The First Thing You Should Do with a New Box of Zip-Top Baggies

updated Jul 28, 2021
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Box of 1 gallon Ziploc bags on the kitchen counter
Credit: Sarah Crowley

There are some things you’ll always find in our kitchens, and zip-top bags are one of them. Are we moving away from plastic and toward reusable food storage solutions? Absolutely. But zip-top bags are endlessly useful, especially the heavy-duty freezer versions

We love zip-top bags for freezing basically everything, from fresh fruit to cooked grains to cookie dough. We also use them to make the most of refrigerator space, keep lemons fresher longer, and for storing fresh herbs and tender salad greens. (And yes, we absolutely make sure we make the most of our zip-top bags by washing and reusing them.) 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

If you’re also a fan of zip-top bags, there’s one thing you might not be using them for, but definitely should be. In fact, we think it’s the very first thing you should do when you pick up a new box: Fill a bag (or two) about 2/3 of the way with water, freeze it, and you’ve got a giant ice cube, which can come in handy in a number of situations.

For example, you’re making a big-batch cocktail and want it to stay cool without getting too watered-down. A solid block of ice will chill your beverage for longer and melt more slowly than a bunch of smaller cubes. The extra-large chunk can also be used for your cooler if you’re going to the beach or planning a picnic. It can act as a re-freezable ice pack in a pinch. In the case of a power outage, it will keep perishables cool and is also an emergency stash of water. And a bag of frozen water in a mostly empty freezer will help your appliance run more efficiently.

Convinced? It’s super simple to do.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Make a DIY Ice Pack with Zip-Top Bags

Take your zip-top bag and fill it with water until it is 2/3 of the way full. You can also opt for less water, but don’t overfill it! You want room in the bag for the water to expand as it freezes. Put it in the freezer, ideally sort of nestled between some other things to give it a bit of shape. And that’s it. 

Now the real question is, which big-batch cocktail are you making tonight?

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The First Thing You Should Do with a New Box of Zip-Top Baggies