that this will make them look better too.
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Old 07-09-2006, 04:36 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I used to get some clear ice cubes that were square and hollowed out in one side so they looked like a miniature shot glass. I can't remember where I got them but I always liked them.

Sonic(the fast food drive-in place) uses small balls of ice which is really nice to chew on.
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:44 AM   #19 (permalink)
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An otherwise edible clean ice cube is cloudy from entrapped air. The technique and machinery for making ice cubes free of entrapped air gets a little more complicated and expensive than just quickly shooting out clean cubes for drinking or other food related cooling purposes. How to do it is common knowledge in the ice making industry but if it's not generally important enough to warrant the cost, it isn't done.
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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my parents house has a little wet bar and the ice maker makes the clear hard cubes

it has a metal plate that water flows over and freezes to. After the ice has reached a certain thickness the metal plate heats up and the plate of ice slides onto a grid of wires which warm up and slice the ice into 3/4inch square pieces

I love the ice that it makes


the curved ones that most ice makers make always turn so the curve fits into my cup blocking the flow of my drink!
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