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Everything You Need to Know About Eating Snow

There’s more than one way to deal with all that snow piling up in your front yard—like transforming it into treats, for example. Worried about whether it’s safe to eat? We have some guidelines to get you started, plus three ideas for eating it up—literally. Snow cone, anyone?

Is snow safe to eat?

First things first, we know what you’re thinking: “Don’t eat the yellow snow” still applies. That aside, snow is generally safe to eat*, depending on a few factors like when and where you “harvest” your snow, how windy it is, and where you live.

*Consume fresh snow at your own risk.

Here are a few key things to remember:

  1. Only use snow that’s new and undisturbed. That doesn’t mean skimming the top, though. You’ll want to scoop snow that’s a few inches below the top surface, and a few inches above where it meets the ground. It’s also best to start after the snow has been falling for four hours or so, once the air’s been cleaned of lingering particles (turns out snow is sort of like a “scrubbing brush” for the atmosphere). 
  2. If it’s windy, wait for the next storm. When wind picks up snow, it’s blended with dirt or leaves that are also blowing in the air. It’s best to leave this forbidden trail mix where it settles and find other ways to enjoy the snow (might we suggest a sled?). 
  3. Skip out on snow snacks if you live in a city. It’s a bummer for sure, but the more urban your area, the likelier it is that snow will soak up lingering car exhaust or other not-great things in city air.

How to make snow cream

“Snow cream” has been around for thousands of years, which might just make it the original ice cream. Many variations exist, but a well-known recipe calls for just vanilla, sugar, and your choice of milk, cream, or condensed milk.

Learn how to make snow cream.

How to make a snow cone

It IS as easy as it sounds. You can make your own snow cones from real snow with just sugar and a splash of your favorite fruit juice—either store-bought or fresh. Just be sure it’s thoroughly cold, not room temp, before mixing it with your snow. You can also use a flavored powdered dessert mix (think Jell-O) or freezer pop liquid if you’re in a hurry.

Learn how to make homemade snow cones with real snow.

How to make a snow cocktail 

Shake up a snow margarita with margarita mix, tequila or mezcal, a sprinkle of salt, and your fresh snow, of course. Or you can keep things simple: Rumor has it that many snow scientists agree that “fresh Arctic snow goes very well with 15-year-old single malt whisky.”

Learn how to make a snow margarita.

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