One of the best things about living in a cold climate during the winter is fresh snow. There are so many recipes for snow ice cream, snow cones, and other frozen treats that you can delight your taste buds all winter long, and never try the same recipe twice. But what if you don't live in a cold climate? What if you are in south Texas simply longing for cooler weather? Never fear. That is what snow making machines are for. If you're somewhere where the heat is just too much, here a few things you need to know about the humble snow cone maker and a couple of recipes to help you survive.
What is this cold, fluffy, white stuff?
The form of "snow" found in most snow cone stands is not exactly the hexagonal crystals of winter, but rather shaved or crushed ice. Depending on which snow making procedure is used, the finished snow cone or sno-ball will have a different texture and feel. If crushed ice is used, the resulting product is a snow cone and will have a slightly crunchy texture, but shaved ice will result in a sno-ball that has a powdery consistency that is similar to actual snow.
What about actual snow making machines?
The machines made by companies like Hawaiian Ice Company that are used by ski resorts and some homeowners to create snow on their property are a lot of fun, but there are two problems with using man-made snow for snow cones. First, artificial snow is not really intended to be eaten. This is because artificial snow (even the kind made from water) uses compressed air in order to create a mist and form snow. The air that comes out of an air compressor is mixed with oil, and is not really very clean. Also, the second problem is that these types of machines still require freezing temperatures. So, if you live in the Deep South or somewhere similarly scorching, you are out of luck.
So, how do you beat the heat with a snow cone or sno-ball?
While you could pack up the kids and go hunt down the nearest snow cone stand, it is just as easy to make your own snowy treats at home. If you want to really experience the texture of snow, you could purchase a home ice shaving machine, but if you are just getting started with snow cones, a heavy-duty blender will work as well. For a easy and delicious snow cone, pour your favorite juice over finely crushed ice.
If you opt for the ice shaving machine, snow ice cream is another easy treat to make. Simply add a can of sweetened condensed milk to about 8 cups of shaved ice and stir until it is well combined.
Just because you live somewhere hot does not mean that you can't cool off with a snowy treat. The best part is, you don't even have to wait for a snow storm.