Homestead Hack: Frozen Water Bottles in the Kitchen

by Tammy Taylor~

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 cooling our drinks.  But 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!

Homestead Hack: Repurposing Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen is a Double-Win For The Environment. See How I Use Them! #TaylorMadeHomesteadI 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.

Homestead Hack: Repurposing Frozen Water Bottles In The Kitchen is a Double-Win For The Environment. See How I Use Them Cooling Hot Yogurt Milk. #TaylorMadeHomestead

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!”

~TMH~

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page – it’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea – lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to Subscribe to our blog!

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23 thoughts on “Homestead Hack: Frozen Water Bottles in the Kitchen

  1. Janet Vinyard

    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

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      We’re loving our new Whirlpool Janet, but it doesn’t look like the ice maker will provide any more ice than our crappy Frigidaire did. I guess that’s just the way ice makers are made these days… I’ll be sure to continue using this homestead hack so I can reserve the ice for drinks. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Donna Reidland

    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.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’m glad I always have frozen bottles available for use Donna, and glad others can think of great uses for them too. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Leanna

    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.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      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. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. JES

    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! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Christine (Chris) Coyle

    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?

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      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. ~TMH~

      Reply
  6. Charlotte

    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!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I agree Charlotte, especially when it fills a need such as compensating for ice that my freezer refuses to make. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  7. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome

    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!

    Reply
  8. CJ

    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

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      We just had to replace ours as well CJ – it may have been defective like yours was. Dang, it’s just an ice maker, a very simple low-tech piece of equipment – it’s odd that so many of them are defective! Thanks for sharing your tips. ~TMH~

      Reply
  9. Katrin

    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…

    Reply
  10. Carla

    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.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      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! ~TMH~

      Reply

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