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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Is it safe to eat the snow?

Posted Friday, February 4, 2011, at 8:37 PM

Well, is it?

A boy scoops up a handful of apparently clean, white, deep snow and quickly takes a bite.

Dad: Don't eat the snow!

Boy: It's clean. See? (holds out pristine, white, fluffy ball in his hand)

Dad:(Sighs) No, it's not.

Dad explains that the road is close by, and there could be dirt from the road, or the ground.

Boy takes another bite.

Boy: It's good!

Well, a general consensus from a straw poll taken from friends and family says don't worry . Maybe there are some impurities in the stuff, but hey, don't they kiss the dog? Don't they wipe their noses on their sleeves? True enough -- but what's the skinny on eating snow?

So I ask Paula, at the Vernon County Extension Center, about it.

Me: Is it safe to eat the snow?

Paula: (Thoughtful pause) Hmmm, not really. It's like the rain water. You really should boil it before you drink it...

Paula explains that if one were to eat the snow, the deeper the better, and the sooner after it falls, the better. Impurities could leach into the snow from the ground or air or animals passing by. Nevertheless, she notes, there are "lots and lots of snow ice cream out there."

Me: Yep. And I've sampled a few of 'em myself.

But I do agree with Paula; deep, new-fallen snow is better, cleaner and also fluffier and easier to work with. We (my family, kids and I) have mixed sweetened, powdered fruit drink mix with snow, which turned out great. We learned you have to put it in a little at a time, though. The flavor can get overpowering in a hurry.



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Lynn Wade
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Exploring the obvious and the not so obvious in search of the oh, so elusive "something to do' that's all around us.
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