But that’s just the tip of the ice—or should we say snow?—berg. For those of you in the northeast, hunkering down for a historic snowstorm, snow can be unusually useful in the kitchen. Here are a few innovative culinary ideas of just what to do with all that white stuff—well, at least the stuff left over after you’ve built your ten foot high snow shark.
1. Snow Cream
Combine snow with cream, sugar, and a dash of vanilla extract, and you have yourself a fresh-tasting version of vanilla ice cream. Here is a basic recipe, or you can simply drizzle snow with sweetened condensed milk and call it a day…but feel free to jazz it up, as in this orange creamsicle version.
2. Adult Snow Cones
Mint juleps famously make use of fluffy shaved or crushed ice, often shaved by automatic snow shavers, to make a cocktail slushy with alcohol and ice. Now you have a backyard (or windowsill) full of the stuff. Buzzfeed compiled a list of alcoholic snow-cone recipes, from saffron-mango to Godiva-truffle. But if you’re snowbound and without access to Godiva liqueur, a glug of bourbon and a little simple syrup poured over a heaping cup of snow is all you need to toast the storm in style.
This elaborate, and often beautiful, Korean dessert starts with a base of shaved ice. Piled on top is everything from ice cream to sweet red beans to fruit to condensed milk. Rummage around in your fridge and freezer and see what you’ve got. We’re not expecting that you’re going to have sweet red beans on hand, but you probably have some jam and cereal. Heat that jam up in a pan to thin it out, then drizzle it on top of your snow bowl, top with crunchy cereal and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a killer patbingsu.
4. Maple or Molasses Snow Candy
Lovers of Laura Ingalls Wilder will remember one of the activities Ma and Pa taught Mary and Laura during the family’s long, frigid winters: boiling up molasses and brown sugar, then drizzling it onto packed snow until it hardened, instantly forming delicious sweet candies. Laura and Mary opt for “circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things,” but feel free to make any shapes you choose, and if you can’t come across molasses, swap in maple syrup. N.B. If you pull it off the snow before it sets completely, it’ll be more chewy and taffy-like.
Shock vegetables in a bowl of snow. Pack fish in snow to keep it fresh and firm. Shuck some oysters and arrange them on a platter of delicately crushed snow. And keep your ice maker full.
6. Snow Crepes
Get your batter ice cold, and the fruit filling cooled down quickly, in this strawberry snow crepe recipe from a Dakota blogger. Culinary science tip: Some say that adding snow to batter and baked goods helps keep them light and fluffy.
7. The Uber Veg and Fruit Washer
Okay sure, you have to first make sure the snow is clean, but the consistency of snow—right between ice and fluff—means that it’s one of the best produce cleaners you can come by. The jagged edges of snow will help scrub out dirt from your romaine hearts or apples while insuring that they remain crisp and fresh.