So, how do you make block ice? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-15-2016, 11:21 AM   #1
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So, how do you make block ice?

Apologies if this has been discussed. I searched and couldn't find it. Anyway, I would like to make my own block ice at home for the cooler on the road. I thought a block the size of a 1/2 gallon milk container would be about right, so I filled one with water a few inches short of the top and screwed the cap on. Sure'nuf...split the side of the carton. Should I have left the cap off until frozen? Or, is there an ideal container that won't split when frozen which will still prove leak-proof as it thaws?

Much thanks for your solutions!

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Old 08-15-2016, 11:32 AM   #2
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I have used squarish water bottles that hold a gallon or two and frozen them full from the store. They work well. Then they have good water and after thawing we can use them as drinking water. I've never had a plastic water bottle (the disposable kind) break on freezing.

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Old 08-15-2016, 11:36 AM   #3
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We freeze those gal jugs all the time
Just leave cap off

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Old 08-15-2016, 11:36 AM   #4
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Been there done that. Not all milk cartons are created equal. I have used milk cartons a lot over the years to make ice blocks and yup have had a few split but have had a fairly high success rate as well.

I tend to use only the ones made of a fairly heavy plastic and only fill about an inch below where the carton starts to narrow. Some of the large plastic jugs that juice products come in tend to be made of heavier plastic as well.

Leaving the lid off while it freezes may help as well.
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:46 AM   #5
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I use my pasta pot and my pressure cooker.
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Old 08-15-2016, 12:00 PM   #6
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water is said to expand 10% when frozen....fill accordingly....(I freeze 2L orange juice containers all the time, always with caps on and on their side with no problems)

some plastics are more brittle than others...and freezing would make them more brittle still.....experiment with different plastics

I used to freeze a large "block size" containers of water....takes freezer space and time...nuttin' to it
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Old 08-15-2016, 02:27 PM   #7
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You could always make your own PVC ice packs. Spend Less with DIY Reusable Ice Packs for Coolers

I was thinking you could keep them from rolling by laying the finished product on a belt sander to flatten one side.

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Old 08-15-2016, 03:40 PM   #8
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I have found the gallon jugs which Arizona tea comes in is s much more rugged material than a typical 1 gallon milk jug. But I also have a wide mouth gallon jug I bought at the Dollar Store or Dollar General which can easily be refilled with ice cubes.

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Old 08-16-2016, 08:58 AM   #9
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I've always used the 1/2 gal milk jugs with good results. I think they're an ideal size. I don't leave the cap off but do leave a good gap at the top. Looks like you just had bad luck and should try again.

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Old 08-16-2016, 09:16 AM   #10
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I use the Arizona tea bottles as well. They are a little thicker than milk jugs. The square shape saves space in the cooler too. When they melt I just add a couple of the cold brew ice tea bags. Double duty.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:42 AM   #11
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We use those Great Value 67 oz juice bottles. Freeze them 90% full with a loose lid and they stay nice and square for stacking or lining the fridge or cooler. They last an amazingly long time.
You can fill them with home water , tea, lemonade, etc. to provide nice cold drinks as they thaw.

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Old 08-16-2016, 05:41 PM   #12
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Try ordinary 2-liter soda pop bottles...they don't hold ANY milkfats in the plastic (since none has ever been in there) and are designed to withstand PRESSURE.

As a fun way to empty them in the first place, take the top off a full one and drop the full bottle on the floor. The pop will effervesce and shoot out the nozzle, sending the bottle zooming across the room. It's hilarious (to a 5-year old) and certainly interesting. You'll see for yourself how strong those bottles are.

We take ALL our drinking water with us in pop bottles...reused many, many times.
FEMA suggests NOT using milk cartons for drinking water. BUT here on FGRV there was a discussion of what to do to make sure the retained milkfats don't go rancid inside your bottle--don't remember what it was, but it was fairly easy and cheap.

Meanwhile, I agree, try freezing another bottle of water again, this time leaving more room at the upper end.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:09 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the good ideas. Last night I did try a number of them, with success! Tonight trying the Glad/Ziplock screw-top pint and quart containers. These are those disposable ones and would be a good fit in my smaller cooler.

On a related there any harm done by storing these ice containers in the fridge (Dometic 1.9 3way) in between being transferred to my cooler which I will use for day trips? I can't find it, but I could swear I read somewhere that you shouldn't put block ice in the fridge. Any particular reason this wouldn't work?
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:31 PM   #14
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I am an avid mtn biker and over the years I have managed to collect a few hydraton bladders from old packs (3L) which make fantastic ice blocks for my cooler.

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