July 22, 2014

DIY Philadelphia Style Lime Water Ice


I was born & raised in Philadelphia.  I LOVED my neighborhood!  We never locked our doors. I was within walking distance of all of my friends yet had a huge yard where my dad had an enormous garden, cherry tree, apple tree, swimming pool and more. We had bats at night, snakes in the strawberry patch and the occasional surprise critter visit since we backed up to a wooded area.  I loved it!

When you think of Philly, you think of The Liberty Bell, The Reading Terminal Market, Rocky, Cheese Steaks and Hoagies...right??  But right up there with all of those are soft pretzels and water ice....Oh water ice, how I love you!  I have to say that water ice is at the top of my list when it comes to a dessert...actually any time of the year!  If you have never had it you will be in for a treat!

25 years ago a now famous water  ice company, started by a Philly fireman, opened their first and second shops not far from where I grew up...lucky for me their second shop was within a 15 minute walk from my house AND my friends and I walked right past it on the way home from high school! It was love at first bite for me!  Recently I decided to try to make my own DIY Philadelphia Style Water Ice...I though it would be a fun project to do with the kids over the summer...and boy was I right about THAT!

Enter The Spice House.  If you are a reader of my site you know the love I have for The Spice House!  It is my hands down favorite site to purchase...well anything (I am never without either their Vulcan's Fire Salt or their Chicago Old Town Premium Spiced Sugar)!  I don't think there is one other site that I have purchased more frequently from for the last 5 or so years.  I just knew I would find what I needed there to make water ice, and I did!  I ordered their Lime Extract and set out to make one of my favorite flavors of water ice - Lime!

If you ever wondered where you could get quality spices for all of your cooking and baking needs look no further than The Spice House!  

The Spice House opened its doors back in 1957, and today has both a robust online business as well as 5 locations throughout Chicago & Milwaukee.  They carry over 600 products from at least 50 different countries, including pure spices and herbs, spice blends, salts, and extracts and have caught the admiration of many home cooks across the country as well as some heavy hitters in the food world, including Alton Brown & Julia Child!

Alton Brown filmed his famous “Good Eats Fruitcake Episode” at their Evanston shop 15 years ago and recently had Patty and Tom on his Podcast – The AltonBrowncast Episode 23.  The Spice House also happens to make 3 special blends for Alton, which you can find here.  You know Alton Brown knows a good thing when he finds one!  Many of Chicago’s top chefs walk through The Spice House doors for inspiration, “secret ingredients” and all around quality spices.  Julia Child once proclaimed The Spice House a “national treasure”!

Patty remembers Julia’s visit to their Milwaukee shop:
We had cinnamon that came from Vietnam, a long log, real thick, and as hard as a baseball bat! The trade doors had just opened from Vietnam when she visited, and we couldn't wait to show her this bark, and then give her a taste in powder form. Julia took the bark right out of my hand and took a giant bite right out of it! My whole family was there and we all collectively sucked in our breath, and asked, "Do you want to spit that out?" But she kept right on   chewing and chewing and chewing, and 10 minutes later she had chewed it enough to swallow it. Julia was just so gracious, and she said something like, "Oh my dear, you're absolutely right, this is a delightful cinnamon, thank you for sharing this with me!" She signed the rest of that bark and today that bark is one of Patty’s prized possessions.

Tom & Patty took over Patty’s parents business back in 1993 and have built The Spice House into what it is today...resource for incredible spices and seasonings, as fresh as you can get them at an affordable price.  They scour the world for the best ingredients and spices.  From large farm collaboratives in exotic countries to boutique farmers who specialize in  items not commercially produced, like one special connection they have with a friend’s mother who just so happens to own a vanilla plantation in Tahiti, where only a limited amount of beans are produced and they're very…very expensive. “We have a really great connection with that farm, and we'll get maybe 20 pounds of Tahitian vanilla beans month”.   

To bring you the freshest ingredients possible The Spice House grinds and blends their spices and seasonings in small batches right in their stores which is why as you approach a store and walk through its doors you are greeted with an intoxicating aroma! 

Many of their spices come in pretty glass jars, however you can also order many varieties in bags (as well as in salt-free versions), and let me tell you...you will be blown away by their pricing! Their gift boxes are both gorgeous and well thought out.  The thought they put into their gift box packaging is something you really don't see these days. They include whole nutmegs, cinnamon sticks and more as packaging you can actually use!  Their delivery is always quick as well, which has always impressed me.  Take a few minutes and peruse their offerings and prepare to be impressed!

Once you try The Spice House…you just may fall in love with their quality, pricing and friendly service!  I know I sure have!

Check out what some of my foodie friends  created with ingredients they ordered from The Spice House:

2 incredibly lucky readers will win a delicious prize!!  




a Rafflecopter giveaway

1st Prize - $250.00 in spices, which includes Grill & BBQ Deluxe Gift Box Set, Bakers Spices Gift Box Set, Vanilla Bean Sugar, Chicago Old Town Premium Sugar, Vulcan's Fire Salt, Chai Spices with Vanilla, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Dutched Cocoa Powder, Aleppo Pepper, AND a $100.00 gift card to The Spice House to find your favorites not on this list or try some new ones!

2nd Prize - The Signature Selection Gift Box Set, Chicago Old Town Premium Sugar, Fancy Onion Salt, Fancy Garlic Salt, Vanilla Bean Sugar, Tellicherry Black Peppercorns and a $50.00 gift card to The Spice House to find your favorites not on this list or try some new ones!


Contest open to U.S. mailing addresses, must be 18 years or older to enter.  Prizes will be fulfilled by The Spice House.

Disclosure: I was given a gift card to order spices as compensation for this post, however as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

If you have never had water ice you are in for a treat!! Its cool and refreshing, there is nothing quite like it! You can make cherry, mango, cotton candy and bubblegum to name a few! You can add flecks of real fruit as well.  If this is your first time trying water ice...I say you yell out YO Adrienne!! While you enjoy it...to get the full effect!! If you are a tri-state area local and don't want to wait in the long-lines of summer...making it yourself is easier than you ever would have thought!  Quicker for sure than hopping in your car and waiting in line...give it a try and let me know what you think!

Philadelphia Style Lime Water Ice
4 1/2 cups of cold water
1 cup of sugar
1-2 teaspoons of The Spice House Lime Extract
4-5 drops neon green food coloring

In a small pot combine 1 cup of the water and your sugar.  Heat just until the sugar melts and the liquid is clear.  Stir occasionally until then.  Remove the pot from the heat and add in the remainder of the water as well as the extract and the food coloring.  Place your liquid into the bucket of your chilled ice cream maker bucket (I always keep at least one in my freezer, ready at a moments notice when the need for ice cream, sorbet and now water ice strikes) and churn until it becomes slushy-ish which should take about 20-25 minutes.  Perfect water ice is slushy, with some of it turning to juice again along the sides, you scoop it up with a spoon and sometimes sip on it...its magical!

When you store your just made water ice - do NOT store it in your ice cream bucket - it will harden like a rock and take forever to thaw.  Instead freeze it in mason jars (already per-portioned - a plus!) or a container.  Prior to serving allow it to once again become slushy, stirring it up as it begins to thaw.

Enjoy!!


46 comments:

  1. I've never had water ice! Would love to try this, especially on a hot Texas summer day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd say cumin & chili powder are my most frequently used spices! And cinnamon!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love your post! What an awesome collection of memories. The Spice House sounds fabulous. I will be sure to order there the next time I need something for the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the story. Also love the recipe. I can't wait to make homemade water ice for my kids...and me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I want this lime water ice! And a straw! And brain freeze! And I want to buy ALLLLL the spices at The Spice House. I'm considering indentured servitude. And a spice annex.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Add another spice to the list to order! Since leaving PA, water ice is the main thing we have missed this summer!! I can not wait to try this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Neat story and wonderful recipe. So great!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My favorite spice is cumin, I love to make southwest dinners with it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The recipe sound amazing, I never knew water ice was so easy to make.
    I'm going to make it this weekend and surprise my family. YUM

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh dear---I love cinnamon...and cumin---not usually together :)
    Mary Beth Elderton

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ya know, I never really got the term "water ice" (we call it Italian ice back home), but this recipe I totally get. Love that you made a classic homemade!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love this idea! You always do such a great job!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've never had water ice, but it sounds so refreshing and delicious.
    My favorite spice is cinnamon--not sure I would want to chew the bark though!
    Thanks.
    sharonjo at gwtc dot net

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like the recipe and I like to use coriander

    ReplyDelete
  15. Will have to try this and im liking cumin the most lately.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your story is wonderful. I'd love to try the recipe and also the iced lavender cookies!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love curry, use it in a lot of things, great taste!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thyme is my new favorite! I have never used it before a few months ago and I can't believe it! It is good on anything! I am discovering more spices because I have high blood pressure and had to cut out salt and still discovering spices and this would just be amazing to win!
    I am going to have to try that Lime Water Ice soon, it looks and sounds wonderfully refreshing!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love cumin!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I like fennels seeds ginger and garlic. They add great flavor to any meal.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My favorite savory spice is pepper (because tarragon is an herb), and 'sweet' is cinnamon

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love the versatility of cinnamon. It's tried and true and one of my absolute favs!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love water ice I think I'll try it

    ReplyDelete
  24. My favorite spice is probably ginger. Maybe. Gosh there are so many great ones I use on a day to day basis it's hard to decide.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Living in hot, humid Central Florida calls for frozen, cold treats everyday. I LOVE Key Lime flavor so I'm anxious to try this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  26. My favorite spice is cinnamon because you can use it in savory or sweet dishes.

    ReplyDelete
  27. my favorite spice is garlic powder! i add it to about every dish i make !

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'd love to win some Spice House spices! About the only herb or spice I don't like is caraway seeds!

    ReplyDelete
  29. My favorite spice is - wow! I didn't realize how hard a question that is! Probably garlic powder, but I truly love them all.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I haven't tried your tempting Lime Water ~ but I will just as soon as I can get myself over to The Spice House (on Central St, Evanston ~ which just happens to be next door to the store where my DAD grew up in the tiny apartment above it, a long long long time ago ~ it's only about 3 miles away!)

    Anyway, I did manage to make Lil Kitchie's Dark Chocolate, Sunflower Seed, Grey Sea Salt Cookies over the weekend (I just happened to have ALL of the ingredients on hand except for the GREY Sea Salt, but I did/do have Fleur de Sel "Esprit de Sel" and La Baleine French Sea Salt to use instead) and the cookies were delish and quickly devoured (despite some skepticism from my Hubby who wanted me to use "regular type nuts" instead of "seeds" (aka: "bird food"... ; - ) Thanks Colleen!

    Jesselyn A/Jesstinger
    jessterlyn(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your Lime Water Ice recipe looks cool and refreshing.

    My favorite spice is smoked paprika.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  32. My favorite spice is either curry or basil, love them both.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love red pepper or minced garlic,natbelinsky@verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  34. I LOVE the SPice House, though I'm not in Old Town as often as I'd like. Really good curry blends please me no end....

    ReplyDelete
  35. I use a lot of spices, but I use cinnamon everyday!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Gotta love spices! Great giveaway, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have never had water ice. Sounds tasty! :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. I don't have a favorite spice unless you want to consider them ALL my favorite! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Mmm, water ice! I always have some when I visit my sister in Philly.

    I think I put cinnamon in just about everything I cook, or it seems like it, anyway. But I think my favorite spice is ginger--can't get enough of it! I try to eat some turmeric every day too, both for flavor and for its anti-inflammatory effect.

    ReplyDelete