Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 3, 2014

Snow means traditional treat for some

Recent spate of winter weather may, or may not, be last chance to enjoy a bowl of snow ice cream

TAHLEQUAH — In the ‘70s, a Frank Zappa song advised against eating yellow snow. But one local claims yellow snow ice cream is an interesting treat.

“We’ve been known to eat yellow snow,” said Sherry Matlock, “but only if we make it using banana or other flavoring instead of vanilla.”

Since time out of mine, snow ice cream has been a winter-weather treat for Oklahoma children. Some health experts say pollution has rendered it unsafe, but others still enjoy it.

“In the spring, I put up fresh strawberries I buy in Stilwell and fresh peaches I buy in Porter, so we have fresh fruit throughout the winter,” Matlock said. “We had a cherry tree growing up, and my mom put up cherry jam. It was good on ice cream.”

Like many moms and grandmas today, Matlock learned about making snow ice cream in the kitchen from her mom.

“My momma, Ruby McGarrah [ from Springdale, Ark.] was 54 when she adopted me at age 2. She died in 1998 and I still have chow-chow, preserves and canned goods she put up,” Matlock said. “I eat some when I’m in the mood and intend to keep one of each forever.”

Hannah Sweeney, 14, has been making snow ice cream since she was a little kid. This winter, she’s made it a couple of times.

“My mom taught me,” said Sweeney. “I add sugar and whatever milk we have in the fridge.”

Vanilla is her favorite flavor, but sometimes she adds chocolate sauce on top.

Hannah’s mom, Dr. Sophia Sweeney, learned to make it from her mother, Diana Galloway.

“Mom taught me and my four siblings. We grew up way out in the country, so my tip is don’t eat the yellow snow,” she said, laughing. “My for-real tip is to use high-quality vanilla, Goodman’s or any you get at Oasis.”

Quality of snow is also relative to the mixture.

“Snow has to be fluffy, otherwise it’s snow ice or snow slushy, not snow ice cream,” said Amber George.

Four online respondents shared snow ice cream thoughts and memories.

Jimmie Fite said she uses “milk, sugar and vanilla - how my momma made it.”

More high-tech tools and modern ingredients are needed for Kathy Tibbits’ snow ice cream. She learned to make traditional snow ice cream from her mom, Bertie Carter.

“I use coconut syrup and Hershey’s chocolate over snow in the blender, then add soy milk or milk to desired consistency and whiz. Easy and ready in 30 seconds,” she said.

Patty Moore prefers it plain, “ just like my mother [Shirley Jones] taught me to make it.

For Clay Radeke, now in his 60s, and younger brother Richard, growing up in Muskogee meant gathering the snow in winter for a favorite treat.

“Mom used to make it quite often when Richard and I were kids. I love that stuff,” he said. “It’s been so long, I don’t remember much about it, but I do I remember mom had to use Eagle Brand milk or else.”

Old-timers think the first snow is the season is contaminated, said Matlock.

Sweeney always heard that, too.

Heather Winn has some advice.

“There doesn’t appear to be much research on the safety of eating snow. If you decide to use it to make snow ice cream, make sure the snow is fresh and clean and has not been contaminated by animals, soil or substances often used to melt ice and snow on walkways,” said Winn, educator with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

A recipe in the OK Ag in the Classroom curriculum offers this perspective, said Winn.

“Snow does contain bacteria. In fact, bacteria form the foundation of some snowflakes. But life is full of bacteria, and not all bacteria is harmful,” she said. There are no studies showing children becoming ill from snow, but there is no real consensus on the matter. Be aware of the risks, and make sure your snow is clean and fresh.”

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