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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Simple Science and Snow Ice Cream

Snow ice cream--one of the most fun of winter treats to make and enjoy as a family. My mom used to make it for us, sending me out to collect a big bowl of fresh white snow. And it couldn't be the first snow of the year...subsequent snows were cleaner. It helped that we lived in the country away from big city smog. Or, so we thought...

We'd take that huge bowl of snow and slowly add a premixed blend of three cups heavy whipping cream, a half cup sugar and one teaspoon vanilla. Mmm!

Last year prior to making our own batch, we decided to do a little experiment. I sent the girls outside to fill my biggest kettle with the cleanest snow they could find. They were super picky. We then took the large kettle, and placed it on the stovetop on low heat till it was completely melted. We observed two things...first, a lot of snow amounts to very little water! The second was that the supposedly "clean" snow was filthy! It was brown with little flecks of ? in it! Ugh, disgusting.

Ruined my day, let me tell ya!

So we had to come up with a workable alternative, something the girls could still make on their own with things we had on hand...that could turn into ice cream. Hmm.

I turned to the internet and found this very handy recipe, I hope you let your children give it a shake.

Ice Cream in a Baggie

Into a good quality sandwich size ziplock bag put:

  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

Zip the bag and put it inside a larger heavy-duty freezer bag. Surround the small bag with ice till the larger bag is half full. Now put 6 TB of salt on the ice and close the bag. Have the kids shake their bags for 5-10 minutes and ta-da...they've made their own ice cream. I assure you, it's delicious!

Mary is an old-fashioned thirty-something wife, homeschooler, and aspiring writer. Her blog, Home-steeped Hope, feeds her love/pursuit of the written non-fiction word while her women's fiction "dreams" are being revised...


MInTheGap said...

I'm always amazed about snow that hasn't been touched and if it melts quickly outside it looks dirty. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the crystallizing of snow happen around a particle of dust or dirt in the atmosphere? That could explain some of it.

I guess the next test, Mary, would be to try the same test on water and other substances-- because I'm sure that tab and other water have sediment in it as well.

Anonymous said...

We survived as kids, so it can't be too bad. But, snow does clean the atmosphere, so it's got to attract whatever it is cleaning. I snow that isn't the first snow is that dirty, can you imagine the first snow of the year?

Mary said...

Great points made...yes, I suppose we can take this science even further!

I read about a grade school girl with access to a lab testing toilet water from a fast food restaurant, and then testing ice from their pop machine. The ice had way more bacteria than the toilet water. So not only sediment, but invisible bacteria...