ASK ERNIE: IS IT OKAY TO EAT SNOW?

Posted by Turkey Hill Team on February 11th, 2009


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SUSAN ASKS: With all the chemicals in the air, is snow ice cream still safe to make? I made it as a girl, but that was so long ago.

Good question, Susan. I won’t repeat the age-old lesson about eating a certain colored snow, but I will say that most of us ate snow as children and we turned out okay!  So that means, eating snow is safe, right? Well, that depends who you ask.

But first, let’s consider how snow is made. It’s simple really. Snow is created when moisture in the air freezes around a dust particle. So at the very least, with each snowflake you ingest, you’re eating a tiny dust particle, which isn’t so bad when you consider that dust is everywhere around us and we eat it every day. (My apologies if anyone is eating as they read this.)

As for the risks of ingesting airborne chemicals and pollutants when you eat snow, that answer is a little trickier. That’s why we’re going to defer to the experts.

According to Helen Macintosh, an environmental professor at Harvard, as snow falls, it can attract toxins and these toxins are greater with snowfall in or near a city.

It’s not looking good for our plans to make snow cones, is it?

Here are a few other rules-of-thumb, which may or may not be backed up by a Harvard professor. Some say not to eat the first snowfall of the year, because that’s the one that collects all the bad stuff (after that, you can chow down, apparently). Others say that eating snow that falls on top of the Himalayas – or any other tall elevation – is okay because the air up there is cleaner. Good news for those living on Mount Everest.

For our bottom line answer, we’re going to defer to Dr. Lynnette Mazur, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School, who says, “Licking a little snow off a glove is probably OK. A meal of snow is not.”

The only question now is: How much exactly is a “meal of snow?”

Bon Appétit!
Ernie

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45 Responses to “ASK ERNIE: IS IT OKAY TO EAT SNOW?”

  1. Thomas says:

    Moisture in the air freezes around a dust particle? I better keep my temperture up in the house, or I’ll have snow up to the ceilings. What year was it that I last dusted????

  2. barry says:

    “How much exactly is a ‘meal of snow?’ ”

    anything greater than “Licking a little snow off a glove.”

  3. Anne King says:

    That’s good to know; if grandchildren eat snow at least we know most of the time it’s ok. Thank you.

  4. Tianna says:

    It seems such a shame because I remember my first real sno cone made by running outside and filling one of mom’s tupperware bowls and filling lil bowls full of snow and squeezing your fav flavor on top stirring and scooping onto a cone and going into the den to enjoy your multi-coloured ice treat!

  5. susan says:

    Always ate snow as kids growing up, it was our drink when playing and sledding for so long. My three grandsons tell me now its OK to eat snow Nana, just dont eat yellow snow. :)

  6. Deb says:

    I think I’ll stick to Turkey Hill for my ice cream treats–and leave the snow for playing in. Too many chemicals abound these days.

  7. alicelynne says:

    Thanks for bringing back some gret childhood memories!!

  8. mary frey says:

    WE MADE CANDY WITH SNOWW ,LIKE THEY DID IN OLDIN DAYS

  9. Stefanie Schmidt says:

    Thanks for the interesting info. I love Turkey Hill!

  10. Carol Triano says:

    I imagine as kids we all ate some snow, so a little won’t hear “ya”. I at this time though, prefer Turkey Hill Ice Cream for a cold treat!!!!!

  11. Margaret M says:

    That sounds disgusting but when you’re a kid you don’t think of these things. I know I ate my fair share of snow while growing up, which I would never admit to my grandchildren, instead I encourage them to come in and have a bowl of TH ice cream and of course I have to join them!

  12. Dot Hess says:

    Interesting. I’ll have to pass this information along to my grandchildren.

  13. Jennifer Barr says:

    very interesting!

  14. Bert says:

    I remember my mother telling me”It takes a bushel of dirt to kill you” That was about 65 years ago. I also remember swiming in the mongahela river about 60 years ago. Walking thru open sewers in Vietnam 40 years ago. My point is not that you should do these things. Remember what my mother said. One other thing that I wonder about. Does anyone read this dribble?

  15. Caroline says:

    Now a days we panic on everything. Think of the water we drink. If you live in a cold climate the rivers, lake and reservoirs get its water from rain and MELTING SNOW. Underground water sources get it water from surface water seeping down. So if a chemical is absorbed in the water it stays. Yes filtering removes solids and clorine kills the germs. If you enjoy snow cones and drink water continue eating them

  16. Sarah says:

    Considering that the federal government sets allowable standards for insects in bread flour so that we are eating bugs with every sandwich or piece of toast we consume, I guess a mouthful of snow shouldn’t do any serious damage to a body.

  17. CHRISTINE says:

    WHY EAT SNOW WHEN YOU CAN EAT TURKEY HILL ICE CREAM. I WOULD MUCH RATHER HAVESOME OF MY FAVORITE FLAVOR THAN SNOW.

  18. Linda Leffler says:

    No snow ice cream for me, to much yellow around. I will stick with Turkey Hill. Linda

  19. debbie F. says:

    Yes, Bert People do read this dribble…I just did

  20. brenda says:

    Hi Everyone, The snow now day is not so safe as when i was a little girls, But then again, it’s where you lived at now. If I lived in place where you have a heavy pollution or in the large city I would not eat the snow. I think it is safe to eat the snow if you lived in the country. I think Less pollution is safe to eat the snow? is it true Ernie? I love turkey hill ice cream.

  21. Betty says:

    no snow thank you

  22. Turkey Hill Team says:

    In reference to Bert’s question, you’re not the only one who reads all the comments, Debbie. Most of us here in the Turkey Hill offices enjoy reading all the comments on a daily basis!

  23. CJ Hess says:

    When I was little there was no where the polution that we have now. I therefore do not feel that I would consider eating snow today like I did then.If there was no other w ater avialable then you wouldn’t have much choice.

  24. Donna says:

    There are worse things you could eat. Out in the country where there is nothing but clear skies why not.

  25. Nancy N says:

    My 3 year old grandson loves to catch the snowflakes on his tongue and also to lick the snow from his gloves. I remember as a child getting snow in a bowl and taking it inside and adding some sugar and vanilla to make snow ice cream. I guess we all take our chances.

  26. Pat says:

    I ate snow as a kid, but I think today I would prefer Turkey Hill! :)

  27. Joanne says:

    Why eat snow when you can eat ice cream?

  28. peg says:

    I ate snow as a kid, so a little eaten today is not so bad. The germs builds up our immune system.

  29. Ann says:

    First of all, Bert, Thanks for being a veteran! See, I do read these words of wisdom, you can learn a lot when you read. Now, back to the eating of snow, I don’t think that anyone would eat enough snow to make them sick, so why not enjoy life and spend time comparing your snow ice cream to TH ice cream? I’ll be Turkey Hill wins! Either way you will be having fun with the children.

  30. Cheryl S says:

    How sad that something we all did and enjoyed as children cannot be enjoyed by our grandchildren–at least we can still make snowmen and snow angels!!

  31. lee carr says:

    snow, it’s just not what it used to be.

  32. Mary says:

    I knew there was a reason I planned to dust today. My house has enough dust to start a blizzard!

  33. Betty says:

    When will turkey hill come out with Snow Flavored Ice Cream? – that is without the dust particles!

  34. Bob says:

    Moose trails is the greatest ice cream , I can’t believe how good this is, I have become the big booster of Moose Trails everyone I know is probably tired of me and my Moose Trails but no one has ever said I was wrong. Can you belive I used to be a Rum Raisin booster, but that is pretty good also.

  35. Cindy Strienfeld says:

    I’ll stay with the regular Turkey Hill
    Ice Cream…Snow is something you play with and not eat!

  36. Sarah says:

    You know, I’ve noticed that in voting and otherwise I like the flavors that the majority does not like. For instance, I cannot stand mint icecream of any kind and cannot fathom anyone liking Junior Mint over (to DIE for) Mexican Fried Icecream. Have you HAD it?! I could live off the stuff…

  37. Melanie says:

    I always ate snow as a kid. The older I got the more my disdain for snow grew. I would rather buy ice cream and leave the snow eating to the dog… she loves it.

  38. Donald Tiesenga says:

    Nothing beast butter pecan ice cream

    except cashews or almonds

  39. Penny Cracas says:

    I think I’ll stick to avoiding the yellow stuff and enjoy a little snow with my kids. Afterwards, we’ll all come in and enjoy our many different favorite flavors of Turkey Hill ice cream.

  40. Pat says:

    Haven’t you all had enough snow for this year? Spring is just around the corner! Give me Turkey Hill Ice Cream – the real stuff!

  41. robert marotti says:

    love the thin mint

  42. david says:

    Shovel the snow. Then have hot chocolate with a scoop of Turkey Hill Peppermint Stick

  43. Ethan Frings says:

    The snow comes at least 4 to 5 times a year, but this year had been different, because the Sun spots are not growing, they are little. Because they are little. We are having a lot of snow. But we do have pollution in the snow. So I do eat some of the snow but not that much. Snow is good but not that good. Like the Professior above said. Dust, chemicals, pollution, what next.

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