I’m a margarita-glass-half-full kinda gal. So when snow and ice cover my house and yard, I don’t curse the weather gods; I use the cool stuff to save money on desserts, drinks and even electricity.
The trick is to collect fresh snow and icicles before they’re contaminated by auto or animal pollutants. Icicles pick up any contaminants on roofs and trees. So if your roof is covered with bird poop, your trees are sprayed with chemicals, or for any reason you think the icicles and snow aren’t pure, don’t eat any.
But if you trust the purity of your snow and ice and still have power after a storm, bag up the cold stuff and store it in a freezer until you want to use it for these purposes. (As with many things, moderation is a good idea.)
1. Icicle Stirrers: Clean icicles make great drink mixers that cool hot chocolate or chill cocktails. The pointy part looks great leaning on the side of a martini glass.
2. Chilling Shelves: If you’re passing a snow day watching a game and chugging some brews, pack down the snow outside with a shovel and place a plank on top. Voila! Instant cooling shelf. Or, instead of putting ice in a bucket on the table, pack a cooler with snow and place drinks inside. If you’ve lost electricity, you’ll be able to keep food cold in snow- and icicle-packed coolers, too.
3. Ice Packs: Wrap icicles in a towel and apply the cold wrap to muscles inflamed during snow shoveling.
4. Slushies: Pack a tall glass with fresh snow and mix with your favorite juice or syrup.
5. Snow Cones: Use an ice cream scoop to place packed snow into a paper cup. Drizzle syrup on top. You can make your own syrup by boiling ¾ of a cup of sugar with ¾ of a cup of water. Add a package of drink mix and let it cool before adding it to the snow.
6. Maple Sugar Taffy: Heat maple syrup or sap to about 255 degrees, then pour over a bowl of packed, fresh snow. Eat the maple taffy with a spoon. Pair with a pickle for a sweet/sour treat.
7. Extra Ice: Break and bag icicles to use to chill bottles of drinks at your next party.