Snow Ice Cream

Country people have exciting ways of living, and our life in rural Arkansas in the 50s was no different. I’ve already mentioned how exciting it was to have a white winter wonderland sparkling with diamond crystals of snow. Now, I’ll share with you what other odd thing we did with snow. 

My dad loved ice cream, even in the cold wintertime, and us kids were no exception. So when he had a “taste” for ice cream, we got the taste too. When it snowed and the roads were impassable, we couldn’t go to town and buy ice cream. So one day, my daddy had a bright idea. He said, “Let’s make some snow ice cream.” Obviously, he wasn’t the first one to think of this, because I recently read where some other people who lived up north also made and ate this homemade ice cream.

So, how’s it made? After a good, long snow, we’d go outside to where snow had fallen on something elevated like one of the gigantic rocks in our yard or on top of a felled tree trunk or any other structure as high off the ground as possible. We’d take a clean pan and a glass or something to scoop the snow up with. Then, we’d rake the first layer of snow back – as though we thought it was dirty, which it probably wasn’t, but apparently we did it out of habit. Then, we’d scoop up as much snow as we wanted or needed. Then, we’d take the pan inside. Snow doesn’t melt right away. It lasts a while, so there’s time to get the other ingredients in before we end up with a pan of ice water.

Dad would beat eggs, vanilla flavor, pet milk, and sugar together, then stir the mixture into the snow until it had a light, yellow hue with a creamy texture. With our eager eyes fixed on the main bowl, he’d dish each of us a cup full. Then we sat by the heater, shivering and slurping snow ice cream made with the finest ingredients from Mom’s kitchen and the flakiest snow from heaven above. We wished each other happy eating!

Snow Ice Cream: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Snow Scream!

Fully 49 states received snowfall in the last week. Even rural Georgia – Odom’s Idle Acres – found itself covered in 4 inches of beautiful, powdery, Bing Crosby song-inspiring snow. For most it is just an excuse for a day off work or out of school or a reason to slick up the garbage can lid and head for the nearest hill. But for those who see snow as an epicurious test to our homesteading skills it is the perfect reason to make up a batch of Snow Cream.

Snow Cream is akin to ice cream tasting almost as good but definitely twice as much to make. Not to mention the way mother nature does most of the work as opposed to a more traditional method of freezing a custard mix as a first step.

So how do we make this Snow Cream? It’s really quite easy. Needing only a little dairy, some sugar and vanilla flavoring/extract, the largest ingredient is just outside the front door: fresh snow.

Word to the wise, DO NOT try to use snow that is within footsteps of your coop or in the goat pen or where your dog typically finds respite.

But why does snow lend itself to this treatment? Well, let’s think about ice cream for a second. Ice cream is basically a collection of tiny frozen crystals of milk/egg/vanilla/sugar beaten together with air. Snow is fluffy frozen water crystals. So it would serve to reason that all we need to do is add the flavor to try and match one of Baskin-Robbins 31.

Okay, time to get all nerdy real quick.

Because snow has different ratios of water to air based on outside temperatures, wind speed and velocity there is no tried and true recipe for Snow Cream but rather a suggested method. You can fill in your own blanks and add your own flavoring as desired.

INGREDIENTS (based on 1 gallon of Snow Cream)

1 gallon fresh, white snow
1 cup milk
0.5 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

The directions are nothing more than mix all your ingredients together and freeze for an additional 10 minutes to harden.

I added some chocolate syrup to my first bowl and then added some homemade strawberry jam to my second bowl.

Published on Feb 16, 2010

Grit Magazine

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