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TIP OF THE DAY: Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

Sansaire Sous Vide

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Sous Vide Machine

[1] The Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. [2] The back and side of the Sansaire, showing the clip that attaches to any pot. Step 1: Attach Sansaire to pot filled with water (photos 1 and 2 courtesy Sansaire. [3] Step 2: Season your food and place it in a cooking bag. [4] Place the bag in the water and set the time and temperature (photos 3 and 4 courtesy Williams-Sonoma). [5] Voilà: Cooked to your exact wishes. (Photo courtesy Frankie Celenza, Frankie Cooks | You Tube. Watch the video to see him cook the meat). [6] Before Sansaire, a sous vide machine was this big (photo courtesy Sous Vide Supreme).

 

COOKING SOUS VIDE WITH SANSAIRE

You’ve no doubt heard about sous vide (soo VEED) cooking. You may even have heard other home cooks say it produces the moistest, tenderest, most succulent and flavorful food, cooked to perfection.

So why haven’t you tried it?

Maybe it’s the lack of counter space for a sous vide machine (photo #5, about 14″ x 11″ footprint); or maybe it’s the price tag (up to $400, even $800)?

Now, you can spend less than $200 and cook sous vide with pots you already have, with Sansaire’s Sous Vide Immersion Circulator.

There’s no bulky countertop machine, but a far smaller device that stores and travels easily.

Sous vide cooking uses precise temperature control to achieve perfect, consistent results, portion after portion, time after time.

Foods are cooked evenly from edge to edge, to exactly the doneness you want. Temperature control keeps water within one degree of its ideal setting—a process that can’t be replicated by any other cooking method.

You don’t have to be a gourmet cook.

Sous vide cooking is an easy way to prepare any everyday dish as well as fancier ones. One of our editors even cooks his scrambled eggs sous vide to his desired consistency. (It also poaches and makes hard-boiled eggs.)

The sous vide technique was developed in France to easily cook fine meals on trains, many portions at a time. Sous vide guarantees, for example, that a steak or piece of fish will turn out exactly as the client wishes.

The quality of the food it produced attracted fine French chefs and caterers. Sous vide machines quickly appeared in some of the world’s best restaurants.

It took a number of years for a home version to appear (photo #5), and just a couple of years after that for Sansaire’s conveniently small model that simply clips on to your pots.

It’s not just for dedicated home cooks: It’s for those who don’t cook more often because they don’t have the time to cook and clean.

Treat yourself to a Sansaire sous vide for $168, on Amazon.

Give one as a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or graduation gift.

You can also give it as a new baby gift! It heat milk or formula to precisely 98.6°F for worry-free feeding.

Is sous vide cooking an adjustment to your process? Yes, but a very small one, like switching to an induction cooktop. You get the hang of it in very short order.
 
 
THE BENEFITS OF SOUS VIDE COOKING

We love sous vide: consistency, perfection, precise, predictable results. Plus no pots, pans, grills or ovens to clean. The only thing your pots contain are water, and sealed bags containing individual portions.

Sous vide tenderizes tough cuts, keeps poultry juicy (no dry white meat!), cooks fish to perfection, retains the nutrients of vegetables, and uses less fat without sacrificing flavor. It makes perfectly poached eggs (or other style) every time.

You can turn out perfect filet mignon and duck confit, but also everyday dishes from breakfast eggs, grain dishes, vegetables, sides, fish tostadas, chicken tikka masala, to dulce de leche.

You can pasteurize raw eggs for mousse, Caesar salad, steak tartare and other recipes.

There’s no cooking food to check and re-check. The machine keeps the water at a specific temperature for a specific time, at the end of which your food is ready to eat.

More blessings of sous vide cooking:

  • Save time: Make whole meals in the one pot with no cookware to clean afterwards.
  • Foolproof results: Temperature control keeps water within one degree of its ideal setting.
  • No watching the pot. Sous vide enables unattended cooking, so you can spend more time with your guests or family.
  • No meal prep stress: One less pot to watch while turning out a meal.
  • Dinner is ready when you are: Foods won’t overcook while they hang out in the water bath.
  • No unwanted cooking aromas. You may enjoy the scent of meat and garlic from conventional cooking for a while. But unless you have a great ventilation set-up, you may not enjoy them hanging around the next day or the next.
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  • Try different recipes at the same time, in the same pot: Individual bags allow for individual flavors. Try sweet and sour chicken in one bag, teriyaki chicken in the other.
  • Please everyone: If someone doesn’t like cilantro, use another herb or seasoning in his/her pouch.
  • Use less fat: Cooking foods in a sealed environment allows you to coat proteins and vegetables with a fraction of the amount of oil or butter. Plus, vegetables retain all their nutrients in the sealed bag.
  • Gentle cooking: especially with meat, it means that the juices stay in the muscle and don’t run out when cut.
  • No plastic, no landfill option: Reusable silicone bags are available to enable green and plastic-free cooking*.
  • Small footprint: Roughly the size of a bottle of wine.
  • Better than slow cooker cooking: There’s never anything overcooked.
  • Portable: It’s easy to take the unit to another home to cook your dish.
  • Saves money over the original sous vide technique. The original Sous Vide Water Oven was $499 and required a vacuum sealing system to contain each serving, for another $80 plus plastic refill rolls at about $16 to $30 (depending on size).
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    ADD-ONS

    To ease yourself into sous vide cooking, consider:

  • Sous Vide At Home Cookbook (photo #7): It’s the bible to start you off with confidence, showing times and temperatures to cook just about anything. On Amazon.
  • Reusable Bags (photo #2): If you’re not down with disposable plastic bags, these are the solution.On Amazon.
  • Sansaire Searing Kit: Put a perfect sear on a sous-vide steak. Blisters chiles, crisp chicken skin, add a char to anything. Designed specifically for home kitchen use, the kit includes a torch, a stainless steel rack and an enameled drip tray. On Amazon.
  • Steak Aging Sauce gives any steak the complex flavor of dry aging. Just add a spoonful to each pouch of meat before cooking. Se how lesser cuts taste like the expensive, aged cuts from steakhouses. On Amazon.
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    For a large number of portions, consider:

  • Polycarbonate Tub. On Amazon.
  • Cooking Rack. On Amazon.
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    Enjoy the era of sous vide cooking. Who knows what the next better-faster technique will be…but it sure won’t be for a while.
    ________________

    *Standard ziplock bags are fine and contain no BPA. S.C. Johnson, the company that makes both Ziploc brand bags and Saran Wrap, states on its website that it does NOT use BPA in the manufacture of these products.

     

    Sous Vide Cookbook

    Reusable Sous Vide Bags

    Sous Vide Cooking

    [7] Start with the Sous Vide At Home cookbook (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press). [8] Consider reusable plastic pouches (photo courtesy TopsHome). [9] Sous vide salmon (from the Sous Vide At Home cookbook).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Eggs In A Nest & Dark Vs. Light Baking Pans

    Baked Eggs In Nests

    Easter Bunny Rabbit Rolls

    [1] Eggs in nests for breakfast (photo courtesy Cooking Light). [2] Bunny rabbit rolls (photo courtesy Artisan Bread In Five).

     

    What’s on tap for Easter breakfast? How about eggs in crispy hash brown nests (photo #1).

    If you want to make the adorable bunny rabbit rolls to serve with them, bake them first. You can make the dough the night before, and bring to room temperature before baking.

    EASTER EGG NESTS FOR BREAKFAST

    We adapted this recipe from one in Cooking Light. Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    You can also place a bacon or ham surprise on the bottom of the basket.

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 1/4 cup refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes*)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded carrot (substitute beet or zucchini)
  • li>Optional: 1 tablespoon diced onion

  • Optional: 2 tablespoons crumbled crisp bacon or diced ham
  • 1 large egg
  • Crunchy salt (kosher or coarse or flaky sea salt)
  • Garnish: 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives and/or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
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    Plus

  • Light-colored muffin pan
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Combine the shredded potato, carrot and optional onion, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

    2. MAKE the nests: Coat the muffin cups with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture into each muffin cup. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the cup, to above the rim. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. Once baked…

     

    3. ADD the optional meat to the bottom of the nest. Crack 1 large egg into each nest. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes for runny eggs, or 12 to 15 minutes for set eggs.

    4. SPRINKLE the top with a dash of salt and garnish the egg and the plate with the chopped herbs.

    WHEN TO USE LIGHT VS. DARK COLOR BAKING PANS

    Depending on your age, all of your mother’s and grandmother’s baking pans were aluminum, a metal that absorbs and conducts heat evenly and is not reactive or corrosive.

    Then, test kitchens discovered that food browns better (e.g., the bottom of a baking sheet and the bottom and sides of a cake pan). This is because dark pans absorb more heat and thus, more heat radiates off the surface.

    For foods you want to brown (pizza, pie crusts, potato wedges, roasted vegetables), darker metal baking pans, sheets, and pie plates give you an edge.

    For recipes where you don’t want the extra browning on the bottom (breads, cakes, some cookies, muffins), use a light-colored pan, which absorbs less heat.

    That being said, we don’t know why Cooking Light specified a light muffin pan. There is no comments section on the page so we couldn’t ask; but we wouldn’t mind a browner potato nest (as opposed to a browner blueberry muffin).

    You don’t have to get rid of your pans. According to Cooking Light, if you bake in either dark metal pans or glass dishes, reduce the oven temperature by 25° and check for doneness early.

    Here’s an interesting article on the history of cookware and bakeware.

    ________________

    *1 package (19.7 ounces, 560 grams) yields 6 egg nests.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easier Soft Boiled Eggs & Easter Breakfast

    Some people have never had a hot, runny, seductive soft boiled egg.

    That’s because they’re such a pain to peel when hot that even most restaurants don’t offer them.

    Soft boiled eggs were popular in our family. Nana had a set of vintage silver-plated egg cups; Mom had ceramic cups.

    The eggs were served with “toast soldiers” (photo #2): slices of toasted bread cut into half-inch vertical strips, for dipping into the yolk. (In the photo, the soldiers are topped with lots of yummy salmon caviar.)

    Soft boiled eggs have long been popular among those who could afford the egg cups: Egg cups were found in the ruins of Pompeii.

    No egg cups? Small ramekins, juice glasses and even some cocktail glasses will work. You can also nestle the egg in rock salt (photo #3) or small pebbles.

    You can even make origami egg cups (photo #5). Just follow the video below or this visual from Gathering Beauty.

    TAKING THE TOP OFF THE EGG

  • Nana’s Spoon Method: With a teaspoon tap the top of the cooked egg several time to crack the top of the shell. Place the tip of the spoon under a crack and slice through the egg, lifting the top half inch off as work around.
  • Mom’s Knife Method: With a regular flatware knife, whack the top of the egg as if the knife were a guillotine. For a more pleasant visual, then, as if you were one of Napoleon’s Hussars, whacking the neck off a Champagne bottle with your saber [the technique is called sabotage]). This should cut through the shell and most of the egg. Use the knife to lift off the top of the egg.
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    We are incapable of doing either of these correctly. With the spoon, we end up with fragmented pieces of shell. With the knife, the force can end up spilling yolk.

    Practice makes perfect, but we found a better solution: an egg cutter, also known as an egg topper. It’s an inexpensive gadget and takes up very little room in the gadget drawer.

  • Our Egg Cutter Method: Place the egg cutter (photo #4) around the top half inch of the egg. Squeeze to cut. Remove the top.
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    EASTER EGGS

    Dye The Eggs: Photo #1 shows how they do it at Petrossian.

    Top With Caviar: For Easter or other festive occasion, top your eggs with affordable caviar: capelin, lumpfish, salmon, tobiko, trout or whitefish roe.

    For bright colors, we’re partial to salmon caviar or colored and flavored whitefish roe. (For sturgeon caviar, we waive this suggestion.)

    Check out the different types of caviar and roe* in our Caviar Glossary.

    FOR SCRAMBLED EGGS

    If you want to fill the egg shells with scrambled eggs, you need to sterilize the insides of the shells or else (far easier) buy pasteurized eggs, such as Davidson’s Safest Choice.

    Here are instructions to sterilize the shells from Rem Cooks.

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    *The Difference Between Roe And Caviar

    All caviar is roe, the uncooked eggs of any fish. While caviar has traditionally referred only to sturgeon roe, the roe of many (or any) fish is now commonly called caviar. In the U.S., it is legally permissible to call any roe caviar as long as the fish is identified, e.g. salmon caviar.

    As food writers, we prefer to use the latter with the fish identified, even if it is sturgeon caviar. There are enough different kinds of sturgeon caviar, that even confining the word to sturgeon requires a modifier: beluga caviar, Black Sea caviar, Iranian osetra caviar, farmed white sturgeon caviar, etc.

    By the way, caviar is not a Russian word, nor is it used by Russian speakers. Khaviar, meaning eggs, is of Persian origin, found in the Iranian and Turkish languages. Russian speakers use the word ikroj (pronounced EEK-ruh, with a rolle “r”) for all roe, and use a modifier (beluga, salmon) to specify which type. Habitués of sushi bars will note that the Japanese adapted this word into ikura, salmon roe.

     

    caviar-easter-eggs-petrossian-230sq

    Salmon Caviar Egg

    Caviar Egg

    Egg Cutter

    Origami Egg Cups

    [1] For Easter, dye the eggs after you’ve cooked them (photo courtesy Petrossian). [2] Salmon caviar and toast “soldiers” (photo courtesy Le Coq Rico | NYC. [3] No egg cups? Use rock salt (photo courtesy Sturia Caviar). [4] Or make origami egg cups, with these instructions from Gathering Beauty. [5] How to cut the tops from the eggs (cutter from Amazon)..

     
    HOW TO MAKE ORIGAMI EGG CUPS

    There are several origami egg cup tutorials on YouTube. This one is the slowest (i.e., easiest to follow).
     
     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Sharpen Your Knife Skills

    Wusthof Knife Set

    How To Cut A Squash

    How To Butcher A Chicken

    How To Filet A Fish

    It’s easy to learn how to cut and slice the correct, efficient, safe way. You’ll feel good about it, too (photos courtesy Wüsthof).

     

    Most of us have never taken a knife skills course.

    Most likely, we learned from watching food prepared at home or on TV, or simply by freestyling.

    After all, we’re intelligent; we can figure it out. Right?

    Not exactly.

    Unless you can do the following to your satisfaction, you’ll benefit by investing a few minutes on the Wüsthof website.

    You’ll become a better cook just by seeing:

  • How to cut consistent slices and dices. Different thicknesses don’t cook evenly, and the finished product doesn’t look as good.
  • How to chop garlic, herbs and onions into very small, consistent pieces.
  • How to slice different types of vegetables, including the formidable winter squash group.
  • How to work faster and safer. Practice makes perfect—and speedy.
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    WÜSTHOF KNIFE SKILLS VIDEOS

    General Skills

  • The basics: The 3 essential knives: chef’s, paring and serrated knives and how to use them.
  • The pinch grip.
  • Sharpening with a steel.
  • Using a hand-held sharpener.
  • How to sharpen serrated blades.
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    Proteins

    Learn how to break down whole chicken or filet a whole fish, and you’ll enjoy big savings, too.

  • Butcher a chicken.
  • Filet a fish.
  • Carve a turkey.
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    Produce

  • Break down a squash.
  • Chiffonade herbs and greens.
  • Dice an onion into uniform pieces.
  • Julienne (cut matchsticks).
  • Slice a pineapple.
  •  
    There are 36 videos.

    Each is succinct, enabling you to play it as many times as you need without wasting time.

    So grab your phone or tablet, head to the kitchen, pull out a cutting board and start cutting—the right way.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cubes For Valentine’s Day…And More Uses For The Ice Cube Tray

    Valentine Ice Cubes

    Valentine Ice Cubes

    Heart Ice Cubes

    Flower Ice Cubes

    Pesto Ice Cubes

    Frozen Lemon Juice

    [1] and [2] Red and pink layered ice cubes (photo courtesy Ocean Spray). [3] Add some pomegranate ice cubes (here’s how from Kelly Elko).[4] Flower ice cubes: small flowers make a big impression (here’s how from Martha Stewart). [5] More ways to use an ice cube tray: save pesto (photo courtesy P&G Every Day) or [6] lemon juice (photo courtesy Food Network).

     

    These days, many people enjoy refrigerator-freezers with built-in ice makers.

    But here’s a reason to hold on to those old-fashioned ice cube trays. In addition to party ice cubes, you can also use them to make granita—and much more, as you’ll see on the list below.

    Because we’re days away from Valentine celebrations, how about some special ice? You can’t get these from a mechanical ice-cube maker!

    RECIPE: LAYERED VALENTINE ICE CUBES

    Ingredients Per Ice Cube Tray

  • 1 ice cube tray
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed (substitute frozen blueberries)
  • 1/3 cup Ocean Spray Blueberry Juice Cocktail
  • 1/2 cup Ocean Spray White Cranberry Juice Drink
  • 1/2 cup Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
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    Preparation

    1. PLACE 4 blueberries in each of 16 ice cube cups. Add about 1 teaspoon blueberry flavored juice. Freeze at least 1 hour or until solid.

    2. ADD 1/2 tablespoon white cranberry drink to each cup, atop the frozen blueberry layer. Freeze 1 hour of until solid.

    3. TOP with 1/2 tablespoon cranberry beverage. Freeze at least 1 hour or until solid.
     
    OTHER VALENTINE ICE CUBES

    Don’t have time or desire to layer ice cubes? These are much easier:

  • Aril ice cubes (photo #3): just water, pomegranate arils and a heart-shaped ice cube tray.
  • Berry ice cubes (photo #4): make them with water or pomegranate juice, in regular or heart-shaped trays.
  • Flower ice cubes (photo #5): Add small flowers to water. If you’re using them in drinks, be sure the flowers are organic (otherwise they have pesticides).
  • Plain red or pink hearts: Add red fruit juice or pink lemonade to heart or conventional ice cube trays.
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    MORE USES FOR ICE CUBE TRAYS

    Certain foods are easier to pop out if you have silicone ice cube trays; others work better with a lever pull in an old-fashioned metal tray.

    Once whatever you’re making is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for storage. Here are some ideas to try.

    Drinks

  • Chill beverages without diluting them. Make ice cubes with leftover coffee, tea, coconut milk, juice, etc. (freeze tomato juice for Bloody Mary’s).
  • Similarly, smoothies! Freeze fruits and vegetables to pop into the blender.
  • Make pretty ice cubes. Add berries, fruits, citrus peel, etc.
  • Deconstruct cocktails. For example, for a Piña Colada, try adding frozen pineapple juice and coconut cream cubes to a glass of rum.
  • Jell-O shots!
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    Desserts & Snacks

  • Make dessert bites. An ice cube tray is great for making miniature desserts, from fancy (chocolate-covered cherries) to casual (mini Rice Krispies Treats).
  • On-a-stick. From frozen cheesecake to juice pops and yogurt pops, you can make something different on a stick every week.
  • Make your own Chunkys & PB cups: Melt your chocolate of choice, blend in nuts, seeds, raisins or other dried fruits; and set in the fridge. For peanut butter cups, layer melted chocolate and peanut butter and refrigerate until set.
  • Make chocolate squares. Fill the compartments partially, so you end up with bite-size chocolate tiles. Add whatever you like to flavor: spices, coconut, etc.
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    Cooking

    For the first two: Once your cubes are frozen, pop them from the tray into a resealable freezer bag. For precise measures, determine in advance what the tray compartments hold.

  • Freeze extras and leftovers: From lemon juice and stock/broth to wine and bacon fat, you’ll have the perfect size to pop [frozen] into soups, stews and sauces.
  • Freeze herbs. Hard herbs like oregano, sage, thyme and rosemary defrost better than soft herbs like dill and basil. Pack the ice cube trays with 3/4 herbs and 1/4 olive oil. Toss a cube directly into the pan to season eggs, sauces, etc.
  • Freeze garlic and ginger. First, purée them before adding them to the compartments. This also works with pesto (as is—no additional work required).
  • Freeze buttermilk. Buttermilk is pricey, and a recipe often requires just a quarter or half a cup. Freeze the leftover buttermilk; you’ll need it again soon.
  • Make sushi. It’s hard for amateurs to hand-form nigiri rice beds. Fill the compartments with seasoned rice, pop them out and lay the fish or other toppings onto them.
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    More Uses

    There are household uses, from homemade detergent cubes to starting seedlings. Just look online!

     

    HISTORY OF THE ICE CUBE TRAY

    Before the advent of the ice cube tray, ice for drinks and similar purposes was chipped from large blocks with an ice pick.
     
    An American physician, John Gorrie, built a refrigerator in 1844 to make ice to cool the air for his yellow fever patients. The refrigerator produced ice, which he hung from the ceiling in basins to cool the hot air.

    Some historians believed that Dr. Gorrie also invented the first ice cube tray in its current form. He is known to have given his patients iced drinks to cool them down.

  • The Domestic Electric Refrigerator, produced in 1914 by Fred Wolf, contained a simple ice cube tray.
  • By the 1920s and 1930s ice cube trays were commonplace in refrigerators.
  • The first flexible ice tray was launched in 1933, invented by Guy Tinkham. Silicone was still decades ahead; Tinkham’s tray stainless steel, with points that would eject the ice cubes.
  • The first rubber ice cube tray was launched by Lloyd Groff Copeman, also in 1933. Five years earlier, he had noticed that slush and ice flaked off his rubber boots, and set about designing different types of rubber trays.
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    Ice Cube Trivia

    You may have noted that commercially-made ice cubes are completely clear, while homemade cubes from the fridge are cloudy in the center.

     

    Metal Ice Cube Tray

    Popping Out Ice Cubes

    [6] The old-fashioned metal ice cube tray with a removable divider (photo courtesy West Elm). [7] Silicone trays make it easy to pop out the cubes.

     
    Cloudy ice cubes result when the water is high in dissolved solids. Commercial ice-makers use purified water, with cooling elements on the bottom. The cooling process allows any bubbles to be washed away from the top as the cubes grow larger.

      

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