A shaved ice maker turns ice cubes into shaved ice.
A shaved ice maker is a device that turns large blocks or small cubes of ice into chips. Shaved ice chips are often used to create artificially flavored treats, often called snow cones. A shaved ice maker works in the same way as a regular ice maker, only the result of the machine’s process is different.
When ice is fed into a crushed ice maker, a motor equipped with blades finely crushes the ice into small chips. These shavings are ideal for any artificial syrup that can be poured over them, as the syrup tends to stick to well-shaved ice. In one hour, an industrial shaved ice maker can crush nearly 500 pounds (226.79 kg) of ice. Home shaved ice makers don’t grind as much ice as industrial machines, but they do grind enough ice to make a good amount of frozen treats.
A New Orleans inventor patented the first ice block shaver used for snow cones.
The shaved ice maker is often confused with the snow cone maker, although the two machines do not work in the same way. A snow cone maker crushes large blocks of ice into thin pieces that resemble ice balls or snow. When artificial syrup is added to ice created from a snow cone maker, the syrup automatically sinks to the bottom of the snow cone container.
Shaved ice is widely associated with Hawaii, as shaved ice treats are popular throughout Hawaii, although the first shaved ice maker was invented in New Orleans. A man named Ernest Hansen developed the first motorized shaved ice maker in 1934. Before Hansen’s invention, street vendors manually chipped and shaved ice into large blocks. When Hansen’s invention was introduced, many street vendors abandoned the hand-chipping method for the practical shaved ice maker.
Today, shaved ice treats can be found all over the world. Almost every country has some form of shaved ice cream, although these syrupy snacks tend to go by different names according to geographic location. Snow cones come in many different flavors and sizes, although the recipe for a basic snow cone remains the same.
Those who would like to make snow cones at home can purchase shaved ice makers from certain manufacturers online or at specialty kitchen supply stores. Residential shaved ice makers are relatively inexpensive as well as easy to use. Industrial shaved ice machines tend to be more expensive than residential ones, although the return on investment is often worth the upfront price.