Despite what seems to be the popular opinion these days, my low-stakes hot take is that pellet ice is terrible. On the other end of the spectrum, the giant two-inch cubes in your whiskey glass are no better. Perhaps the worst version of ice are those stabby crescents that come clanking out of the built-in ice dispenser of your parent’s ’90s refrigerator and taste distinctly of “freezer.”
Convinced there was no “worthy” at-home solution for on-demand ice that was worthy of my hard earned money, I resigned myself to using the usual standard plastic ice cube trays that every rental apartment freezer has. After all, they worked well enough. They froze water into a perfectly reasonable size and shape, and stacked nicely without needing too much space in my perpetually packed freezer. They release easily with a quick twist. The downside? I only had a few dozen cubes at any given time. I’d try and squirrel a zip-top bag of them away for future use, but they inevitably got lost somewhere behind three-month-old leftover stew or Parmesan cheese rinds and I’d forget about them.
After a few years, the hard plastic trays started cracking. Before I repurchased more trays, I took to the internet to see if at-home ice cube tray technology had improved at all—and reader, it had. I landed on the Lékué Ice Box, 2-in-1 silicone ice cube tray and storage container that is better than any other silicone ice mold I’ve used.
It’s designed to sit on top of the storage box, providing a sturdy base that prevents water from sloshing and spilling everywhere before freezing. Once frozen solid, the ice releases easily with a quick twist and a poke of each cube. No need to turn each cube entirely inside out—an extra step that is so common with many silicone molds. And the “cubes” freeze into quirky little gemstone-shaped nuggets. The irregular shape allows them to nest snugly into a rocks glass, chilling a nightcap in a way that is both temperature and aesthetically pleasing.
When not called into duty, the gem-shaped crystals await action in a treasure chest of a storage bin. The ice tray also doubles as a lid, keeping all 132 cubes fresh and free of odors in its sleek black and ivory bin. The square sides and rounded corners allow the box to store easily and much more compactly in my freezer than cylindrical deli containers and mason jars.
Lékué uses platinum silicone for the ice tray, which is a step above more common food grade silicone and is stronger, more elastic, and longer lasting. Lékué is so confident in the long-term durability of their platinum silicone pieces, they’re warrantied for 10 years after the date of purchase. That’s considerably longer than the few years I got out of my traditional plastic ice trays before they started cracking.
I recently attended a small dinner party and a guest asked for ice for the apple brandy cocktail she had bought for the group. The host brought out her Lékué ice box with enough ice for all of us, which was met with enthusiasm by myself and several others in the small group. Turns out, 4 out of the 7 women at this party own, and are absolutely tickled with, the form and function of the Lékué combination ice tray/storage box. And with dozens of Food52 shoppers spreading praise for Lékué, clearly my friends and I aren’t the only ones enamored.
What’s a household product that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below!