by Texas Homesteader ~
OK, I’ve made it no secret that we own a nice, newer, high-end CRAPPY refrigerator/freezer. It was exorbitantly expensive because we required a specific size to fit into our kitchen layout. Although it looks great and is labeled ‘Energy Star’ to conserve electricity, it’s… well… it’s crap!
One of the biggest deal-breaking problems with it is the ice maker. Although there are only two of us in this house on any given day, it can’t keep up with our ice needs.
Now we work outside in the Texas heat all summer, ice is a necessity! Of course we could buy ice cube trays blah, blah, blah but instead I just make sure to reserve ice use for actually cooling our drinks.
But there are other times when I need to use ice in the kitchen. For instance, when I’m making homemade yogurt I need to cool the heated milk. Now I used to do that in a bowl filled with ice – what do I do now? Check out this Homestead Hack, y’all!
Crappy Ice-Maker – Secret Weapons
I have a few crappy-ice maker-secret-weapons: Frozen water bottles. Oh yeah, these babies do double duty for me.
Since a freezer is more efficient when it’s full, these water bottles fill empty space in our chest freezer and keep it running with less electricity usage. But now they’ll also be helping me cool my homemade yogurt.
After the milk has warmed I fill a large bowl with water and bring out my secret weapons, eh… frozen bottles. I stir them around in the water for a few seconds to get everything good & cold first. Then I set my pan of hot milk into the water, surrounded by the water bottles.
In no time my milk has cooled to the required 105 degrees and I can continue my recipe. SCORE!
And I’ve also used this same method when I’m cooling hard-boiled eggs – pour water in a large bowl / add frozen bottles & stir / add hot eggs and allow to cool.
After I’m done I simply remove the water bottles, dry them off & store them back in the chest freezer. And now the water remaining in the bowl is used to water the potted plants on the patio – nothing’s wasted.
Y’all know my battle cry:
“Use Whatcha Got!”
Other Kitchen Hacks
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Easy Reminder For Kitchen Stove
- Make Your Slow Cooker More Efficient
- No Cooking Fat Down The Drain
- Labeling A Glass Jar
- Cleaning A Narrow-Neck Jar
- Keep That Broccoli Fresh
- Sneaking Healthy Vegetables Into Their Diet
- Don’t Waste Onion Trimmings
- Heat-Free Way to Peel Tomatoes
- Cleaner Vegetable Chopping
- Quick Baking Measurement Reminder System
- Easily Separating Cream From Milk
- Using Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen
- Don’t Waste It – Free Vegetable Broth
- Easier Deviled Eggs – No Mess!
- MYO Crispy Taco Shells CHEAP
- Tame Kitchen Appliance Cords
- Save Your Fingernails When Cleaning
- Expand Your Muffin Tin Capacity With Canning-Jar Rings
- Use ALL Of Your Spray Cleaner
- Quick Coffee Stain Cleaning
- Repurposing Mesh Bags For Scrubbers
- Cute Windowsill Container For Herb Cuttings
- Less Mess When Measuring Honey
- How To Tell If Your Baking Powder Is Still Good
- Easily Opening Those Stubborn Jars
- Instant Pot Boiled Eggs WITHOUT The Shells
- …and many MORE!
See All Homestead Hacks
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If the ice maker fills up & stops running overnight, you might try replacing the ice bin with a larger bin of some kind so that it runs all night & continues to make ice.
Our ice bin is tucked into a specially-molded space in our freezer door David. So we can’t adjust the size of the ice receptacle for our fridge model. But when I know I’ll need more ice for parties I’ll dump the ice every night into a bag & store in the freezer for a few days… ~TxH~
We use this trick for our cooler when we are picnicking. Those frozen bottles make much less mess than a bag of ice!
We have the same problem with our ice maker – there are just 2 of us also. These new refrigerators are crappy – we’ve had the ice maker replaced and it didn’t help! Thanks for the idea of the frozen water bottles! Blessings, Janet
Ditto, for my ice maker! I can think of a lot of uses for your frozen water bottles. I’m going to go throw some in my freezer right now. Thanks for sharing.
Great solution. I never thought that a full freezer is easier to keep cool but that makes sense. I learned something today. Thanks for posting.
I think I’ve always heard that a refrigerator that’s full but not packed is more efficient, but it needs room for air to circulate. Whereas a freezer that’s packed is more efficient because the frozen food actually helps chill its surroundings. ~TxH~
Love this! I have 5 reasons to store water bottles in the freezer, but you have turned it to 6! Thank you for the tip! And thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂
Sort of off topic, but why do you ice the milk at all? I have always just let mine cool on the stove, then stir in the starter, some vanilla, and sometimes some agave nectar as a sweetener, then wrap it in a towel and stow it in the oven overnight. Just curious re: if it makes a difference somehow?
I think it’s just personal preference, Christine. I’d cooled on the stovetop in the past as well but mine always formed a milk skin as it cooled. Of course I always stirred it back in when it cooled but it seems to leave little bits of milk skin throughout my yogurt and I just didn’t like that texture. By cooling the milk this way it cools it faster before any skin can form. ~TxH~
Can be resourceful and surprise ourselves when we make do with what we have. Thanks for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-up. Please come back and join us again!
Good idea! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up and don’t forget to leave a comment at the party – Next week’s features that also leave a comment get pinned and tweeted!
We also had that problem with our new refrig/freezer. While ours was still under warranty we had them exchange the ice maker. It was defective. also we were told to lower our temps to 34 degrees for our fridge and -6 for our freezer. It really does help. Even tho our icemaker is small – we can keep up with the ice. Also at night – empty your icemaker pan into a ziplock bag and start fresh each night. That also helps with a back up. CJ
A great trick for sure! I put out frozen water bottles on the patio for our bunnies and they lay against them to cool down…
Sorry – I really should proof read better, before hitting the ‘post’ buttons…
I’ve been using bottles of ice similarly to this, for year – though I hadn’t thought of using it for yogurt. You can also (if you have one) stick an extra pan in the freezer to pour your hot milk directly into. That way, your ice bottles are only cooking the milk – not the hot metal pan.
Oh that’s a great idea Carla. I don’t have another pan the right size but I’ll certainly be putting on my thinking cap for next time… Thanks for the tip! ~TxH~
Glad to help!