Pros: Neat, clean, lid keeps out odors/great for serving, pop out cubes is a great idea
Cons: Popping out the cubes takes MAJOR effort unless you run water over the tray
I have been noticing some interesting Orka products recently, so when I saw their ice cube trays, I wanted to give them a try. We have been using some silicone ice cube trays (made entirely of silicone) for about a year now, and really liked them, so I thought I might have luck with Orkas Freeze & Press Ice Cube Tray & Server.
I got my ice cube tray at Bed Bath & Beyond for $9.99. I always use their coupons on purchases either 20% off or $5 off $15. They accept competitors coupons, so you can use Linens N Things coupons at BB&B. (They also take their own expired coupons).
We picked a blue tray, but they are available in other colors - pink, green, orange, purple, and white (all are translucent).
What makes this ice cube tray most unique are the flexible release pads, which are basically rubbery bottoms to each ice cube. The tray and lid are made of a hard, translucent plastic, and it is just the bottoms of the ice cubes that are soft. This way, you can pop the cubes out with your fingers. The ice cubes are frozen in an oval shape (not sure if they still qualify as a cube any more!), and there are 15 in total.
The tray also comes with a snap on tray, which is essentially the cover. This is intended for serving ice cubes, but also allows for stacking, and keeps the cubes clean and odor-free.
My Thoughts & Experiences
I was excited to try this tray after having wonderful results with my silicone trays. The first thing I noticed is that this tray is a little larger than some of our other trays, since it comes with a cover. However, we have no problems fitting it in the freezer.
Popping out the ice cubes is not as easy as I thought it would be. From the start, I struggled with popping out the cubes, which I found frustrating. I would push really, really hard and then the cube would pop out really fast. I felt like I was going to hurt myself struggling. The manufacturer website says, Ice comes out at a touch, which I would have to say is a bit of a stretch. I have also resorted to pulling my shirt sleeve down onto my hand and punching the tray with the bottom of my wrist but again, it takes some work to get the cubes out.
I was ready to throw in the towel in terms of liking this product, but my husband came up with an easy solution. We simply run the tray under some water, and the cubes pop out so much easier. With just a little water, the cubes will still stay in the tray but are loose enough to be popped out without a struggle. This way, you can pop out however many you need.
The lid is a nice feature. It makes the trays stackable and also keeps out odors. I havent used it as a serving tray, but if were using all the cubes, we pop them out into the tray, which is convenient. It is nice to be able to loosen either individual cubes or the whole tray without ending up with a mess. So often with regular ice cube trays, I end up with ice cubes on the floor so its nice to not have that happen.
This product is dishwasher safe. I wasnt sure if it would be, since the bottoms of the cubes are rubbery, but Im glad to know we can just throw this in the dishwasher.
The only other downside (aside from struggling to remove the cubes) is that the cubes arent particularly big, and there dont seem to be as many as a typical tray. I guess I am used to having a big old ice cube tray with large cubes packed right in. If I were using this for entertaining, I might want to have more than one tray on hand. However, it has never been an issue in terms of running out of ice cubes.
This is a well thought-out design for an ice-cube tray. It took a while to figure out a non-violent method of removing ice cubes, but running a little water over the tray has solved our problems with that. I have really grown to like our Orka ice cube tray, because it is neater than most trays.
Orka/iSi North America: www.isinorthamerica.com
My other iSi North America product reviews:
Dessert Whip (makes whipped cream)
Orka Silicone Mitt
Orka Silicone Baster