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Old 07-12-2014, 11:33 PM
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I need large blocks of ice every day; what kind of containers can I use that won't break?

Every day I routinely use a couple of large ice blocks to keep our cats' water chilled. Not only do they like it that way, but we think it's better for them as well. Ice cubes don't work very well because however many you put in the water, they'll invariably melt inside of an hour; by contrast, a large ice block will take several hours to melt completely. We also find ice blocks convenient when we want to quickly chill some water for ourselves. I've been using three square 15-oz containers that originally held Smart Balance margarine, but today one of them broke in the freezer so I'm down to two. I've also tried reusable plastic containers minus the lids, but they, too, invariably break after a few freezing cycles.

I understand that water expands when it freezes, so I'm not altogether surprised that I'm having issues, though I had hoped that if the mass of water was free to expand in one direction, that would be sufficient.

Is there any kind of container that I can use which won't break inside of a month?
Old 07-12-2014, 11:39 PM
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If you have the freezer space, a small Pyrex (glass) or metal loaf pan should work just fine.
I'd go with glass just so it doesn't rust after a while, but you won't be able to just toss them in the freezer, they'll have to be able to sit in there flat.

They also make things like this which are bigger then cupcakes, they're supposed to make very small breads, they might still be too small though.

Last edited by Joey P; 07-12-2014 at 11:40 PM.
Old 07-12-2014, 11:56 PM
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I've never used them for making ice but how about those silicon baking pans? Something like this or this or these. They're tough but flexible so I don't see them breaking. They make silicone freezing trays so they're apparently okay in the freezer (but you might want to make sure they use the same material for baking and freezing).
Old 07-13-2014, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
I've never used them for making ice but how about those silicon baking pans? Something like this or this or these. They're tough but flexible so I don't see them breaking. They make silicone freezing trays so they're apparently okay in the freezer (but you might want to make sure they use the same material for baking and freezing).
That gave me another idea. How about just using zip lock bags. You could use whatever size suits your needs (I'm thinking quart or gallon). Fill it up about halfway, zip lock it, then toss them all in a bowl (just in case one leaks before it freezes). I bet you'll get plenty of uses out of them and if they do break, they're pretty cheap.
Old 07-13-2014, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
They also make things like this which are bigger then cupcakes, they're supposed to make very small breads, they might still be too small though.
Actually I think these would be perfect. Now that I think about it, even a standard cupcake mold would probably work too. I haven't baked cupcakes in my life, don't own a cupcake mold, and therefore didn't think of the possibility of using one.
Old 07-13-2014, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
Actually I think these would be perfect. Now that I think about it, even a standard cupcake mold would probably work too. I haven't baked cupcakes in my life, don't own a cupcake mold, and therefore didn't think of the possibility of using one.
Use the silicone ones that Little Nemo mentioned. The ice won't stick and you'll be able to pop one out at time since you won't have to flip the whole thing over to get them out. You might even be able to refill the empty spots...or it might be really unwieldy without some kind of tray under it...maybe just get one that only makes six at a time.

Last edited by Joey P; 07-13-2014 at 12:39 AM.
Old 07-13-2014, 01:19 AM
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A plastic milk jug or 2-liter soda bottle that you cut to the size you want?
Old 07-13-2014, 02:01 AM
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Stainless steel bowls.
Old 07-13-2014, 09:06 AM
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:45 AM
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Water balloons.
Old 07-13-2014, 11:03 AM
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It might be easiest for you to just get a second water bowl and keep one in the freezer. You can alternate them out as needed. When you take the frozen bowl out of the freezer, pour a small layer of water over the ice block so the kitty will have chilled water to drink, and the rest will melt over the course of the day.

Anyway, why do you say it's better for the cats to have chilled water? I understand that they might like it more, but I've never heard of health benefits.
Old 07-13-2014, 11:15 AM
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Milk jugs have expansion depressions, and can be frozen many times. They will also not melt as quickly, as the ice remains inside the jug. Just put the frozen jug in the bowl of fresh water, and every night, throw it back in the freeazer. Half-gallon jugs should be about right.

Last edited by jtur88; 07-13-2014 at 11:16 AM.
Old 07-13-2014, 12:02 PM
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They do make chilled pet bowls, you know. Here's one example.
Old 07-13-2014, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
That gave me another idea. How about just using zip lock bags. You could use whatever size suits your needs (I'm thinking quart or gallon). Fill it up about halfway, zip lock it, then toss them all in a bowl (just in case one leaks before it freezes). I bet you'll get plenty of uses out of them and if they do break, they're pretty cheap.
I did try this, and the bag broke after two or three freezing cycles. Also, with a bag it's hard to produce a block of a suitably compact shape.

chacoguy a small stainless pet dish would probably be perfect, and I need to get a few more of those anyhow.
Old 07-13-2014, 04:08 PM
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I rotate through several big containers os ice daily that I use to chill fresh milk, and I have found that 2 liter soda bottles hold up much better than grocery store milk jugs. The milk jugs seem to develop leaks after 2 or 3 weeks of use, but I have soda bottles I have been using for a year or so with no leaks.
Old 07-13-2014, 04:16 PM
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Pyrex has small bowls that would be good for this. I see them in the grocery stores in packages of four and in two different sizes (about 1 cup and 1 1/2 cup, I guess.) I've gotten mine from thrifts stores, though. They always seem to have small casserole dishes that hold maybe 2 to 2 1/2 cups, as well.
Old 07-13-2014, 08:34 PM
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Ice cream containers ? They were made to hold icecream.. You can tell the ones which are thicker stronger, more an elastic, material .. the thin margarine style container is not so elastic as you found out.

Last edited by Isilder; 07-13-2014 at 08:36 PM.
Old 07-14-2014, 07:00 AM
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Plastic milk jugs/juice bottles or even soft drink bottles work. I have a couple that have been in rotation for years
Old 07-18-2014, 11:01 AM
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My grandparents used to freeze ice in the 1/2 gallon paper milk cartons. Whenever they needed the ice they just peeled the paper off so it wouldn't be reusable solution, but if you go through milk fast enough then you could keep up.
Old 07-18-2014, 11:48 AM
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If you used one of these gravity-fed waterers that takes a two-liter bottle, you could rotate a couple of bottles in the freezer. You just top the bottle off with water and screw it into the holder.

StG
Old 07-20-2014, 10:13 PM
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The extra pet bowls are working great, producing perfect frustra of ice that will last for hours in the cats' water dish.
Old 07-22-2014, 12:43 PM
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That's why cats love toilet water, it is already chilled. One of our kitties would stand on her hind legs and dip a paw into the toilet then lick her paw. I learned also to put a lid on the water I kept on my night stand as I heard her one night helping herself to my water.
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