Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Block Ice or Cube Ice? What's the Best for your Business?

**This is an excerpt from our Shaved Ice Business Manual. If you'd like to read more information about using cube ice or block ice, please go to 1-800-Shaved-Ice.com and request our business manual.

Regular cube ice, also called bag ice, should be readily available in your area. Look in your local yellow pages for ice suppliers. Your local ice wholesaler may deliver the ice directly to you. At first you may have to use your own freezer for storage but as your business builds and your ice volume increases, your ice supplier may provide an outdoor ice merchandiser for storage.

While cube ice is fairly consistent throughout the country, block ice comes in two very different forms. There is compressed block ice and solid block ice. DO NOT USE COMPRESSED BLOCK ICE FOR SHAVED ICE MACHINES. Compressed block ice is made at ice plants by forcing large chunks of ice or crushed ice into compression molds. This type of block ice does not provide a smooth shaving surface for your block shaver. Compressed block ice usually is filled with air spaces and will not produce good shaved ice.

Solid block ice is the preferred form of block ice for use in the shaved ice industry. This type of block ice produces the best snow for shaved ice. However, solid block ice may not be readily available in all parts of the country. Where available, block ice can usually be purchased in 12 - 15 lb or 300 lb blocks. We suggest the 12 lb blocks for easy handling and storage. If needed, your local ice house can often cut down the 300 lb blocks for you.

If your business continues to grow or if block ice is not available in your area, you may find that you can make your own ice at a fraction of the cost. You can freeze your own ice blocks in our specially made ice block tubs. Simply fill the tubs with water and place into a deep freezer for 2 to 3 days. When freezing your own ice blocks, make sure not to freeze your ice too fast. We suggest setting your freezer to around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow the ice to freeze slower and will produce a better ice block. Ice frozen too fast will crack when shaved. This is extremely important!

You can also make your own cube ice by purchasing your own ice maker. Look in your local yellow pages under restaurant equipment or ice making equipment for more information on cube ice makers in your area. You may also wish to search out local distributors by using the Internet as well.

Whatever type of ice you use please be sure that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of using cube ice over block ice. Find out more about cube ice and block ice by requesting our Shaved Ice Business Manual. It is full of great, useful information for anyone in the shaved ice or snow cone business.

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