Appalachia Appalachian Food Heritage

Snow Cream

snow in nc
My big snow turned out to be 8 inches. I’ve heard other areas of Cherokee County got as much as 10. Yesterday, Granny told Chatter she could make some snow cream. But, Granny said she wasn’t going to make any, cause she still had some left from the snow at Christmas and didn’t want it to waste.

I hadn’t made snow cream in ages-so I decided if it did snow I’d make some.

Me and Steve in the snow

Steve and Tipper

The first time I remember eating snow cream was with 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 about 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 with. 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 snowcream. The chair was like a swivel office chair-except it was covered in plastic with a bright yellow floral pattern on it. All us kids wanted to sit in that chair-cause it turned fast like a merry go round. We 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 there was very good too.


As I sent Chatter out for a bowl of clean snow yesterday, I remembered Jim Casada’s recipe for snow cream. I gave snow cream a google and was amazed at how many recipes there is for it. Some add sweetened condensed milk-some eggs-others all sorts of flavorings. You can even find videos of folks showing how to make snow cream on youtube.

snow cream
We never had a recipe to go by, Granny would just add milk or cream, vanilla, and sugar to a bowl of clean snow till it looked and tasted right. Lots of times-it was us kids doing the mixing and adding and we ended up with a drink instead of a cream. But it was still tasty-especially after a day of sledding. After Jim mentioned it yesterday, I couldn’t resist adding a little cocoa to mine-I liked it.

Snow cream is certainly a make do recipe. I like thinking about the smiles snow cream has brought to children through the years-and it’s kinda 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.



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  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    January 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    We make ours with evaporated milk. I keep a couple of cans in the cupboard just for this purpose.
    I got behind on my reading here because I rested during our snow vacation.
    Have a great day

  • Reply
    January 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I miss snow cream and wish I had some right now.STay warm.

  • Reply
    January 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Wow snow cream, what memories, seeing the head line I just had to read it. It has been 40+ years since I had any of that. Being in East Texas, we really dont get much snow & if we do like last Sunday, it is not very much. But thanks for the memory jog.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Glad you reminded me of snow cream Tipper, I have plenty of the white stuff!
    I thought you were trying a new nail polish there for a second!
    Have you ever had corn cob jelly? Another make do recipe. My Grandma made it every year. I have never tried Googling it.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I love snow cream — I use cream and vanilla and a very little sugar.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    i have never heard of it before! now i wish i had before i left brasstown, during the christmas storm when we had ALL that snow all over and i was stuck in!!:)

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    It is beautiful, again I am sorry I missed it!
    When I was little I would spend a week with my Gramma and Grampa, they never had much, but we all loved to go there. They lived right on the river and there was always lots to do.
    For breakfast we would have pancakes, made from scratch and syrup made from cocoa and water, she would bring it to a boil with enough sugar to sweeten. They also drank Postum (ask your Pap, I’ll bet he knows) it was a coffee substitute that they used during WWII. They also had a toaster that I just loved, it opened on each side, I think it must be from WWII era too.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    We had snow cream here yesterday.
    We never ate the first snow either. and for some reason granny would only get it off the car?
    I remember being in california when my husband was in the military…snow cream and lightin bugs, nobody out there understood.
    It’s good to be home.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hey Tipper,
    One more thing….
    How many out there got the brain freeze or throat freeze eating snow cream..??
    I just finished a taste down memory lane…I make my snow cream (these days)with skim milk, splenda, a tad of sugar and vanilla..Oh yes, and a sprinkle of cocoa stirred in mine! I even got the dreaded throat freeze, or as we used to call it, the brain freeze came with it!…Hurts like heck for a second…been a long time since I had one of those…LOL

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    We loved it as kids–it was rare to get snow in southern west TN. Mama made it with Pet milk, sugar & vanilla. Put that in the bowl & kept adding snow till it got thick enough. Can’t remember having it while we still had cows to milk but I bet it’d be super with some real farm cream.
    My baby brother is a major snow lover–the night the most fell he sat up all night checking on the snowfall. He’s so lovable–one of those people who get joy from little things. He & one of my other brothers always take a major treck in the snow that usually involves someones foot sinking up in ice water & the boot pulling off, etc. They leave from Mama’s house in the country thereby giving her a nervous fit all day till they return safely.

  • Reply
    Nancy Wigmore
    January 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Tipper…This may not be a recipe…but I remember one time when my husband and I only had a tray of ice cubes in the freezer and a jar of home canned dill pickles in the cabinet…We sat down at the table with our ice water…opened the jar of pickles and prayed and asked the Lord to bless the food we were about to receive when we heard a knock at the door and standing there was the preacher’s wife with almost a whole country ham wrapped up…that’s the best make do meal we ever had…God supplies all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!
    Thanks for sharing and making snow cream brings back so many treasured childhood memories.

  • Reply
    kathryn magendie
    January 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Oh! Snow cream! it’s been forever – I was a little girl last time I had it – my mom made it when we lived in Ohio for a bit of a time . . . I can taste it now, all these years later!
    Now I want some!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    As far as the beautiful white stuff, all we received was a skiff of snow on Sunday/Monday but pretty much gone by noon Monday. It hasn’t warmed up a lot since our last big freeze so our pond is still frozen but because it has warmed a bit and the snow skiff and icy rain, it is no longer good for skating.
    “Make do recipes” around here I must admit are pretty easy, mostly because we butcher our own animals, so our freezer always holds something. And because I have my storage shed full of winter squash, onions, taters, and garlic, we rarely run out of anything that would be required for a tasty dish.
    But your quest reminds me of a contest that 4-H offered at our fairs, it was called “On the Spot”. The kids would be called up into the “kitchen” assigned a certain meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner, and then they had a certain amount of time to survey the cupboards and put together a tasty and nutritious meal. My girls never signed up for the contest as fairs were already way too busy for them with their animals. They always said it didn’t seem like much of a challenge to them because that is how we operated around here all the time. Only once in a blue moon, usually because of wanting to loose a little weight, did I ever really map out meal plans for us to go by.
    Until this year’s surprise cut backs, money running out wasn’t the problem, access was. Quickly in my married life we went from living in town to out in the country. This made trips to the grocery store for missing items a not-doable thing. Mix that with an already thriving penchant for not following recipes even when I had all the things on hand and wa-la crazy inventive lady in the kitchen.
    Dirt laughs when I flop around and whine about there not being anything to cook and then an hour or so later call everyone to dinner to an incredibly imaginative yummy dinner. He doesn’t laugh quite as heartily when no matter how much whining I do I still fail to be inspired and we end up eating crackers and cheese with fruit and cold vegetables. Well, that’s if we have crackers and cheese handy.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    January 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Hello Tipper, We had 10 inches over here on the west side of Franklin. Sounds like we may get a small additional amount tonight or tomorrow…then it is to get colder and windy….love snow and don’t mind cold temps, but do not like the wind along with it.
    I remember my mom and dad making snow cream when I was about 7 or 8. We made and ate a lot. We also had a huge chest type deep freeze for our garden vegetables and we collected up some extra snow and kept it in the freezer for quite a while and then made more snow cream later.
    A make do recipe…we had one last night…not that we needed to. We had smoked sausage sliced up and fried along with sliced potatoes fried kind of crispy, onions and pepper. The potatoes came from my storage in the basement.
    Uncle Al

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Tipper, snow cream sounds so wonderful but I’ve never had it. Never any snow here in the south to make it! My favorite make do meal was stewed tomatoes and a pan of biscuits or cornbread.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I loved snow cream when we were kids. We made it often. I haven’t made any for a long time. I was always told it wasn’t safe to make now because of all the pollution in the air. Big flakes of snow just started falling as I type, maybe we will make some. I have a recipe for ‘snowless’ snow cream for those of you who don’t have any snow.
    1 -12oz can evaporated milk
    20 oz whole or 2% milk
    1/2 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
    4 T vanilla (more or less to taste)
    Combine above ingred. and mix well with mixer. Freeze in individual serving size containers until consistency of soft serve ice cream. If freezes too hard, place in refrigerator until it thaws to desired consistency.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    January 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Meant to say that we had 8″ of snow during the first storm the other day and an additional 2 to 3″ yesterday. I’m just outside of Johnson City, TN.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    January 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I use the recipe for snow cream like you use … it’s always a treat to have it and it’s always SO delicious!
    I try and make meals that leave me with leftovers that can be frozen. Chili, spaghetti sauce, soups. They’re handy on a busy day or at ‘crunch time’.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    January 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

    My two snow days have been pleasant and quiet. So beautiful and this morning I woke up to see five deer just outside burying their heads in the snow scavenging for food. The birds have crowded the feeder outside my window where I can watch them.
    I don’t think I’ve seen this much snow since I was in Colorado years ago. I’ve never had snow cream, but it must be a child’s dream. I just hope I can get my car out tomorrow. I could get cabin fever after three days.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Hey Tipper,
    Tuesday morning 8:43..’tis snowin’ again…looks like we might get that added one or two inches of snow…
    My Mother would never make snow cream with the first snow and it seemed like we would never get a second snow in the winter!..
    When we moved to The Secret City..she was also not fond of using that snow, it had to be a deep one..LOL…She had to be convinced that it was OK to the other neighbors gathering snow to make it for their kids.
    Hand cranked in summer or snow cream in winter was about all the ice cream my parents said they got when growing up..eventhough they grew up near the Biltmore Dairy..LOL
    After getting married and leaving home, I wasn’t to keen on making snow cream here. Back then there was a fly ash problem here. LOL
    If it was deep enough, I gathered it off the picnic table..scraped the top off and got some in the middle and none off the bottom! If I saw the least little speck of grey or black I immediately thought it was fly ash..LOL
    That is probably so silly when you read the complex ingredients on the packaged ice cream labels of today…
    We want to make some snow cream but we have so many birds flying this way and that (crosslegged like the snow fell) and so many feeders…ewww…one little white plop and ewww.. I can’t stand to think about it…but I may get the DH to go out for some snow far away from the feeders..LOL
    Your post has me hankering for snow cream…The Mayfield dairy here used to make a snow cream flavor it was so good..but haven’t seen it in the store for a long time…
    B. Ruth

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    January 11, 2011 at 9:32 am

    We got 9″ of snow in Northwest on my blog today. Loved your blog today.

  • Reply
    Amy Phillips
    January 11, 2011 at 9:22 am

    kinda cheap but I use the tomato sauce i presurved from the fall and just cooked spaghetti noodles, mix together,kids love it! Spread butter on sliced bread sprinkle with garlic salt, broil for a min or so, garlic bread… CHEAP, CHEAP,CHEAP!! Amy Phillips-Ohio

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph. D.
    January 11, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Tipper: Just yesterday I was talking with my sister, Eddie Lee, over in Clay County. We recalled how we use to get a dishpan and big spoon to gather snow for snowcream. Mama always said now go out the lane and get the clean snow off the locust fence posts! We had to get a dishpan FULL so everybody would have a little snowcream! There were eleven of us plus mama and daddy! Eddie Lee said they got about 10 inches in this last downfall!
    Thanks! Eva Nell

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

    no snow here so no snow cream. i love snow cream, all the years we lived in kentucky, when it snowed we had snow cream. mother made it the same way you said, just milk and sugar and vanilla, she tryed chocolate syrup but it melted to fast. yum now i want some

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 11, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Sounds like you got more snow in Brasstown than we did in Black Mountain. We got about 5 inches.
    Had snow cream with one of my aunts when I was little. She use the same style you used. It was great fun.
    One make do recipe I used was Macaroni and tuna fish. Cook a cup, or so of macaroni add one can of tuna that has been drained. Add mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and a can of peas if you have it.
    We used to have this for lunch when my friend Pat and her kids came over. Ask the Deer Hunter if he remembers it.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Add a little Kool-Aid and you have a slush. I read your post with a smile on my face, thinking that I need to remember how fun that was & do it again. As the kids & I have grown up, we just look at snow now as an inconvienience to be shoveled off the walkway or swept off the porch. I dread hearing the word “accumulation” for with it comes the headache of school delays & issues getting to work. So many things change as we get older & sometimes we just have to stop & smell the roses. It’s going to begin snowig here this afternoon & it’s not going to stop until Wed afternoon sometime. While I’m still not happy about the work issues it will bring, if I’m stuck at home with my growing kids, I think I will order everyone outside at some point to make a snowman…because that’s fun!

  • Reply
    Steve Smith
    January 11, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I’m not sure if this was a “make do” recipe, or someone being creative, but here goes:
    1 can sliced pineapple, drained
    bread slices
    cooked bacon
    shredded cheese
    Place slice of pineapple on top of a slice of bread, add bacon, then shredded cheese, and place under broiler long enough to melt the cheese. Yummy!

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    January 11, 2011 at 7:28 am

    When I was little that was one of the treats of a snowy day was Snow Cream. Like you siad a good bowl of clean snow, vanilla,sugar and milk and we had a yummy treat. We would sit by the wood stove and eat it and shiver. Mama always made chocolate for Phyllis. I wonder if that if why when we get a forecast for snow we al go get milk at the store. I know a lot of folks think we’re crazy for the grocery store runs maybe we’re not so crazy after all.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    January 11, 2011 at 7:26 am

    My Mom’s recipe was much like yours, but she mixed the milk, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl first, then added the snow. This seemed to keep the snow firmer for a longer time.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I don’t remember ever eating snowcream as a child.
    So with the recipe that the Old Farmers Almanac posted we tried it yesterday. It was really good, but even better when we added chocolate syrup to it. I had left over condensed milk so I sent it over to our neighbors who had never had snowcream either.
    We ended up with about 8 inches of snow also.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2011 at 6:38 am

    it was a snow cream day here yesterday too. With a solid nine inches of new snow in the night it was a perfect day for making it.. I had not made it since my own kids were very little and manthing had never had it before.. went great with the peach cobbler i made… enjoy the snow

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