Is It Safe to Eat Snow Cream?

Or is that bowl of snow full of pollutants?

homemade Easy Snow Ice Cream recipe in a glass dessert dish with a spoon
Photo: niahboo_300

Snow cream (AKA, ice cream made from snow) isn't sold in stores. You won't find it in the freezer aisle next to the tubs of ice cream or containers of colorful popsicles. Your only chance of finding or making snow cream is during or after a snowfall.

It's one of the easiest desserts you'll ever make (most recipes call for some combination of snow, sugar, and cream), and not only is it safe to eat, but it's also about as "farm-to-table" as you can get in the middle of the winter.

Before you set the table for this simple and tasty dessert, pay attention to a few tips and tricks that ensure you're indulging in snow cream in the safest way possible.

Tips for Safe Snow Cream

1. Wait a minute.

The first snowfall of the season is exciting. Magical, even. But if you must get out there to play as soon as you see the first flakes at your window, it's best not to indulge immediately. As snow falls from the sky, it travels a decent distance before it lands on the ground, giving it ample opportunity to collect things along the way.

Sulfur, nitrates, mercury, or formaldehyde are potential clinger-on-ers to those initial flakes. The first flakes act as literal buffers or air purifiers, allowing later flakes to float through air that has largely been stripped of these impurities.

Get the Recipe: Mema's Snow Ice Cream

2. Consider the location.

In large urban areas, ripe with dogs, children, and whizzing buses, it may be more difficult to find truly clean snow. Rural regions, on the other hand, are subject to less vehicular and foot traffic, and probably fewer pollutants in general, making the country a more attractive place to get your snow cream fix.

Avoid discolored snow (as much as dogs seem to enjoy chomping on the cool crystals, they're also quick to relieve themselves on it) or snow that's too close to the ground as it's likely to mix with dirt and other debris.

Get the Recipe: Snow Ice Cream II

3. Come prepared.

Snow by itself may taste cool and refreshing, but snow cream is next level. The colder the temperature, the more time you have to retrieve the snow from outside and carry it inside, but even then, snow melts pretty quickly.

A stainless steel bowl is a good choice for collecting your snow — as opposed to say, a car's windshield or the lid of a garbage can — and if you select a large enough bowl, you can just add the other ingredients right to the bowl.

Heavy cream, milk, condensed milk for added richness, almond or vanilla extract, and a couple tablespoons of sugar or maple syrup all go a long way in creating a sweet, delicious dish of snow cream.

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