Who wants to spend $5 on a gel pack for first aid or lunch boxes? No one. Ever.
I needed one for after physical therapy for my shoulder, but didn’t want a rock-solid frozen one, y’know? I also wanted one large enough and heavy enough to lie across my shoulder and cool top and sides. I was Thrilled to find this post by Bev at TheMakeYourOwnZone.com, which offers 5 ways to make a non-solid gel icy pack. The suggestions would be great for ice packs for lunches, but I zeroed in on one in particular.
Much to my dismay, we didn’t have much rubbing alcohol on hand, and I didn’t want to use my dish detergent. I also happen to know for a FACT that salt in water will freeze (see snippet below). And the sponge just would not do for me. Lo and behold, I found a full bottle of (expired) corn syrup in the back of my pantry! (I know, YUCK! )
I cut a section of FoodSaver roll to just the size I needed (8″ wide roll, 12 1/2″ long). After sealing one end, almost all the syrup went into the bag. I smooshed the air out and sealed up the other end.
This pack is just heavy enough to lie right, and the viscosity of the syrup keeps it snug. Very nice. It wipes clean, and I hope it will withstand a long time of use. Maybe I’ll even stitch up a cover in some leftover microfiber fabric, to make it slip resistant.
Mine lives in the fridge, because I just don’t want it too cold, and my fridge stays between 32 and 38 degrees. The offending remaining corn syrup is back in the pantry, because I plan to make another smaller one in a bit. I certainly will not use two-year-expired ingredients in food!
Check out Bev’s site for a plethora (like that $10K word?) of homemade solutions. They’re mostly inexpensive.
And now….. How I Know For A Fact That Salted Water Will Freeze:
Back in seventh grade (many, many moons ago), our science teacher stated that salt would help water freeze. She even had one classmate, Nancy, stir her hand around a saltwater solution to give a first-person observation while the thermometer kept accurate temp measurement. Poor Nancy! How could that be, when we used salt to melt the ice on our sidewalks? (Side note: I was that student who always, always challenged my teachers and needed additional proof of all things scientific or philosophical.) Sooo, I went home to conduct my own experiment. I dissolved a teaspoon of table salt (the same salt used in our school experiment) in one section of our ice cube tray (the same ratio as our school experiment) as I refilled them that evening. The next evening, Dad came home and made himself a Scotch rocks. I heard the cubes clunk into the glass and didn’t think anything of it. Until a few minutes later. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth as the cubes melted, and a roar: “Who put salt in my Scotch?!” Oops, too late. However, the home experiment supported the school experiment, and I had to concede that the teacher was, in fact, correct. (Amazing, isn’t it, that I never went into the sciences?)
I miraculously did not get in trouble for ruining good Scotch, probably because it was only two shots, and because I explained my experiment well. I was advised that the next time I was to label, color and/or otherwise identify any home experiments. I figured whomever caused the need for the Scotch did something worse than salt the ice cubes.