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Bags of ice for a party.

Photo: Matylda Laurence (Shutterstock)

No matter how prolific your ice-making system, you will, at some point or another, need to grab a bag of ice for a party, meeting, or some other event that requires you serve cold drinks to many people. And, whether you buy the good ice, or the standard cracked stuff, there is one thing you should never do—and that is store it in the bag.

My disdain for that bag is second only to my disdain for people who rip the bag open, shove their hands down into the bag, then fold or twist the ripped bag and put the bag in the freezer. Then, every time they desire more ice, they take the bag out of the freezer, and shove their grubby little hand back in the bag and rifle around until they find a few chunks of frozen water.

The grubby hand is actually the least offensive part of this whole song and dance. The most offensive part is the ice abuse. Taking the infernal bag out of the fridge and sticking your hand in its infernal hole simply takes too long. It gives the ice time to melt and get wet, which is the opposite of what you want ice to do. That tiny bit of meltage then refreezes, fusing your ice together into one unwieldy block. (You know the block. It’s the one you smash on the edge of your kitchen counter.)

There really is no need for all of this. All you need to do is get the ice out of the bag and into an ice bin. It doesn’t even need to be a proper ice bin—any freezer-safe container will do. Dump the ice into the container, set the container in the freezer, and close the freezer. Then, when you need ice, remove it with clean hands (or some tongs, if your hands are to grimy for your taste).

In addition to getting a damn ice bin, there is one other step you can take to protect the integrity of your frozen water, and prevent the formation of the dreaded Big Fused Block: Take a cooler to the store, and get that bag of ice in the cooler as soon as you pay for it. This will keep your ice cold and dry on the trip home, and dry ice is happy ice.



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