Don’t Eat The Snow (Ice Cream)

On January 6, 2014, Kalamazoo had a winter storm warning and a wind chill warning. Kalamazoo’s Mayor, Bobby Hopewell eventually asked residents to stay home because temperatures reached a whopping – 35 to -40 below and in some places snow was piling up faster than plows could clear it. On Fairfield we have a good two feet of snow and the coldest temperature I recorded was -32, so winter is positively here.

About 20 Inches Or More At Fairfield. #kalamazoo #snow

A photo posted by Nicole (@nvanputt) on

To keep everyone entertained during the winter storm I noticed Michiganders thinking outside the box. Videos started popping up of people boiling water and throwing it into the freezing air. Mr. MVP and I decided we needed to accomplish this simple adventure, so here is our video:

The second activity I noticed everyone putting their boots on to accomplish was snow ice cream, which is actually something I have never heard of, but I was really excited about when I did. I asked Mr. MVP if we could make snow ice cream and he said we could, but he suggested I do a little research first. Usually I’m the killer of fun.

First let me say that I am not a scientist, and what I did was a far cry from a lab experiment and most of what I read said that snow is safe to eat in small quantities if you absolutely must.

Here is our front yard. It is fairly large and free from trees in the very center. Like I said before, we have approximately 24 inches of snow, so for this experiment I went to the middle of the yard, cleared four inches of snow away and filled my jar with snow from the middle of the snow pack.

Here is my jar of snow.

I remembered something from elementary school about needing something to compare your sample to. I picked tap water because that is what we drink.

Then I just waited for the snow to melt. It took a long time.

A seriously long time. Snow does not melt even in a 70 degree house.

Finally all that was left was a tiny piece of ice.

There were a lot of tiny things floating around in the snow water. I let the piece of ice melt and discovered why Mr. MVP was against snow ice cream. Yuck.

Here is the tap water. It is completely free of little things.

I arranged a filter over a clean glass.

First, I poured in the snow water.

The debris was instantly obvious. I’m not certain what it is, but I’m very glad I did not make ice cream and eat it.

Here is the filter covered in what ever it is Mother Nature puts in snow as it falls.

With a new filter and a new clean glass I repeated the same steps for the tap water.

I poured the tap water in over the filter.

This time the filter was clean.

There was no sediment or debris at all.

Now remember I was very excited about the prospect of snow ice cream, so this conclusion that snow is essentially filled with nature was disappointing. For everyone thinking about making ice cream snow, you may want to think twice because even snow that looks clean has tiny things below the surface.

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