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Is it safe to make and eat snow ice cream?

"Is is safe to make snow ice cream?"
"Is is safe to make snow ice cream?"
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The answer to this question is determined by who you ask!

Most everyone will tell you to not eat the first snow – it has toxins.

Everyone will tell you to not eat “yellow” snow.

While making and eating snow ice cream in days of yore was one of the most favorite things for families to do – it may not be safe to do so today.

There are many chemicals in most yards – weed killers – fertilizer – run off from where animals might have been.

Those whose opinions you might consider are – never eat snow down in a valley where the dirt is sedentary and contaminated – always eat snow from the highest peak – and never use the top or bottom layer – scoop off the top and take what is in between. Perhaps putting a bowl out and letting it fill with snow would be safer.

But if you must: Recipe for making snow cream - make at your own peril.


3 cups loose clean snow 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Thoroughly mix all ingredients.
2. Taste and add sugar and vanilla, as needed.

Ask the experts:

Ask Ernie:

“But first, let’s consider how snow is made. It’s simple really. Snow is created when moisture in the air freezes around a dust particle. So at the very least, with each snowflake you ingest, you’re eating a tiny dust particle, which isn’t so bad when you consider that dust is everywhere around us and we eat it every day. (My apologies if anyone is eating as they read this.)”

“As for the risks of ingesting airborne chemicals and pollutants when you eat snow, that answer is a little trickier. That’s why we’re going to defer to the experts.”

“According to Helen Macintosh, an environmental professor at Harvard, as snow falls, it can attract toxins and these toxins are greater with snowfall in or near a city.”

It’s not looking good for our plans to make snow cones, is it?

For our bottom line answer, we’re going to defer to Dr. Lynnette Mazur, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School, who says, “Licking a little snow off a glove is probably OK. A meal of snow is not.”

The only question now is: How much exactly is a “meal of snow?”

“Bon Appétit”! Ernie

One more opinion: When You Shouldn't Eat Snow

“You probably already know to avoid yellow snow. The color is a big warning sign the snow is contaminated, in this case with urine. Similarly, don't eat other colored snow. Red or green colors can indicate the presence of algae, which may or may not be good for you. Why take the chance?”

“Other colors to avoid include black, brown, gray and any snow containing obvious particles of grit or grime. Snow that falls around smoke stacks, active volcanoes, and radiation accidents (think Chernobyl and Fukushima) should not be ingested.”

The most common warnings about eating snow concern eating snow near roads. Exhaust fumes used to contain lead residues, which would get into the snow. Toxic lead isn't a modern-day concern, but it's still best to collect snow away from busy streets.”

Want to play it safe – buy ice cream at the grocery store or make hot chocolate instead.

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