Reverse osmosis, double boiling, triple filtered – none of this occurs in late November in Minnesota.
Yet given the right conditions, Minnesota lakes freeze like glass. Nature’s Zamboni presents itself in the form of perfect ice: smooth, black, crystal clear. How come some years we get this, and some years we don’t?
It’s the top down freeze.
As the night temperatures dip down below freezing, shallow lakes and ponds start with a thin layer of ice. Too thin to walk on, yet clear ice has begun to form. As long as temperatures remain cold and there’s no snow, ice starts building thicker, from the top down. Snow is an insulator, so if it snows before ice can build thick, now we have bad ice. Ice fishing enthusiasts are especially in tune to this: (read here, about how lake ice forms given certain temperatures – about 1″ per night at about 15 degrees f.).
We can replicate this process in a home freezer.
1) Fill the mold. 2) Wrap the sides and bottom of the nICE mug mold – bubble wrap, a wool sock, a beanie cap are all successful choices. Once insulated, 3) Put the nICE mug mold in the freezer. With the top exposed, cold air is forced down, making clear ice in layers in your nICE mug mold, from the top down, just as nature intended.
OBSERVATION: Figuring all this out wasn’t a skate in the park. It may seem simple enough now, but it took countless hours in the garage to figure out. Yet I am overjoyed to crack the code and share the clear ice solution with you. So many of life’s frustrations can be answered when we open our eyes and minds to what happens in nature.
SUGGESTION: Next time you’re pissed off, go for a walk in nature and be open quiet voices whispering. Just yesterday, I heard the faint sounds of “come on, do your business and let’s go.” As, I turned a corner, there stood a shivering lady urging on her poodle up along the trail.
BONUS: There is something magical about enjoying a frosty nICE mug on a frozen lake along the shore by a fallen log, playing a pick up hockey game, and celebrating nature’s Zamboni.