This may seem like a frivolous thing to write about, but when freezer space is so limited and ice cube trays prove to be just one more piece of plastic here today and on a trash heap tomorrow—and for the next hundred years—it becomes meaningful. After doing some research at Amazon and reading lots of reviews, finding people who did even more ridiculous amounts of research, we concluded that OXO makes the best ice cube trays around. I’m not surprised, as we have several “best” kitchen gadgets from OXO. We’ve used the trays for a couple of months and I would have to agree that they are the best I have ever had. I bought five stacking trays, which provide enough ice for cold drinks and a daily smoothie.
Perhaps at this point you are wondering, what could be so special about an ice cube tray? (Or, even, who knew you could make ice on a sailboat?) Well, let me tell you! The OXO Good Grips No Spill Ice Cube Tray has a revolutionary shape which makes getting the cubes out of the tray very easy. My old Rubbermaid trays were very sturdy and lasted a long time, but eventually the bending and flexing necessary to get the square cubes out caused the plastic to crack and break. Not so with the Oxo—simply twist lightly and the half-moon shaped ice cubes pop right out.
The trays have a silicone cover, which is a unique and never-before-seen feature. You fill the tray, lay the cover over the top and lightly press while tilting to pour off any excess water and seal the tray. A vacuum effect results, and the covered cubes can now be placed inside the freezer, and will not leak or spill, even if they are tilted or placed on an uneven surface. This proves to be especially helpful on a boat. When we are on a passage, we tend to use a lot of ice in drinks, and I usually can’t make more because of the motion of the boat. With these trays, the rocking and rolling doesn’t affect the outcome.
Granted, this whole discussion of the best ice cube trays becomes moot if you live on the average small cruising boat. We’ve met lots of people out cruising who live without refrigeration at all and for whom a cold drink is a special treat, and a frozen beverage something you pay $8 for in a restaurant. For us this question of refrigeration highlights a difference between living comfortably and camping. When we make decisions about our boat, they are decisions about our home and our lives for the foreseeable future, so although we like the idea of traveling light and living simply, we balance that with long-term comfort. And a daily smoothie is part of our healthy lifestyle, so big inverters for the fancy blender and plenty of ice cubes are a must. We had lots of fun opportunities in the Bahamas to invite friends from other boats over and serve them icy drinks and frozen concoctions, much to their amazement and delight. That’s what it’s all about! Now if only I could get one of my crafty kids to make some tiny paper umbrellas…