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Tempering Block Ice for Hawaiian Shave Ice


If you’re looking to make the highest quality Hawaiian shave ice, it’s important to spring for the block ice shaver. While cubed ice is considerably quicker and more convenient, the texture difference of the snow from block ice versus cubed ice is noticeable. Using block ice is the only way to create the softest, fluffiest, snow-like ice that authentic Hawaiian ice is known for.

Block ice comes in two forms: solid and compressed. Compressed block ice is made from chunks of ice that are forced into a compression mold. Because of the nature of this process, air gets trapped inside the final block of ice, which can cause an uneven shavings.

Instead of compressed ice, which should never be used, solid block ice should be used for the perfect shave ice texture. These can be either be purchased or made at home. When solid block ice is properly tempered and then shaved, the snow comes out perfectly and evenly catches the flavoring within the texture of the snow- instead of accumulating at the bottom like a sno-cone does. If not properly tempered before being shaved, the snow can break apart or form clumps. The process of tempering adds to the process of preparing shave ice, but it is a simple and necessary step. To temper block ice, remove it from the freezer roughly 15 minutes before shaving. When the shaved ice starts to sweat, move it to an ice cooler to keep the temperature between 18 and 20 degrees fahrenheit. The softer the ice is, the better quality your shave ice will be.
While and after tempering, it is important to make sure that the ice doesn’t get too warm, as this will cause clumps that do not absorb flavor. As you continue to get a feel of peak hours and how many blocks you’ll need throughout the day, the process of tempering ice gets more streamlined.