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Picnic Packing

Martha Stewart Living, June 2004

You can use water bottles twice at your summer picnic, first as ice packs, then as thirst quenchers. Before freezing, pour out about an inch of water to give the water room to expand. The bottles help keep food chilled, but will thaw as the day goes on -- leaving you with another round of cold drinks.

Comments (18)

  • moongloe 30 Jun, 2011

    it's a great idea, but i'd love to see your site move away from recommending single-use water bottles. instead, in this tip, you could suggest buying (safer) plastic bottles meant to be reused. i have some for camping. they have wider mouths, so freeze water in some, and freeze iced tea in others. they keep our cooler cold, and we can drink what has melted.

  • douchbag 30 Jun, 2011

    the very latest is that NO plastic is recommended for food or beauty/health products. check it out!

  • CirclesTheSun 13 Jun, 2010

    How long have people been freezing ice cubes in plastic freezer trays? Just a thought for you.

  • SouthsideDixie 9 Jun, 2010

    Here's another resource to check the facts on plastic bottles leaching dioxin --

  • camelotbytheriver 9 Jun, 2010

    I reuse box wine bladders. They remain frozen longer and also provide drinking water. Easy to use as you can place them on top of your food for best cooling.

  • Orah 9 Jun, 2010

    I somehow have been cheating death for years. I'm just curious though, what beaches allow glass bottles?

  • VeraLee 9 Jun, 2010

    If you are worried about freezing the water bottles why not use a BPA free bottle of water,or as mentioned in earlier posts a metal bottle.
    Aren't we supposed to be reusing?

  • bastingirls 8 Jun, 2010

    You might find this article interesting about plastic water up!

  • frannyherr 8 Jun, 2010

    An Eyore in every crowd!! LOL
    This is a great idea and I like the idea of putting them close to your back in your backpack. Thanks for the other great ideas and the comedy!!

  • meebzilla 8 Jun, 2010

    An Eyore in every crowd. Never fails. Martha, keep on truckin'.

  • CHERYLPFLOCK 8 Jun, 2010

    I have used and drank water from from frozen water bottles, and have been doing so for many many years. I have been a very healthy and I will continue to do so as I have learned in the past.......... You can't believe "everything" you read and hear nowadays.

  • mamatothemax 8 Jun, 2010

    I appreciate the idea of this, but there have been numerous studies about the chemicals that leach out of frozen plastic bottles and why not to freeze them and then drink the water in them. With how conscious MS is, I'm surprised they suggested this. So, just use them as ice packs. :)

  • melva130 8 Jun, 2010

    To prevent metal bottles from cracking and plastic bottles from exploding, do not put the cap while freezing... cover when liquid is frozen...thanks guys for the tip...

  • Yucateca 8 Jun, 2010

    Speaking from experience, do not freeze metal bottles, they will crack even leaving room for water to expand. Aluminum metal bottle manufacturers (SIGG, etc.) advise against it as well.

  • palscher 8 Jun, 2010

    freezing plastic bottles does not leach chemicals into the water. but if you are worried, metal bottles can be frozen. just remember that water expands, so you don't want to ever freeze full bottles because they can burst.

  • SouthsideDixie 8 Jun, 2010

    Freeze a few small bottles containing iced tea or your other choice of beverage. Put them inside your day-backpack, next to your back, for walking around on a hot day- at outdoor festivals, tourist excursions, hiking, taking kids to the playground, whatever. They'll keep you cool, and give you a refreshing beverage as they melt.

  • Anthonysmammy 8 Jun, 2010

    I thought you weren't supposed to freeze bottles because of chemical reaction and cancer?

  • susanmay 8 Jun, 2010

    We used this idea on boating trips, some lasting several days. We lined the bottom of the cooler with frozen bottles. Larger ones work best; smaller ones tend to defrost faster. With a good quality cooler (opening and closing the lid quickly and infrequently), the bottles on the bottom remain partially frozen for more than a day, and still provide cooling even when defrosted.