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How To Make Ice Without Electricity From Water and Fertilizer

>7 February 2012
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I have a confession to make.

I am now officially addicted to Jericho.

Some friends of ours let us borrow their Jericho: The First Season DVDs, and Jerry and I could NOT stop watching. Seriously, we had a five hour movie marathon over the weekend, both of us completely enthralled into the wee morning hours.

FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT people! That’s more tv than I normally watch in a month!

It’s a good thing we only had the first two discs, or it would have been bad for everyone.

Something I saw them do in one of the episodes especially peaked my curiosity… a man was dying with a horrible fever, there was no electricity so they had no ice; a teacher remembered a science experiment which created ice from water and fertilizer, and was able to create a block of ice in time to cool the man off.

That’s awesome! I thought out loud. I wonder if that would really work?

After doing some digging, I found the instructions. Now, keep in mind that I have not tried this yet, so I can’t vouch for its credibility… but it’d be cool to try.

Here’s how it’s done

You’ll need:

  • water
  • Ammonium Nitrate (a fertilizer made up of a 50/50 mixture of ammonium and nitrate; found at farm and garden stores)
  • a bucket or large bowl
  • a smaller metal bowl (small enough to fit inside the other container)


Mix equal parts water and fertilizer in a bucket or a large bowl, till dissolved. Next, carefully place the smaller metal bowl half filled with water in the bucket. (Note: it must be a metal bowl, plastic will not work.) The bowl of water will freeze, though it takes several hours from what I’ve read.

If this works, not only would it be an awesome science project for the kiddos, but would also be a potential life saver if you were ever in a situation where you’d lost power and desperately needed to cool something/someone off.

I’m totally putting this on my list of things to try!

So, what do you think? Would it work, or am I too gullible? I’d love to know if any of you have ever tried this before!

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  • Suz said:

    Yeah it will work…but you have to buy the fertilizer..stuff I don’t use or have around

  • Tiffani said:

    My husband and I LOVED Jericho! We were so upset when it was canceled. It was such a good show.

  • Lynda said:

    I believe if you add deisel to that fertilizer you’ve made yourself a bomb…be careful. And I love Jericho…I have all the episodes.

  • Emily said:

    Haha. When I saw the title of your post my first thought was – wow just like on jericoh…

  • ann said:

    bad thing is, the government won’t let anyone sell the amonium nitrate unless you have 24 hour surveliance. We always used it to disolve ice on the steps and in our garden. Now thanks to our government, here is another thing the “normal people” can’t have to use.

  • Daniel said:

    Jericho is on netflix too now. Totally will work, but like Lynda and ann said, you’ll have a tough time finding it, or will be required to leave your info- because it can be mixed with diesel (although many additives have made this much more difficult since there is a few ‘crazies’ out there) to make a bomb. By itself and with water it is relatively safe. It creates an Endothermic reaction (a reaction that eats up heat to perpetuate itself) which causes the water to freeze. There are a couple other ways to do this as well. Same basic set-up thought. Isolate your water to be frozen (in a stainless or, copper or, aluminum or, brass container) and place that one in a endothermic situation (another container that will absorb heat away from the first container). P.S. make sure you don’t make a battery with two different metal containers- your experiment could turn violently exothermic (gives off large amounts of heat- catches fire or blows up.) have fun.

  • Howard said:

    Very nice, I will be sure and try it.

  • TekServer said:

    Any thoughts on the new show, “Revolution”? I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jericho when I watched the pilot.


  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I’m dying to watch Revolution, lol! I’m gonna have to find somebody who can record it for us. Or online somewhere ;) We can only hope it’s as good as Jericho!

  • Vern said:

    How many seasons did Jericho run? We just found it on Netflix and love it!!!

    As for Revolution… I was praying that my power would go out when I watched the pilot. It was horrible!!! Nothing realistic about it whatsoever. I haven’t tuned in since the pilot.

  • Jason said:

    Its funny that everyone is mentioning Revolution. Thats why I am looking for ways to make the ice with out electricity. They have cubes of it on the show for their drinks.

  • royboy said:

    LOVE THE SHOW. that is actually why i was looking it up. and found this thread. it got me to thinking. what if….. tomorrow, im going to look for literature on just those type of experiments. any suggestions?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    No suggestions, Royboy, but let me know if you find anything cool!!

  • Cameron said:

    Wow it’s so funny how everyone is on here cause of the ice trick on jericho but the only reason I put more thought in it is cause they have ice cubes on revolution just like somebody else had posted

  • Jake said:

    I was considering doing this for my insulator project at school, until I read in the description that it could end up burning down my school(or blowing up everyone in the room) so I decided against it.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Really, Jake?? That’s pretty crazy. I wonder if that’s a real possibility.

  • Anonymous said:

    ha ha i love jericho too and wish i had fertilizer

  • jc davis said:

    Oh that’s just horse poop. Use horse or cow poop mixed with human pee you got the mix. Use a clay pot on the outside. Wet it on the outside and set it in the sun. cover the top with a cloth. works in a few hours. Seen this on youtube. They used wet sand. With the right mix it would get much colder. However one could not expect to get enough ice to store food for the winter. That’s what id like to find.
    By the way, Its nice to see people acting like adults as all the posters here have done. cheers

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Interesting, jc davis. Do you remember the YouTube video you watched? I’d love a link, if you can find it :)

  • Adam said:

    This is awesome, thanks for the info. I’m going to try the experiment and watch Jericho.I don’t really like Revolution though.

  • Cory said:

    This is basically how instant cold packs work. The outer bag is filled with ammonium nitrate and the inner bag is filled with water. When you squeeze the pack you break the inner bag and the water mixes with the ammonium nitrate, making the pack cold. Just pick up an instant cold pack next time your out, you can knock this off or your things to try list.

  • Marcie said:

    Jericho ran for two seasons and I miss it. Revolution is awesome as well. I actually found this site doing a search due to what I had seen on Jericho. I wanted to learn it for SHTF and disaster planning since I have meds that need to be kept cold. Thanks guys

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Marcie! At first we didn’t really like Revolution. Not really as much survival stuff as I’d like to see, and too much fighting. But we’ve kinda been drawn in now and have been keeping up, lol. Sure wish Jericho would come back though!!

  • Timi said:

    Hi Kendra. I love Jericho and revolution. But if you want survival shows try walking dead. Love Love Love this show. It will make you think. Also like your blog

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Timi,

    You know, we tried watching Walking Dead. Just couldn’t get into the whole zombie thing, lol. Currently we’re catching up on Season 2 of The Colony. VERY cool to watch. If you haven’t seen it already, check it out on YouTube. :)

  • Tabitha said:

    I also LOVED Jericho and that is what made me want to do this for the science fair at my school because few people at my school have even watched Jericho so no one else would he doing it. Thank you SO much for the info it’s has helped me so much!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I hope it works for you, Tabitha!

  • Tabitha said:

    Would it be Okay for me to use this as research for my project? We have to write a research paper about the topic we are doing and I would love to be able to use this! I wouldnt be quoting it exactly in the final draft, just a few facts here and there.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Absolutely, Tabitha. :)

  • Chris said:

    Found this thread because I’m making a solar powered ac, it requires ice, so I got to I king. How can I make ice without electricity. Thanks all

  • CPrep said:

    Just a few shows and movies that i found interesting reguarding post apocalyptic and apocalyptic nature and survival situations. Though you have to take some parts and leave others far behind you from each there are still some interesting facts that have been hidden in these shows.


    The Walking Dead

    The Colony




    Evacuate Earth

    Surviving Disaster

    Falling Skies


    Doomsday Preppers

    After Armagedon

    America Blackout



    20 Years After

    I am legend

    28 Days later


    The Happening

    Water World

    The Post Man

    Red Dawn

    The Book Of Eli




    The Day After Tommorrow

    The Host

    The Road

    War Of The Worlds

    World War Z


    Some of these shows and movies are far fetched and way off base but at the same time there are little survial tips mixed in with the garbage. Hope the list is enjoyed and my apoligies if some dont share my views reguarding this list.

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