The thing I like most about your fridge


Sprite+⑨!XD(重发) by 黄泉野草, on Pixiv — Tohou girl in drink, in summer

An inane and utterly bizarre thing I once said to Ruben was:

The thing I like the most about your.... fridge, is that it has ice cubes.

While a strange way of phrasing it, and out of context, the fact is still true. Lately, I’ve rediscovered a love of ice cubes, in part born from the fact that we never have any in our fridge as my parents argued the interior of our freezer was dirty, or they didn’t want to spill the water.

In my youth, there were still a few times I still attempted to create ice-blocks from paddle-pop sticks and water, like the ‘pineapple’ pops they used to have at my primary school while was frozen pineapple juice on a stick. But to my disappointment, my parents told me they ‘exploded’, though I had no idea what they meant at the time. Ice expands.

Regardless, most times I still managed to get my fix whenever we went to fast food restaurants, like McDonalds. In the past we would have fast food once a week because Saturdays were so jam-packed with extra-curriculars (for me), there was no time to cook. When my dad finished off the cup of soft drink (it was always way too fizzy for me), I would grab the cup, take the lid off and crunch on the ice left behind.

In a way I think ice satisfies me in the same way boiled or hard lollies do. Ice is probably healthier though.

Cloudy/Clear Ice

An interesting phenomenon

The ice we usually see in fast food drink containers and a lot of the time in bags and bags at supermarkets is usually clear, whereas the ice coming out of our freezers is more often than not cloudy in the middle. Personally I quite like the cloudy effects, but it’s still intriguing how the ice you see in some photos can often be totally clear.

Let’s have a quote to see why this happens:

When water begins to freeze, a thin layer of ice starts to form on top. This is made from pure water as pure water freezes quicker than impure water.

The pure water becomes solid while the minerals and gases are still in a solution state. The rest of the liquid freezes slowly from the outside to inside. The centre of an ice cube is what freezes last.

There are layers of increasing concentration of impurities towards its centre. This concentration of gases results in light being refracted through the piece of ice causing it to look cloudy. Sometimes, the gases dissolved in the solution release in the form of microscopic bubbles which freeze as the ice freezes. You can also see these frozen bubbles if they are formed, inside the ice cubes.

Additionally:

Another reason for the white color may be traces of calcium carbonate or impurities, which are small and flaky in appearance but are completely harmless.

I personally find the ice cubes easier to find in my drink if they’re a little cloudy, because I like to fish them out and eat them before the drink is finished. But when all is said and done they are cubes (or thereabouts). So there are no special features on it I want to see — usually.

Star Trek Starfleet Ice Tray from ThinkGeek

Claraty and Clarity

If, for some reason, I had the Star Trek Starfleet ice tray however, I’m sure I would be more invested in seeing the finer details on it, in which case a clear ice cube would certainly help. How is this done?

Apparently boiling will do the trick (as in image above), although some say filtering prior to that helps also. As does boiling twice, but who has the time… Boiling takes out the dissolved gases in the water and decomposes minerals that usually cause that cloudy look. Don’t forget to cool before adding to the ice tray so you don’t melt it instead; no better way to cloud your ice.

Another method is using bottled water which usually has been purified, or distilled water. Or you could also use a combination of all three if you’re particularly invested in having the most pure looking ice.

There are other ways too, but they seem much more troublesome, if not just as, so I’ll leave it for you to explore. Especially when I have other items in my freezer other than just, well, ice.

Companies selling ice use a combination of distilled water and the slow-freezing method in the link above:

Ice makers are able to achieve a clear, see-through effect by distilling water, then freezing it in stages, and by using a mechanism that allows bubbles to be washed away as ice cubes develop.

I wouldn’t have expected that something as simple as freezing ice could have so much procedure to it, but I guess it all depends on your tastes. For me, water from the tap is fine, because the patterns in the ice can be pretty. But if you want clear ice, you have to go the extra mile.

As for the promotional photos for novelty ice cube trays though, I have a sneaking suspicion more often than not what is pictured there is simply clear resin anyway, but that’s not the first time marketing would have non-consumable ingredients in photography.

Illust by 黄泉野草, on Pixiv. Not mine.