Investing in Family: Snow Ice Cream

Investing in Family: Snow Ice Cream

I don't know about where you live, but this year's winter has been a strange one, indeed. Normally, western New York is known for a virtual bounty of snow. Up until very recently, we had very little of the white stuff on the ground; in fact, a good majority of our winter has consisted of temperatures well above normal.

Finally, though, we got a good dose of the lake effect special, our lawns finally covered with a blanket of white. My five-year-old twins and I took the opportunity to try our hands at turning some of the snow into something other than a snowball: snow ice cream.

To Eat or Not To Eat

There are essentially two kinds of snow ice cream: 1) the kind in which you actually eat the snow mixed with other yummy stuff; and 2) the kind in which you use snow to freeze other yummy stuff into ice cream. You'll need to decide first what kind suits you and your family. If you have access to a sizable amount of clean, pure snow, then you could partake in either. For us, with our backyard dedicated to and ruled by our dog and the front yard having been thoroughly trampled by two kindergartners in boots, we opted for the second kind.


An internet search will yield hundreds if not thousands of recipes for snow ice cream with all sorts of different ratios of liquid to sugar. Since this was our first go 'round, I opted to keep it simple. Here is the recipe we decided to try:

What you'll need (per each serving of ice cream):

  • 1/2 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • A gallon-sized storage bag with zippered top
  • A smaller storage bag with zippered top
  • Snow
  • 6 tablespoons salt

Just Freeze It

Once you've mixed the milk, sugar and vanilla, pour them into the smaller ziploc baggie, squeeze out the air as much as possible and seal it up.

Next, take your larger bag and fill it halfway full of snow. Add six tablespoons of salt (we used ordinary table salt, but you can use rock salt as well) to the snow and place the smaller baggie inside the larger baggie. Zip up the large baggie, then have your kids go to town shaking and kneading the snow to help freeze the ice cream; this takes somewhere around five minutes, give or take a few. A helpful hint: equip your youngsters with some gloves (the baggie gets mighty cold) as they act as their own ice cream maker.

You'll know the ice cream is ready to eat when it's no longer liquid-ish and is a sort of creamy solid. Give your kiddos a spoon and let them go to town eating their ice cream right out of the bag. Two observations from a been-there, done-that mom: this stuff seems to melt pretty fast, and the remainder doesn't freeze again very well.

A note: If you don't have any snow and still want to try your hand at some homemade ice cream without a machine, you can get the same results as above by simply replacing the snow with ice.

There you have it: a recipe to make snow ice cream. If life hands you snow, why not whip up some snow ice cream with your family?

Photo Source