You've heard the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well, the same goes true for snow. When Mother Nature dumps loads of the white stuff onto your neighborhood, then make the most of it with treats like maple snow candy, snow ice cream, and snow cocktails.
Anne Nolin, a professor at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, told Popular Science that snow is safe to eat "as long as it's fresh and white" and that raindrops actually pick up more pollutants than snow while traveling through the air.
Russell Dickerson, professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at the University of Maryland, seems to agree: "the first few inches of falling snow capture most of the pollutants in the air, and anything falling after that should be clean."
Here are a few guidelines to enjoying snow:
- Scoop freshly fallen snow from the top of the pile. Snow could pick up pollutants from things on the ground, so steer clear of the stuff on the bottom of the pile.
- Steer clear of brown, yellow, or pink snow. The first two are common sense (I hope), but the pink stuff is laden with algae. So don't eat anything but the fresh, white stuff.
Now, on to the snow treats!
I've been obsessed with the idea of maple snow candy since loving the Little House on the Prairie books as a kid. This is traditionally a Native American treat, but it's now part of regional culture in New England and parts of Canada.
To make maple snow candy (aka maple taffy, maple toffee, tire d'érable, or sugar-on-snow), you heat up pure maple syrup past the boiling point to the "soft ball" stage. You then pour lines of the maple syrup onto snow. It will harden to form candy, and you can either leave it flat or roll it up while it's still soft onto a popsicle stick. Get the full tutorial over at Happy Hooligans.
Stay off the roads and skip the trip to the grocery store, because all you need to make tasty snow ice cream is fresh, white snow and four other ingredients: granulated sugar, milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Whisk these four ingredients together, then add snow, mixing with a spoon. When it becomes the consistency of ice cream, you're done! Sprinkles are optional, but highly recommended by Gimme Some Oven.
For an easy treat on a snow day, create snow cone syrup using Kool-Aid powder, sugar, and water. Let the syrup cool and then pour it over scoops of snow to make a tasty snow cone. Get the full recipe here.
This is a delicious combination of coconut and lemon flavors that is simple to create and enjoy. It's sweet, tart, and easy to make.
- 2 ounces coconut water
- 1½ ounces coconut vodka
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- large scoop of fresh snow (icy snow works best)
Combine everything in a shaker and give it a couple shakes. Pour into a tall glass. It will be a little slushy if your snow is fluffy, but that's okay. (You can also swap the coconut water for some coconut milk if you wanted something creamier.)
Some people don't like the taste of coconut, and I was one of those people for many years, so I feel for you guys. In that case, I'd recommend this fresh-tasting cocktail with a little spice to warm you up.
- 1½ ounces tonic
- 1½ ounces vodka
- 1 oz simple syrup
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- ¼ small cucumber, muddled (peel if the skin is bitter before muddling)
- dash of cayenne pepper
- large scoop of fresh snow
Combine everything in a shaker and give it a couple shakes. Pour into a tall glass filled with ice and garnish with a cucumber slice.
You can make ice cream very quickly if you have dry ice, and you can attach an ice cream maker to your bicycle to churn while you pedal. If you're up for it and have some leftover breast milk in your fridge, then you can even try to make a batch of breast milk ice cream.