I have very vivid memories of playing baseball as a kid, standing in left field waiting for a ball to come my way. The smell of a warm leather glove and fresh-cut grass still bring back the memories, almost as fast as plunging my arm into a cooler filled with melting ice and floating soda cans.
Don't let your summer parties be reminiscent of that particular cold and soggy experience of my youth — try this trick instead!
I won't lie, there's a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from tearing open a bag of cubed ice and watching it slide down in between your cooler goodies. I'm always rationalizing in my head how much space it will really fill up, like the picnic version of the game Tetris.
It's a method that hasn't failed any of us for as long as we can remember, but like most things in life, that doesn't mean there isn't a way to do it better or more efficiently. In my home, I like to keep things cool without the risk of water seeping into my zip-top bags or things getting all sloshy. It ruins packaging, and truth be told, those tiny cubes of ice don't keep things cold as long as I'd like.
In addition, you then have a soupy cooler that you have to remember to dump out or else it gets that musty old smell. Oh, you know what I'm talking about — cooler funk. Shudder.
Instead, ditch the bags for water bottles. Just freeze them ahead of time and they'll keep your goods chilled and leave you with beverages when the party is wrapping up.
Try picking bottles that don't have paper labels or remove them before freezing. If you'll be taking your cooler out for several days, try reusing more square, plastic juice bottles that will fit snugly in the bottom of your cooler without wasting any space. No matter what you use, make sure you check to ensure all lids are tightened before freezing.
If I don't need the water from the bottles, I simply pop them in my deep freeze (for those that have the luxury) and help it run as efficient as possible when not in use. It's an easy trick that won't leave you with a frozen arm or your ingredients sloshing around in the chilly soup!