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OT - Clear ice spheres - How do you do it?

paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
I’ve been looking into making clear ice for a while now and finally decided to order a Dexas ice-ology two ice sphere maker set.  I’ve done 4 batches so far and I’m pretty happy with it.  It does deliver on its promise of clear ice but I had to use filtered water that has been pre-boiled despite the manufacturer’s claim that it is unnecessary.   My experience with plain tap water has resulted in mostly clear ice with some « lines » of small air bubbles.  It is purely cosmetic but my goal was clear ice and I have achieved that using their ice maker kit when using pre-boiled filtered water.

Pros:
-Really produces crystal clear ice when using pre-boiled filtered water.
-Looks like good quality materials that will last for long (other than the sticker and edges of the silicone molds)
-Super easy to remove the frozen silicone molds from the plastic container and the ice balls from the silicone molds.
-Easy to remove the “dirty” ice that gets trapped at the bottom of the plastic container.  After removing the silicone molds that contain the frozen clear ice balls, the “dirty” (dissolved gas and impurities) ice at the bottom of the plastic container can easily be removed/melted by running warm water in the mold after removing it from the styrofoam base.  Difficulty removing the “dirty” ice is the main source of bad reviews and I can’t figure out why because this is so easy...  The instructions even suggest microwaving the plastic container. Again, I can’t understand why someone would want to do that when it is so easy to just let some warm water running in the plastic container for a minute...
-Perfect size ice ball that are fitting perfectly in old fashioned glasses and easy to store in small Glad containers in the freezer.

Cons:
-Expensive (50$CDN) for what it is (Insulating styrofoam base, plastic container, and silicone mold.
-Some minor defects in the silicone mold outer edges (no impact other than I’m OCD and it annoys me)
-The sticker was not properly applied to the styrofoam base and fell off after the first use which resulted in minor cosmetic damage on the base (again, I’m OCD...)
-Silicone molds have a chemical smell despite having been washed with hot soapy water a few times.  Hopefully it will get better with time but it does not transfer to the ice.
-There are two protruding nibs of ice that need to be melted with a warm spoon at the extremities of the ice ball after removing from the silicone molds to obtain perfect spheres.




 




____________________
Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
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Comments

  • Very cool... but why do your spheres need to be clear?
  • AcnAcn Posts: 3,719
    I have found that the hotter the water when I put it into the molds, the clearer it is.

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    Very cool... but why do your spheres need to be clear?
    Presentation 
  • Very cool... but why do your spheres need to be clear?
    Presentation 
    I get that.... it’s just that I don’t think that the average bear would appreciate it, let alone notice. Besides, if you're serving the right stuff, ice is not required (joke. I understand that a good cocktail can benefit from ice; I just hope these spheres are not destined for brown water).
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    Very cool... but why do your spheres need to be clear?
    Presentation 
    I get that.... it’s just that I don’t think that the average bear would appreciate it, let alone notice. Besides, if you're serving the right stuff, ice is not required (joke. I understand that a good cocktail can benefit from ice; I just hope these spheres are not destined for brown water).
    We are more along the lines of deviants and misfits. 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    edited January 2020
    The sphere shape maximizes the cooling surface area VS a cube.

    Clear ice melts slower than cloudy ice which reduces dilution.

    ...and because I can 😂😂😂

    It is bringing the cocktail to the next level 😳

    Did I mention I’m a bit OCD?

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    isn’t clear ice spheres on everyone’s life goals list? 🤔

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    I’m an overachiever (my wife might disagree)! 😂😂😂

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    edited January 2020
    paqman said:
    isn’t clear ice spheres on everyone’s life goals list? 🤔
    I appreciate your balls  ;)
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    paqman said:
    isn’t clear ice spheres on everyone’s life goals list? 🤔
    I appreciate your balls  ;)
    that makes one of you, thanks for the morale support 😂

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 13,539
    I use a similar system of directional freezing and tap water for spheres. I feel the results are great. I also directional freeze in a small cooler and cut the cubes myself. They have some character. Also have altered a silicone cube mold (put holes in bottom)and used the cooler for more uniform cubes. 
  • saluki2007saluki2007 Posts: 5,561
    I buy RO water from the store and have good luck with that. 
    Large and Small BGE
    Central, IL

  • jdMyersjdMyers Posts: 693
    boil the water first and it's clear every time. 
    Columbus, Ohio
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 13,539
    It’s only clear if you directionally freeze it. Then it really doesn’t make much difference what water you use. 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    edited January 2020
    It’s only clear if you directionally freeze it. Then it really doesn’t make much difference what water you use. 
    I’ve tried regular tap water, filtered tap water and distilled water without boiling first: without the  directional freezing kit, it always resulted in cloudy ice.  Boiling first helped but the ice was still cloudy with lots of imperfections.

    The directional freezing kit helps achieve almost clear ice regardless of the water.  Boiling the water gives it the finishing touch and eliminates almost all imperfections.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • SonVoltSonVolt Posts: 3,014
    edited January 2020
    The only way to get clear ice with the home kits is to use the ones that have a bottom reservoir underneath the mold that traps & freezes the impurities separate from the cube/sphere. It helps to use hot water b/c 1) it has less trapped oxygen and 2) it slows down the freezing process. The Styrofoam insulation also helps slow down the freezing on the bottom and sides so it freezes from top to bottom. As ice freezes the heavier impurities are pushed down towards the bottom of the cube. Now here's where that separate bottom reservoir helps you, If there's a drain hole in the bottom of the mold this impure water will be pushed through and out of the mold, so it won't be included in your finished cube. 

    If you've ever watched Frozen with your kids you've seen this in action. It's why they could cut ice cubes off the surface of a lake and not worry about the ice melt making you sick. The impurities didn't freeze, they were pushed down into the water below during the freezing process, leaving a crystal clear pure layer of ice. 
    South of Nashville  -  BGE XL  -  Alfresco 42" ALXE  -  Alfresco Versa Burner  - Sunbeam Microwave 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    SonVolt said:
     
    It's why they could cut ice cubes off the surface of a lake and not worry about the ice melt making you sick. The impurities didn't freeze, they were pushed down into the water below during the freezing process. 
    I learn everyday!  Thanks for sharing.  I haven’t watch frozen.  I just told the wife that I’d like to watch it tonight.  She wants to know why 👀.  Is it ok you think if I tell her that a guy on my BBQ forum told me that it would help me understand the science behind my clear ice balls pursuit? 😂😂😂

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • SonVoltSonVolt Posts: 3,014
    ha, go for it. I learned all this recently from Dave Arnold's cocktail book - Liquid Intelligence. 
    South of Nashville  -  BGE XL  -  Alfresco 42" ALXE  -  Alfresco Versa Burner  - Sunbeam Microwave 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    I’ve had the book for years but never ended up reading it until a few weeks ago.  It is the reason why I ended up ordering the kit.  

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • SonVoltSonVolt Posts: 3,014
    Nice! I listen to his podcast, Cooking Issues every Tuesday... he's by far my favorite food "celeb" post-Bourdain. He's like Kenji with a better personality. 
    South of Nashville  -  BGE XL  -  Alfresco 42" ALXE  -  Alfresco Versa Burner  - Sunbeam Microwave 
  • LetsEatLetsEat Posts: 338
    edited January 2020
    Luxardo cherries.  :)
    IL 
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    LetsEat said:
    Luxardo cherries.  :)
    You’ve got good eyes.  We have a connoisseur on the forum 😀

    Those babies are hard to find, I’ve got the last 5 jars I could find in Ottawa and apparently they won’t be back in stock until next Christmas 😳

    For those who don’t know, your life is incomplete until you had Luxardo cherries.

    @LetsEat I just found Luxardo cherry syrup 😳



    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 2,651
    Camper English (Alcademics) probably has done more research about clear ice than anyone. If you haven't already, check it out:

    https://www.alcademics.com/index-of-ice-experiments-on-alcademics.html

    This was also interesting:

    https://www.alcademics.com/2010/08/a-homemade-giant-crystal-clear-ice-cube-tray.html
  • BotchBotch Posts: 11,721
    I'm still not understanding what "directional freezing" is.  
     
    I do know that water freezes clear if its in motion when it changes phase; you'll see clear ice on a river more often than on a pond.  Also, some commercial ice makers flow water over a chilling plate that is just off of level, so the water flows slowly.  Once a sheet of ice is built up thick enough to cut, a grid of heating wires then fires up and the sheet slowly falls through as cubes.  At least, that's how the Whirlpool machines worked, 35 years ago.  

    ____________________________________________
    "When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent."
      - Isaac Asimov  
            
  • paqmanpaqman Posts: 3,689
    Botch said:

    I'm still not understanding what "directional freezing" is.  
     

    Bottom of the kit is a styrofoam enclosure so the ice freezes from the top down “pushing” dissolved gaz and impurities toward the bottom of the silicone mold which then escape through a small hole in the silicone mold and end up in the plastic container.  The clear ice stays in the silicone mold, the “dirty” ice is trapped at the bottom in the plastic container.

    ____________________
    Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage. •Niccolo Machiavelli
  • BotchBotch Posts: 11,721
    Ah. Tan que!  
    ____________________________________________
    "When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent."
      - Isaac Asimov  
            
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,803
    edited January 2020
    As I understand it, this is directional freezing. Container is insulated on all sides, but the lid is removed. Water freezes from the top down. This guy seems to have it figured out. He cuts to the chase at about the 5 minute mark. He doesn't make or mention spheres, but he makes some impressive hand cut cubes! His equipment is a $10 cooler (if you use his Amazon link), a bread knife and a hammer.


    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • BotchBotch Posts: 11,721
    And while we're on an unusual subject, I spent most of my adult life trying to find true "easy-release" ice cube trays.  Some work better than others; I had high hopes for the new silicone trays, but found them to be worse/slower.
    Finally tried some plain-ol', white plastic Rubbermaids, and half the time I don't even have to twist them; the cubes just fall out when I turn them over.
     
    Just in case any other Luddites on the site that still use ice cube trays....  ;)
    ____________________________________________
    "When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent."
      - Isaac Asimov  
            
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 13,539
    As I understand it, this is directional freezing. Container is insulated on all sides, but the lid is removed. Water freezes from the top down. This guy seems to have it figured out. He cuts to the chase at about the 5 minute mark. He doesn't make or mention spheres, but he makes some impressive hand cut cubes! His equipment is a $10 cooler (if you use his Amazon link), a bread knife and a hammer.


    I do the cooler stuff. Works great. It’s a bit of work but minimal to square the bottom up where it was freezing. 
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