Post # 342 Friggin’ Frosty!

February 20, 2015 at 3:24 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 342 Friggin’ Frosty!

snow candy 06

Winter this year has been brutal for large areas of the country, mine included.  The picture above is a wildlife preserve about two miles from our house.  Snow is deep there, and it’s deep in our yard.  The dogs hate going outside when the snow is that deep, but because the temps are so low, the snow is crusting and the ice hurts their paws.  Buddy, in particular, has tender paws and limps pretty quickly.   I was noticing yesterday that he and Dusty like to lick the snow.  Then today, I watched one of the neighbor kids wandering around munching a handful of snow.  It put me in mind of the things my mom used to tell us about using snow to make things to eat.

Now, before anyone says anything, no, I don’t eat yellow snow.  I also seldom eat those odd round cupcakes covered in marshmallow and coconut called Sno-Balls.  I used to eat those little candies of chocolate drops with white sprinkles on them called nonpareils, more commonly called Snow Caps.  But I’m talking about really real stuff that you can eat that’s made from snow.

My mom used to tell us about this stuff.  It all came from her childhood in upstate New York near the Canadian border and the farm her family ran at the time.  Winters were always hard, but these were made more difficult by the large size of her family.  They made whatever treats they got.

Snow cones were one of their favorites.  They would make a fruity syrup out of preserved fruits and sugar and water.  It had to be sweet, but it had to be thin.  Then they had to wait until it came to room temperature, otherwise it would melt the snow.  Once the syrup was ready, they would get cupfuls of clean snow.  Powdery snow was the best, she said, but any snow would work as long as it was clean.  They’d take it inside and pour the syrup over the snow and eat it.  Instant dessert!

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Another treat they had a lot, she said, was snow candy.  I’ve heard other people talk about this one.  Mostly people from the upper New England area.  It seems to be a regional treat, or maybe I just don’t talk to people from other areas.  Snow candy is basically cooked sugar that’s dropped hot into fresh snow.  It hardens on contact and becomes brittle, but softens as you eat it.  In the area where my mom grew up, they usually used maple syrup or maple sap direct from the trees.

You take a large quantity of syrup and boil it until it reaches the hard ball stage of cooking.  A candy thermometer will show this best, but you can drop a small amount in cool water and test its brittleness. Once it’s done, you can either pour it over snow to create ribbons or weird shapes:

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Or you can use a small spoon to make dollops:

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Mom said they would sometimes make a sugar caramel and do this.  Other times they would add other flavors to sugar syrup like cinnamon, vanilla, or peppermint if they had it and make flavored treats that way.  She loved maple, though.  It was her favorite.  Not mine.

Another snow treat she said they had often were snow slushies.  This was simplicity itself.  A glass full of clean snow and fruit juice poured over it.  It was different from the snow cone because it was a drink rather than something you ate.  She said they mostly did it with lemonade, but other times they used apple juice or grape juice.  They also used Kool Aid if they had it.  She also said that after she moved away from the farm (after her mother passed away) and they had an electric fridge, the ice build up in the freezer would provide them with main ingredient for a slushie in the summertime.  When I was in my early teens, I used to follow this advice with Pepsi.

One treat she told us about that we never tried was snow ice cream.  She made it sound like it was complicated, and I suppose when you’re making it for a crowd and you’re ten years old, it does seem like an effort.  You have to be thinking ahead when you want this treat.  When the snow starts falling in earnest, put out a large bowl, or a large bucket, depending on how many you’re trying to feed.  For 2-3 people, you’ll need 1 cup of whole milk, or cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and any toppings you want.  In a large bowl, mix everything together (except the toppings) until all the sugar is dissolved.  Do not heat the milk or cream.  When the bowl is full of snow, bring it inside.  Stir spoonfuls of snow into the milk mixture until it reaches a thick consistency.  Divide into bowls, add toppings, and eat with gusto!  This will melt quickly and any leftovers (as if) should be tossed.

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Well, I hope this helps you enjoy the polar vortex.  Remember, Spring is only four weeks away.





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