Alternatives to an Ice Pack

Have you ever had an injury that required an ice pack, but realized you didn’t have one available? I have. Here are some suggestions about what you can do to ice an injury in the absence of an ice pack:

1. This is just common sense – Ice in a plastic zip lock bag, maybe even double bagged to prevent leakage, and then wrapped in a towel. You don’t want to give yourself frostbite.

2. Do you have kids at home? Then you probably have some of those popsicles without a stick in the clear plastic sheaths in your freezer. Make them do double duty. Place one or more in a plastic bag (grocery or zip top) to hold condensation and any unexpected leakage as they melt and wrap the whole thing in a towel or rag.

3. Get ready to make some vegetable soup. A bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in kitchen towel works great. They won’t do well on refreezing so you better plan on using them for supper when you are done. Or, heck, why not keep it on hand in the freezer for the next ice emergency :).

4. Do you like nuts? Walnuts, pecans or whole almonds work best. I usually keep my bags of shelled nuts for snacking or baking in the freezer to prevent them from going rancid. The almonds are more dense than the other types of nuts so they retain the cold longer. Again, wrap the bag in a kitchen towel and you are good to go.

5. This is somewhat on par with number 3 – frozen cranberries. Frozen cranberries hold their shape and texture better than other berries as they thaw. This makes them a good substitute for an ice pack. Refreezing them may destroy them (make them mushy for next time) – unless you have a blast freezer – so you may want to plan on making some cranberry salad, bread or other recipe that calls for them once you are done.

6. Coffee – whole bean that is. The opinions are mixed on whether or not you should put the whole beans in the freezer, but I do. Just like the nuts, the coffee just seems to last a lot longer. It does dehydrate a little, but I’m going to be brewing it anyway so who cares.

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