Ice Nuggets – from Stan Williams – EPIA Director

As a director of the EPIA and webmaster for the EPIA Facebook page, I get emails from people   all over the world asking questions about packaged ice.  Some of these are interesting and should be shared with ice men and women everywhere.  Here are a few:

Q:  “I was in a Spanish club recently and ordered a cocktail.  It arrived with a huge cylinder of ice that took up most of the glass.  Was the €10 I paid for the drink worth it or was I paying a lot for an ice cube?”

ΐͼέ°Ϟΰϧϧεէ:  This question comes up sometimes from tourists traveling in Spain.  When we had our annual convention is Seville back in 2010, I was surprised at the size of the ice cubes.  They were ice cylinders twice the size of what I was accustomed to and the glasses were tall and narrow.  One cube seems to fill the entire glass.  Then I started to analyze the situation.  First I watched my scotch and soda being prepared.  A full jigger of scotch was poured over the ice cylinder then the sparkling water was added along with a twist of lemon peel.  It tasted great and even a little stronger than normal.  Yep, one large cylinder of ice seemed to take up the entire glass.  Was it an illusion? Maybe, but I found three things happened: 1) the drink did not become diluted with melting ice as quickly since the one large cube had less surface area than several small cubes; 2) I finished the drink more quickly since there was less liquid to consume; and 3) I ordered another drink since the first was gone after a few sips.

I won’t pretend to say why the ice cubes in Spain are different than the rest of Europe, but I will say that regional differences makes European travel more interesting.  Just watch out because those tiny drinks in Spain can sneak up on you quickly when you consume more alcohol and less mixer.  To steal from a well know beer commercial, “stay thirsty my friend”.

Q:  “I have a kosher restaurant in Israel and I need to find kosher ice.  Can you help me?”

ΐͼέ°Ϟΰϧϧεէ:  This is the second time this question has been asked.  Back in 2010 I actually asked the same question about ice when we were building a marketing plan for the EPIA.  I looked everywhere for the answer.

My search found that Ice creams, sherbets, frozen desserts, and ices contain a variety of emulsifiers, stabilizers, prepared mixes, and flavorings that require scrutiny.  This is equally true of fruit ices and frozen ice pops which may contain a number of non-kosher stabilizers and flavorings.  Sherbets and fruit sherbets contain milk by law and are not  pareve.  “Pareve” is a classification of food in kashrut.  “Kashrut” is the body of Jewish law dealing with what foods Jews can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten.

Pareve refers to edible substances that contain neither dairy nor meat  ingredients.  Food in this category includes all items that grow from the ground such as fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., fish, eggs  and non-biological edible items (such as water and salt).    I don’t know about your ice, but the EPIA ice does not contain additives and therefore is unadulterated water.  Since water is a non-biological edible food, it qualifies as kosher.

Still I wanted to be careful and decided to take my question to the local Jewish community and got my answer back in 2010.  If I recall it was Rabbi Moshe Heinemann from the Baltimore  Maryland, USA synagogue that provided the answer.

For kosher preparation, the important thing to remember is to not mix dairy and meat.  Use separate utensils and cookware for meat and dairy recipes.  When preparing kosher food, you will have a set of utensils and cookware for dairy and one for meat.  The items used to prepare either type of food must not come in contact with the other type.

The authority at KosherQuest.org that I checked Rabbi Eidlitz agrees and I quote; Since water is always kosher and does not have to be certified all ice is kosher”.

Well that seems pretty straight forward.  I don’t know of any EPIA members who use there ice machinery to prepare cheeseburgers for lunch.