Appalachia Appalachian Food

Making Snow Cream

snow-cream

I got some snow over the weekend-and I’m still excited about it. We got 4 inches of white and everything was just beautiful!

I usually don’t make snow cream when it snows now, but we always did when I was a kid. We’d sled till we were tired out and frozen till we couldn’t feel our fingers and toes then we’d come inside to sit in front of Pap and Granny’s big oil heater and warm while we ate snow cream.

We never had a recipe, Granny added milk or cream along with a little vanilla and sugar to a bowl of clean snow till it looked and tasted right. If it was us kids doing the mixing and adding we sometimes ended up with a drink instead of a cream. But it was still tasty after a day of sledding.

The first time I remember eating snow cream was with Mamaw, Pap’s Mother, Marie. She babysit me for Granny so I spent lots of time with her, but she died suddenly of a heart attack when I was in 5th grade so my memories of her are sparse.

As I think back to my snow cream memory, I wonder where the other kids were? Mamaw took me by the hand and led me around the side of the house. While we walked carefully through the snow she told me it was important to remember the first snow of the year was poison and I wasn’t to ever eat it. I held tightly to her as we looked for good clean snow to fill our bowl.

Once our bowl was full, we went back to her tiny kitchen, and she let me sit in the special chair to watch her make snow cream. The chair was like a swivel office chair except it was covered in a bright yellow floral pattern. All us kids wanted to sit in that chair because it turned fast like a merry go round. Mamaw and I ate the snow cream and I decided it was very good, and somehow even though I was very young, I believe I knew staying with Mamaw when no one else was around was very good too.

 

A quick google search will turn up all sorts of snow cream recipes. I like thinking about the smiles snow cream has brought to children through the years and it’s nice to know it’s still bringing smiles today.

If it snowed at your house-leave me a comment and tell me how much you got.

Tipper

Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

 

You Might Also Like

48 Comments

  • Reply
    EAA
    January 9, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    I’ve been thinking about “blue blazes” all day long. There is only one thing I have experienced that naturally burns with a blue flame, that being sulphur. I wonder if the “blue blazes” people used to refer to might be in reference to brimstone which is another word for sulphur. Our predecessors didn’t like to say “bad words” so they used metaphors to describe what they wanted to say. Blue blazes could describe the lighting scheme in the place they refused to name. People nowdays are not so concerned with what they say since, as it says in one of Pap’s songs, “they have no concern for their soul.” Therefore “Hellfire” and worse has superseded buffered terms such as “blue blazes”.
    One might ask, how could the flame produced by burning sulphur be construed as being cold since sulphur burns at 3000°F! But to those of our ancestors who believed, to be eternally separated from the love of God and of their families would be worse than the heat produced by burning sulphur. That at once Hell could be unimaginably hot and unequally cold.
    Sorry I got into preaching mode. It’s in my genetic makeup. Sometimes it comes out in spite of me.

    • Reply
      Hayden
      January 28, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      coool

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    January 10, 2017 at 12:06 am

    We got about 2-3″ here in Angier, NC which is kind of surprising since we’re in the sandhills south of Raleigh, and some parts of Raleigh didn’t get as much as we did.
    I was born and raised in big snow country, up in NW PA about 10 miles south of Lake Erie. I can’t recall ever hearing about snow cream there, cause we sure did have heaps of snow.
    Good to know you never use the first snow of the season, but boy – if it snows again this year, I’m going to try it. Do you think it would also work with sweetened condensed milk? Because that’s so thick, I’m thinking it might not melt the snow as fast as regular milk or cream would.
    Prayers everyone’s having a great week.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 9, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    I think I detect a trend. Maybe a good post would be “As cold as …..”
    I’ll bet there are a world of endings to that phrase!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 9, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    B. Ruth–Have you ever heard of eating snowbirds? My paternal grandfather loved to tell about trapping a big bunch of them when it snowed–they would use a big wood box propped up by a stick with a string tied to its base that could be jerked to make the box fall. They’d put crumbs under the box and when enough snowbirds were beneath it jerk the string from a hidden spot inside the house. Not a lot of meat on a single snowbird, but I guess a passel of them meant protein in the tough times of winter. There’s a book entitled “Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie” (or something close to that by a woman named Patsy Moore. It isn’t a cookbook but an accumulation of information on mountain ways and recollections of old-timers.
    I’ve never eaten snowbirds but my educated guess is that they would be tasty, probably somewhat like dove meat. Old-timers made do with what they could get in hard times, and if snowbirds were available, that was food for the family table.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    harry adams
    January 9, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    The few times it snowed in SC, mama would make us snow cream. When they were doing atmospheric A-bomb testing, they warned people not to eat the snow as there were radioactive particles in the snow. There probably still are, but I still make it and eat it. I have read that each snow crystal forms around a dirt particle. If you let the snow melt in a clean bowl there will always be particles in the bottom of the bowl.
    This still doesn’t keep me from eating it. I may be dirt from a volcano somewhere. I don’t know of anyone else in Ohio that eats snow cream.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 9, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Tipper,
    Just came in to finish reading the comments on snow cream. We made snow cream when I was a child, but Mom insisted we wait until it was a big’n or the second snow.
    After I had children and we moved to the country I did the same thing. Main reason there were particulates constantly falling even without anything to wash them away. The huge smokestacks finally got filters installed after our children were near grown that finally cleaned the air somewhat, they say!
    I don’t know who “they” are but we didn’t see those little specks in the snow as before!
    I was amazed with all the comments from some, that I know must have grown up probably in the late forties and fifties didn’t mention the joy of opening their Momma’s reserved can of old time Hersey syrup. Juat to add just another bit of richness to the snow cream. Of course I am a chocolate lover!
    Mom would make and sometimes add a pineapple type syrup if she had a small can left from Christmas or that beloved Pineapple Upside Down Cake! Ha I didn’t like that flavor back then or the cake for that matter!
    Mom said, “There were times during the depression that snow cream in the winter was the only delicate dessert they had, when things were scarce!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Jim…A blue blaze feels cold until you hold you hand in it for s minute! ha

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    January 9, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Oh, that looks so yummy! I don’t know if I have ever eaten snow cream, but have heard about it a lot. We did get some snow here, and we are enjoying it so much! I hope all is well with you and your family, sweet friend. 🙂

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Tipper,
    and EAA…the bird you may be seeing is basically a ground feeder called a Dark-eyed Junco or in the East of USA a Slate Colored Junco. They interbreed where their the range of the two species overlap. The bird is called by some folks “Snowbird” very common in the winter over the Appalachian range South! Some say as my ancestors said, “When you see the Snowbird, we will soon have snow!” Our Junco’s were late arriving this year! However, it did turn cold but no snow until this past Friday! ha They are seed eaters and mostly ground feeders. Sometimes coming to the upright feeder. Ours prefer hopping around under the feeders for dropped seeds. They also nest around or in clumps of grass. but they are our winter visitors here in East Tn. I think your birds, as I have seen them, hop and scrape away the loose snow from a dry sage grass clump to procure a seed or three! ha I don’t know where you live, but the breeding range is far North in to Canada. No I do not think If this bird is the bird you are seeing hopping in the snow is living there….Another bird that does a major job on searching leaves, digging out snow for seeds is our “Joree or Towhee. Would help to tell us the color and size of the bird……I love birds, snow etc. Can you tell…
    Tipper, never eat the first snow, my Grandma and Momma said so….Daddy said, “No Yeller Snow, for doggone shore!”

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Higman
    January 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I am 68 years old and my momma made snow cream every time it snowed and when I got married I make it every time it snows! I have made it with the first snow and with the last snow (never have been sick from it). I love it and my children love it. My momma made it like your momma, Pet milk, sugar, and vanilla, but when I grew up I found condensed milk. I found that made a more velvety textured snow cream!!! I love snow cream!! We got 2 inches here in Kansas.

  • Reply
    Ken
    January 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Tipper,
    I had 5″ at Topton and my Jeep looked like a big Snowball. I never made any Snowcream this time, probably wait till the next Snow. I love the stuff.
    Our Christian Radio has been playing the Best Gospel Music today, a lot of it has been our local groups. As Donna Lynn went off today, she played “Working on a Building” by Chitter and Chatter and Paul. (They’re my Favorites) …Ken

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    January 9, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Ma talked about making snow cream as a child, but by the time she had us, she said the snow wasn’t clean enough any more. As it melts, it turns grey with dirt around here.

  • Reply
    EAA
    January 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    You are probably going to think I am a nutcase but I am going to tell you this anyway. Yesterday I was worried because I hadn’t seen any animals back behind my house. Today the birds are back. I stood at the kitchen window with binoculars watching them light and pick seeds off of broomsage that protruded from the snow. Then I noticed one bird had disappeared then reappeared a few seconds later. I thought that was odd so I focused in on that particular clump of grass. At the base of it was a hole in the snow. As I watched, the little bird came back and flew right into the hole, then in a minute or two came back out and flew away.
    I looked around at other clumps of grass and saw that a few of them had similar holes right at the snow line. I watched as more other birds did the same thing. Maybe birds do this all the time and I just didn’t know. Maybe I need to go back to bed and wake up again. Do birds actually live under the snow?

  • Reply
    Glynda P. Chambers
    January 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Tipper, I live in Hendersonville and we got 8 inches of snow and yes it was really pretty. Glad you got snow too as I know you love it when it snows.
    As to the snow cream yes I have eaten it all my life. Same as you no recipe, just a big bowl of clean snow, sugar, vanilla and enough Carnation Cream to make it kinda thick and tasty. I have three children and I have made it for them every year too. My husband used to say to me when they were small, don’t make that and let them it it, it’s poison. Well I say it is not since I’m 71 years old and have been eating it since I was a small child and I don’t think I’ve missed a year since and I’m still here enjoying Snow Cream

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    January 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Tipper, I didn’t measure the snow but most people around here are saying we got 4-6 inches of snow. I have really fun memories of playing outside and eating snow cream when I was a child. Reading Jim’s comment about the cold made me remember what my parents used to say about freezing weather – they said “cold as a wedge.” At the time I didn’t know what a wedge was, but I guess their memories of splitting wood in the icy cold wind and snow a wedge would feel pretty cold.

  • Reply
    Maxine
    January 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    We here in Denver, CO have about 6 in on the ground. It is pretty powdery snow, but no one dares to make snow cream because of the heavy pollution in it. Only we Southern transplants know what snow cream is. Most folks who live here don’t know the sweet joy of it!!

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    January 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Virginia Beach-6 inches. All roads are solid ice. Our government only has few snow plows. Everything closed. Have eaten much snow cream as a child and with my children.Jan

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    January 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Well, I learn something new every day. I have eaten this treat during every big snow all my life, but until this morning I had never heard the term “snow cream.” We always call it “snow ice cream.” There is nothing more delicious. Mama taught me to brush off the top inch or so of snow before filling my pan (we always used a pan with a handle, not a bowl), and sometimes she used maple syrup instead of sugar. I still make both kinds. When I lived in Houston, there was one little ice cream shop that had what they called “vanilla sherbet.” It wasn’t quite as good as snow ice cream, but was the closest thing to it I ever ate. We had a little bit of snow here last week, but it wasn’t deep enough to find clean snow to eat. More is predicted for next week, so maybe. . .

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I am visiting in East TN, and we barely got an inch, compared with the 6 inches we missed out on at home in Brevard, NC. I love snow cream and even at age 68, I go out and gather snow if it is fluffy and dry and deep enough to make good snow cream. My recipe is just snow, milk or cream, sugar and a bit of vanilla, adjusting until the taste is right. Be careful of brain freeze, though!

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    January 9, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Here in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, we got about five inches in my neighborhood. It was a dry, powdery snow and it stopped around 3:30 or so Saturday afternoon and the sun came out. It looked like a picture on a Christmas card. It’s very cold here. It was 5 degrees around 6 a.m. this morning when my husband got up to take the dog out. I remember putting a clean pan on the back porch and catching snow to make snow cream for my girls.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    January 9, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I didn’t see a single flake of snow here in east Texas, but I hear they got a bit in the northern part of the state. When we were kids my mom used to make it like you described, but snow here was rare. I remember the best place to get the snow for ice cream was on top of the ‘butane tank’.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    January 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

    We only received about an 1 inch of snow here in southern PA – not enough to make snow cream. I sure remember by mother making it when I was a young girl. It was delicious. She made it with milk, vanilla and sugar. I thought she mixed an egg in it too but I may be wrong about that as it was a long time ago. I’ve heard that expression of “blue blazes” too but that was a long time ago too. Thanks for your blog, Tipper. It brought back some great memories.

  • Reply
    Tamela
    January 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Jim – think of the aurora borealis ( or australis) – look like “blue blazes” to me. Don’t know that that is the origin, but it makes sense to me. Seems I observed that references in an illustration of a Paul Bunyan story. . . but not sure.

  • Reply
    SuzyJ
    January 9, 2017 at 10:26 am

    We had about 6″ in Young Harris by the lake. So beautiful with the contrast of the white of the snow and the reflection of the sky blue in the lake. Growing up in the north had lots of snow, but I guess because of the pollution (outside Cleveland, OH) never heard of snow cream. Sounds mighty tasty though 🙂

  • Reply
    H Lee Mears
    January 9, 2017 at 10:11 am

    We made snow-cream but that was chancy in Canton with the mill. Usually made it at Grannys at Lake Logan. Granny had fresh eggs daily and she and mother beat to death 2-3 eggs and added to the cream slurry . Loved lots of vanilla.
    I had 3″ snow and it’s very slick at my house here in Kingsport. The deer have made frozen brown muddy ice on most of driveway by jumping the wall with mud on their hooves. Temp not going above freezing again today.
    Maybe tomorrow. ❄️ I don’t need anymore snow.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    January 9, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Well Tipper: I learned a lot reading all these posts! Snow Cream was a big deal up in the Matheson Cove where I was born and raised! Our dirt road leading out to the gravel road was right next to our pasture fence. When we got a big snow, Mama would give each of us a big spoon and a big kitchen pot and away we would go – to get a big pot full of snow off those fence posts! – being careful it was all clean snow!
    Guess you noticed that I use the word BIG a lot. When you have eleven children you have to think BIG!
    Mama would take our snow and make a big pan of snow cream! We waited eagerly as we sat in front of the old fireplace, thawing our hands and toes. It was worth the wait!! But here in Oak Ridge, I would NOT think of making snow cream. If we ate it we might glow in the dark!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Dolores
    January 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I have never had snow cream, but it sounds like a wonderful childhood experience. Perhaps as a senior citizen there is time for me to experience it. We stay away from the snow time, so one year it will have to snow before we leave for warmer weather. We don’t get snow here in FL, but it can be raw and quite cold sometimes at this time of the year. To those who have the needed snow, hope they enjoy their cream.

  • Reply
    Grady Stanley
    January 9, 2017 at 9:30 am

    My Father grew up in North Carolina and knew all about snow cream. With me growing up in Florida there wasn’t much chance to enjoy it myself. But around 1955 while I was still in grammar school we got enough snow in Panama City for us to make a decent snowman and to have snow cream. My Father introduced me to it, going out and collecting enough clean snow and making the snow cream exactly as you described Granny making it. I remembered snow cream fondly enough that years later while stationed at Ft. Bragg we got a heavy snow and I got to make my own snow cream, of course using Dad’s recipe. It made me a kid all over again for a few minutes.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    January 9, 2017 at 9:23 am

    We got about 6 inches here in the foothills. My memories of snow cream always includes the headache from ‘brain freeze’.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 9, 2017 at 9:18 am

    We had about three inches here. We went sledding and had a good time but it was very cold. We didn’t make snow cream this time but usually do. My mother told us as kids that snow cream had fallout in it so she wouldn’t let us eat very much. I asked my daddy what fallout was and he said it was from nuclear bumbs! He always said bumb for bomb. : )
    It is suppose to be near seventy here Friday. Guess I’ll have to put my long johns up!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    January 9, 2017 at 9:18 am

    We had about three inches here. We went sledding and had a good time but it was very cold. We didn’t make snow cream this time but usually do. My mother told us as kids that snow cream had fallout in it so she wouldn’t let us eat very much. I asked my daddy what fallout was and he said it was from nuclear bumbs! He always said bumb for bomb. : )
    It is suppose to be near seventy here Friday. Guess I’ll have to put my long johns up!

  • Reply
    Shirl
    January 9, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Mom made snow cream every time it snowed more than a few inches when her kids were home. It was a real treat for a bunch of kids who didn’t get ice cream very often. She never wanted to make cream until we had a big snow that cleaned the air. With all the coal dust in the area and soot from our coal burning chimney, she had to act fast. She always made it up in a big metal mixing bowl. We all got a spoon and ate from the same bowl. I love snow cream but never make it. I live too close to the city and all it’s polluted air.
    The snow we got here last Thursday was just a few inches. Schools were cancelled for two days due to the cold weather more than slick roads.

  • Reply
    grannysu
    January 9, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Only 2 inches here, Tipper. We have made snow cream ever since I first heard of it, after I’d moved here to the mountains. Like you, there’s no recipe, just mix and match until it tastes right. Sure wish I could freeze some for summer though.

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 9, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I forgot to mention that we got 3″ in my part of E,KY, Also like Jim said we only took the top of a fresh snow, Some said that it had radioactive particles in it, My Papaw called particles, Par-tickles.

  • Reply
    Barbara N Gantt
    January 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

    WE only got a couple of inches this time. We already had a lot on the ground. Probably be there til Spring, Barbara

  • Reply
    Richard Beauchamp
    January 9, 2017 at 8:30 am

    We got maybe an inch, not enough to make snow cream. I loved that stuff when I was a kid. Back then we had snows in winter ,like 8 or 10 inches and could find plenty of clean snow. Our weather is not the same as it was 70 years ago. It was “0” here yesterday morning and are predicting will be 65 on Thursday.
    .

  • Reply
    Vanessa Elhenicky
    January 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

    We made snow cream last night! I went fancy & to my 13 qt. bowl of snow I mixed in 2 cans of condensed milk, green food coloring, the rest of my mint extract, & mini chocolate chips. 7 happy smiles over here!

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes Moreno
    January 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Just south of Dallas we got about an inch. Not enough for snow cream, but enough to snarl traffic on the way home!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 9, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Seems like I’ve been in for a long time, when actually it’s been two days. It snowed on Friday night. I woke up to several inches of snow and I haven’t been out since. Today I’m going to the gym and probably to the store. I didn’t make snow cream, it’s actually been years since I’ve done that. I haven’t lost my lifelong thrill at first snow on the ground!

  • Reply
    Jack
    January 9, 2017 at 8:11 am

    We only got an minute “skiff”, but it is bit on the chilly side.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 9, 2017 at 8:11 am

    About 2″ here about 7 miles north of Gainesville, GA. Going away slowly. 26 degrees about daylight.
    I have good memories of snow cream from childhood also. We would take a dishpan and get it about 2/3’s full. That sounds like a lot but it was never too much. We never tried to experiment. It was always basic; sugar, cream and vanilla. Just remembering makes me want some although frankly I am dreading getting started with an outside project this AM.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 9, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I have heard of snow cream since I was a little girl. I was always jealous of those yhat lived where it snowed. As a 4th generation Floridian I never saw snow until I was 16. What fun, although I don’t think I have ever been so cold. Still didn’t get snow cream though

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 9, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Tipper–I just got a good dusting of snow, but at least it was enjoyable to watch it falling. There’s a modicum of truth to linkage of snow to poison. Snow picks up pollutants in the air (soot, smog, and other particles) and carries them to the ground. Momma’s general rule of thumb for snow cream, as best I recall, was to wait until we had a pretty good snow and then be sure to take only the top two inches or so. Presumably her thinking was that the first inch or two that fell took most of the dirty stuff out of the air. At any rate, we ate snow cream periodically and it doesn’t seem to have done any bodily harm.
    Oddly enough, I’m presently working on my next newspaper column, and a small portion of it is devoted to snow cream although most of it revolves around the folklore of snow.
    It’s cold as blue blazes here (I’ve always heard the term “blue blazes” for bitter cold), but since when was a blaze ever cold?
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    marshall reagan
    January 9, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Tipper
    I remember eating snow cream , but haven,t had any in several years because we don,t get much snow anymore. We got about 3 1/2 -4 inches this time .
    Marshall Reagan

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 9, 2017 at 6:55 am

    My wife is still a big kid. She makes snow cream the same way you described. While growing up we almost never had ice cream, but had snow cream every winter. Snow cream reminds me of something else we made for cobbler or fruit dumplings. Mom and also Mamaw added sugar to cream and put it on our cobbler. We called it dip. It’s about as good as ice cream,

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 9, 2017 at 6:55 am

    My wife is still a big kid. She makes snow cream the same way you described. While growing up we almost never had ice cream, but had snow cream every winter. Snow cream reminds me of something else we made for cobbler or fruit dumplings. Mom and also Mamaw added sugar to cream and put it on our cobbler. We called it dip. It’s about as good as ice cream,

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 9, 2017 at 6:55 am

    My wife is still a big kid. She makes snow cream the same way you described. While growing up we almost never had ice cream, but had snow cream every winter. Snow cream reminds me of something else we made for cobbler or fruit dumplings. Mom and also Mamaw added sugar to cream and put it on our cobbler. We called it dip. It’s about as good as ice cream,

  • Reply
    larry grifith
    January 9, 2017 at 6:55 am

    My wife is still a big kid. She makes snow cream the same way you described. While growing up we almost never had ice cream, but had snow cream every winter. Snow cream reminds me of something else we made for cobbler or fruit dumplings. Mom and also Mamaw added sugar to cream and put it on our cobbler. We called it dip. It’s about as good as ice cream,

  • Leave a Reply