HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Buying bags of ice

I've become dependent on the ice you have to buy! I feel a little guilty every time I do it. One day my regular source was out of ice, and I drove around until I found a convenience store that sold it. I have plenty of ice cube trays, but the ice I buy just tastes better. It even tastes better the the cubes from daughter's ice maker fridge. The only problem is that there's always a big chunk of frozen cubes in the bag. I solve that by bashing the bag on the sidewalk before I put it into my freezer. I hope I'm not alone in being such a pill about ice!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Everyone I know buys ice at some point. You have a party, you buy several bags of ice. What's wrong with that? People buy bottled water all the time.

    1. The funniest thing about purchasing ice is the slogan one brand puts on the bag and their trucks: "Packaged ice is a food!"

      Thank you.

      1. I think it's because they come in chip shapes, and I swear they manage to get some air into them as well. Homemade ice is too solid.

        Perhaps there needs to be a home cooking post about making chipped ice.

        1. I have to agree that for flavor, bagged ice beats home-frozen tap water every time. Even if they start with the same tap water, their method of freezing from the inside out (hence the cylindrical shape) seems to keep the impurities out, while freezing the same water in an ice cube tray freezes them into a cloud in the middle of the cube.

          Bashing on the sidewalk is also my favorite method of separation when there has been some melting and refreezing in the bag. I do try to pick the loosest cubes in the store's freezer, though.

          1. Don't feel bad. My husband and I buy all our ice too. In fact, it's always a sad day at our house when we get home from a long day at work and realize we're out of ice and have to do a "paper, rock, scissors" to decide who has to go back out to buy a bag of ice!

            We also do the slamming the bag on the kitchen floor to break it up. Once the bag is open in the freezer, we also use a steel meat pounder as a hammer from outside the bag to break up the big chunks of ice.

            If only I could find a source where I could buy a bag of pellet ice. If you're from the south, you know what I'm talking about. We used to call it rabbit poop ice when I was a kid - it's the same shape as little rabbit turds. And, is the perfect crushed ice texture to just melt in your mouth.

            2 Replies
            1. re: DC Gal

              hahahah - So glad to know we aren't the only couple doing rock paper scissors to figure out who does a chore.

              To the OP - what about trying ice cubes made from filtered water (like Brita)?

              1. re: DC Gal

                Union ice in Van Nuys sells the pellet ice as well as cubes and crushed.

              2. We are big ice buyers too. I just think cocktails taste "cleaner" somehow. Plus I would never be able to supply enough for a party so buying is a must for those occasions. However the one type of ice I keep in my freezer all summer long is made from homemade lemonade and/or limeade. Great for ice teas, lemonade, even gin or vodka tonics. Keeps them from getting watery!

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodieX2

                  I'm with you on the cocktails comment. My SO is a bit of a drink snob and prefers the store bought ice, I agree the drinks taste better. We did recently buy some of those rubber ice cube trays in a variety of shapes from IKEA that are a lot of fun. Our favorite shape is this sort of cylindrical stick which is fun to chomp on with a bloody mary. Don't you all wish they had home ice delivery like they do bottled water!

                2. I buy ice quite a bit as well. Mostly for parties or even when just a friend or two are over. I really prefer it for drinks on the rocks, cocktails and juices I use home made ice. When I remember to, I make ice from Brita filtered water, but I tend to forget for some reason. The ice from filtered water usually comes out clear and tastier. I think because the dissolved air has had a chance to come out during the filtering process.

                  1. Bashing it on the sidewalk is not an option here in Phoenix, unless we would like to pick up a bag of ice water ;-)

                    The water around here tastes less than stellar (and that's putting things nicely), so bottled water and ice stores do quite well. One of the local ice making companies, Crystal Ice, makes the most wonderful, big, perfect ice cubes, the kind you expect to have when you order a drink on the rocks.

                    1. Are you aware that get a 20lb bag from an ice company like Union Ice costs only $4.00? They are open 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. Here is a link as an example.


                      1. hey guys
                        homemade freezer ice tastes funny cuz of the food in your fridge/freezer. those odors will slowly permeate anything porous in there, especially the unwrapped ice cube tray. worse yet, ice traps air in its crystalline structure as it freezes.

                        store bought ice is already solid when you toss it in, so no worries there.

                        baking soda is supposed to help, and i suppose activated carbon might too.


                        1. I had no idea so many folks buy ice for their own use. I thought it was pretty much something you bought for a party. I feel better!

                          I actually do remember (though barely) the iceman. I lived on an island off the coast of Maine, and we had an ice box. A real treat was being given a shard of ice to suck on in the summer time.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Pat Hammond

                            Well, I will admit- I remember the ice man, too. I grew up in a suburb of Boston, and remember the ice man, the knife sharpening man, the milk man and the coal man. Whew- now I feel my age!

                            1. re: Pat Hammond

                              My father was an ice man when he was a teenager. The worst part of the job was that he was in the Bronx and had to carry these giant blocks of ice up many staircases. I found an antique ice grabber at an antique shop once and gave it to him, and he was very touched by it.

                              My grandmother always called her electric refrigerator the ice box until she passed in the 1980s.

                              Haha replying to an OLD thread, but what the heck.

                            2. I think you're right, it does taste better but I also only buy it for parties.

                              On the topic of homemade ice, does anyone else do what my dad always did before we had an ice maker? He would open the top of a half gallon milk carton (the wax coated paper kind), wash it, fill with water and freeze it, and then to get ice we'd have to chop into the sides of the milk carton with an ice pick, to get a bunch of chips, which we'd just kind of "pour" into our drinks.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Chris VR

                                It's hard for us to remember a time when ice picks were used to chop ice instead of as a murder weapon.

                                1. re: Dave Feldman

                                  That's just what I was I was thinking when I reAD Pat's original post: that she wouldn't have to bash her bag of ice on the ice on the sidewlk if she had an icewalk, but that no one has ice picks anymore except movie murderers.

                                  I always find it really neat (and truly rare, of course), when) I'm served a drink whith ice chips instead of cubes. They have a completely different feel in the mouth. I've never lived anywhwere with a refririgerator that had an ice maker, and I've only ever bought ice for parties, but I've contemplated buying ice cube trays that make mini ice cubes (like this: shttp://www.wdrake.com/product_detail.aspx?)a...

                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    I have that tray and don't particularly care for it. If you overfill it all (easy to do) the ice doesn't want to come out.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I used to have that tray, was a lot of fun.

                                  2. re: Chris VR

                                    I have done similarly, often!
                                    But now I live in an apartment with a filtered-water ice maker in the fridge. And for parties, I stockpile ice :)

                                  3. As a true American, I assert my right to have an obsession about ice. I love ice and find that its size, shape, and taste has a huge impact on my enjoyment of many drinks. I usually rely on my icemaker ice, but I dislike the crescent shape, which was designed not for the consumer but for the ease of the manufacturer.

                                    What I really miss is shaved ice in restaurants, which were fashioned from huge blocks of ice. Something about the irregular shape made drinking a Coke or iced tea more fun.

                                    1. I'm going to start buying ice.....i hate freezer cube trays.

                                      just got to make sure its fresh...maybe use an ice pick?

                                      1. I love ice... I must have lots of ice..(1) when I first dated my husband he had no icemaker just a few trays- I would never come over without a bag of ice for the weekend (2) even with three freezers in the house -we keep a cooler full of ice and beer/sodas going on the weekend- bottles sitting in very icy water means very cold drinks.

                                        1. Ice makers on your frig are so worth the money. No water in the floor and there is always ice. I have had one on every frig for 40 years. My new Maytag has a special water filter and that does makes a difference in the taste.

                                          But for a large party, I buy ice. I never remember to bag ice before the party.

                                          1. You may want to consider investing in a stand alone ice maker. Like these folks did. http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsne...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: TalkToElle

                                              Reading that blog entry, they didn't invest in it, they got it as a freebie for writing a rave blog entry on it. They sell for $3,660- $4,153. WAY too expensive!