Not all ice is created equal, and a lot of people are fans of nuggets. What’s that? It’s the kind of irregularly shaped ice pellets offered by some restaurant chains like Sonic. This ice is softer, easy to chew, and the increased surface area means your drinks will get cooled down faster and will absorb some of the flavour they’re immersed in. The Opal machine pictured above is able to make this kind of ice by the bucketloads, making it possible for you to have BBQs with fancy nugget ice any time you want. At full steam, Opal is able to make up to 24lbs of ice a day, in 3 lbs. batches. So how is this ice made?
Opal nugget ice is made by scraping the ice flakes off the inside of a chilled aluminum cylinder. The flakes are extruded through a round hole, compacting them into frozen nuggets of air and ice. Nugget ice is about 50% air by volume, and those tiny pinholes of air between the ice flakes are the secret to soft, chewable, flavorful ice.
Sounds pretty cool. Opal is back by GE Appliances, which means you’ll get a quality product for a fraction of the cost of regular nugget ice machines: the appliance is a $399 pledge on IndieGogo, with the campaign being almost 1,000% funded as of this writing. Clearly people have a hankering for this, so get yours before the price goes up to $499.