Some people prefer ice cubes over crushed ice in their cold drinks because they tend to melt slower, leaving their drink undiluted for a longer period of time. Those who enjoy slushy drinks or snow cones need soft crushed ice to make these refreshing treats. The difference between crushed ice and soft crushed ice is all about the consistency. Crushed ice is just ice cubes crushed into smaller pieces; soft crushed ice is ice that has been broken up almost to a powdery consistency.
Fill an ice cube tray with cold water and place it in the freezer. Leave the tray of water in the freezer for at least two hours.
Check to be sure that the water is completely frozen by gripping the short ends of the tray and flexing them back and forth. You will see water bubbles move inside the cubes if they aren't frozen, in that case, leave them in the freezer for another 30 minutes and check them again. If they are completely frozen, remove the tray from the freezer.
Lay a clean dish towel out on the counter and empty the tray onto the dish towel by holding it upside down and banging it on the counter. Fold the edges of the dish towel over the top of the ice.
Bang on the top of the dish towel with a wooden spoon until all of the ice cubes are crushed into small pieces.
Roll a rolling pin over the crushed ice to crush it even further. Continue to do this until the ice is in tiny pieces and has the consistency of icy snow.
Lift the towel with the soft crushed ice inside, and dump the soft crushed ice into a plastic bowl. Place the plastic bowl into the freezer so the crushed ice doesn't melt.
You can use a powerful blender or a store-bought snow cone machine to make soft crushed ice as well.
Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.