How to Make Simple Syrup

19 Oct

One of the biggest time-savers in preparing shave ice syrups is pre-making the simple syrup and adding concentrate as needed. Here is our recipe:

5 lbs. sugar + 2 quarts water = 1 gallon of simple syrup

25 lbs sugar + 3 gallons water = 5 gallons of simple syrup

The hotter the water the better, as it dissolves the sugar faster. It will become clear and thicken as it cools. One option is to actually boil the syrup for 3-5 minutes, resulting in a sweeter, thicker syrup. The cooking process breaks down the sugar into two simple sugars, fructose and glucose, increasing its sweetness up to 24%. Although it is not necessary to boil it in order to make a delicious syrup, the shelf life will increase since bacteria has been killed during the cooking process. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the extra time and general inconvenience. Happy syrup making!

Shave Ice Tycoon for the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

4 Oct

If you’ve ever had ambitions of owning a shave ice business, now you can with a fun app for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Shave Ice Tycoon, brought to you by BakerCrew Games, is the Hawaiian version of the ever-popular Lemonade Stand app, where you can build your business to be the next tycoon of frozen island treats! We had the opportunity to speak directly to the app’s creator and here’s his touching story.

Our families love for Shave Ice started a very long time ago.  My wife
and I had the fabulous experience of being able to go to Hawaii on our
honeymoon.  We fell in love with Hawaii, and have been back many
times.  Through our travels to Hawaii, we found Matsumoto Shave Ice —
the best Shave Ice we have ever had.  Our four children have all
inherited our love for shave ice.  So, we bought a small cheap little
shave ice machine, with some pre-mixed flavors.  This was back when
our children were in the 6-11 year-old range.  They set up shop on the
sidewalk and sold to our neighbors.  Of course the machine generated a
sub-standard ice quality compared to the shave ice we had at
Matsumoto’s.  Over the years, we bought better and better machines —
ending in the machine we still have today: a rather large and heavy
machine (we ordered and shipped from Hawaii) that takes block ice and
a hand crank to generate amazing quality shave ice.  One summer my
son, Spencer, decided we should build a shave ice shack that he could
sell from at the corner.  We spent several weeks constructing the
shack.  He spent several summers at the shack selling shave ice to
neighbors and cars driving by.  We had at least 25 flavors.  We have a
5 gallon jug that held our own syrup.

Well, time continued.  Children got older.  Spencer went off to
college and took a computer programming class.  I got an iPad for my
work, and took a programming class about programming the iPhone and
iPad.  Then, Spencer got the idea of “Shave Ice Tycoon” for the iPad
and iPhone.  We spent the summer of 2011 writing code, getting artwork
done, and putting it all together.  One fun thing for our family is
that many of the upgrades available in the game are real items from
our families life:  The first cube-shaver was one we had; the big
green hand-crank block-shaver is the one we still have; the little red
cash register is one the kids used on the corner; the “Wooden White
Shack” is an exact replica of the one Spencer built many years ago;
the flavor bottles we still have.  I’m sure there are other items from
our family life — Spencer put together all the artwork.

You may be wondering why I’m writing this (I’m Spencer’s dad).
Spencer is currently serving a service mission in Brazil.  So, I’m
“tending the store” while he is gone.  The proceeds from the Shave Ice
Tycoon game are helping pay for his mission.

One last funny thing:  Spencer does not like fruit or fruit flavored
anything.  He has about two flavors he likes.  Root beer is his
favorite flavor, and about the only flavor he enjoys.  Funny, the one
child that really likes Shave Ice is the child that doesn’t enjoy

See our apps in the Apple App Store under “Bakercrew Games” or “ShaveIce Tycoon”.
Dan Baker

Swan, Hatsuyuki, Fujimarca: How Do They Differ From Less Expensive Generic Machines?

20 Sep

Most likely, one of the first things you did when deciding to utilize a block ice shaver was peruse Ebay for a deal on your very first major purchase. Let’s face it, they ain’t cheap! And while scrolling page after page, you find very simlar looking machines for a fraction of the cost. Hmmm…you wonder…..could they do the job? As we mentioned in another blog post, the machine you choose will be one of the most expensive purchases you will make. And who doesn’t want to save a little moolah when establishing a new business?

The first thing we notice about the generic brand, is the lack of a protective shield where the ice block is placed. Who wants a 5 pound block of ice to spin out of control at your face?…any takers? Moving on. With the exception of the Fujimarca, each of the brand name machines have nozzle at the base where a drain hose can be attached. This is especially important because the residual ice will melt and you’ll have a wet mess if it doesn’t have somewhere to drain to. Not to mention, the melted ice can drip down onto the foot pedal or other electrical plug and cause a hazard. We believe this might be one of the reasons the Fujimarca is not NSF approved, but eh, who knows? A large pan and hose can be purchased to catch and drain the water  so we guess it’s not too much of an issue but still something to consider.

One of the few things that need to be maintained on these commercial ice shavers is the blade. Since blades are unique to each machine, it seems that it would be difficult to find replacement blades or any other parts for that matter. Which brings us to our most important concern. Customer service. These generic machine are mass produced in China while Hatsuyuki, Swan, and Fujimarca have been long-standing makers of ice shavers and their machines have been proven to last through years of heavy use. If nothing else, the reputation of the brand name shavers would give us enough reason to purchase one.

What kind of machine do you use and why?


Shave Ice is NICE!

10 Sep

Just a little bit of fun for our blog today. See, little bros are good from something!

Featured Business: Kianakai Shave Ice

1 Sep

As our passion for shave ice and its community grows, we would like to feature authentic Hawaiian shave ice businesses here in our blog. Our first cameo appearance is made by Kianakai Shave Ice based in Long Beach, California. They serve their ‘ono shave ice at farmer’s markets and will come out to cater your special event! Be sure to visit their website and Facebook to see what they have planned next.

I am a nurse by trade but I love serving our delicious shave ice to people here in So Cal. I love providing and educating people in what real shave ice should taste like. Most people here have not tasted shave ice since their last visit to Hawaii. And many have not tried it with ice cream, snow cap, mochi or azuki beans….. I am here to show them all what they are missing!…. I take pride in my business as an owner and consumer as well…. I Love Shave Ice!
Eric, Kianakai Shave Ice

Kianakai Shave Ice, named after Eric's own keiki!