Maybe let’s not make ice cream out of snow

A melting snowman wearing a scarf surrounded by dirt
Photo: picture alliance (Getty Images)

Listen: I’m not gonna tell you what to do. I do all kinds of weird, gross stuff when left to my own devices. (It’s 2021, so I’m always left to my own devices.) We’re all adults here, and we’re all bored as hell after a few weeks of gnarly winter weather. But maybe—just maybe—we should avoid ingesting snow from the ground. Even in ice cream form.


I’ll explain. St. Louis news station KSDK recently re-shared a 2018 recipe submitted by a viewer. The recipe is for “snow ice cream,” which is exactly what it sounds like—ice cream made of freshly fallen snow. The KSDK viewer who submitted the recipe insists that the ice cream tastes “sweet and fluffy.” It’s made with the following everyday ingredients:

  • Snow (at least 4 cups)
  • 1/8 c. sweetened condensed milk or sugar
  • Chocolate syrup to taste
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • Splash of vanilla extract

“*Pro tip: set your bowl outside before it starts snowing so you have untouched snow already in your bowl.”

Sounds tasty, no? But is it altogether... safe? As a reminder, we’ve reported on eating snow before. We got this answer from a bona fide food safety specialist:

“Microorganisms can be easily transferred to snow from people’s shoes, a flying bird that defecates, dog feces, and a host of other disgusting sources. Depending on where the snow is located, it could also contain chemical contaminants, such as deicer, fuel from leaking vehicles, pesticides, and a host of other chemicals.”

I’ve actually tried snow ice cream once, when I spent a few surreal months living on a goat farm on Chicago’s west side. I didn’t die from it, but I’ve got a hearty Midwestern constitution. If you live far outside of city limits, you might be able to score some cleaner snow—but I don’t know that the risk is entirely worth it for the memories. Again, I’m not gonna tell you what to do. But I’d hate for you to find bird poop or diesel fuel in your snow ice cream.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.



I am the only one that read the Laura Ingles Wilder books as a kid? They used to make a carmelish candy using snow and maple syrup during the sugaring season. I have had it (or something akin to it) once many years ago at an ex’s house where her parents tapped maple trees. I always wondered why it wasnt more widely available.