Taste winter.

If you have had it with all of the white stuff, here is a suggestion to make the snow somewhat more palatable. Eat it!

Why not savor the flavor of a well-seasoned snow? 

This is definitely not a new idea. Artist Andy Goldsworthy reminds us “snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” Among these would be catching flakes on your tongue for a taste.

Historically, eating snow was common. An early report comes from Roman Emperor Nero (54 – 86 A.D.) who mixed fruit or honey with his snow. Grape pulp snow was a particular favorite.

Recipes abound for using snow as foodstuff. There is snow ice cream that is easily made by combining snow, milk (or half and half), vanilla and sugar. Make it a milkshake by adding extra liquid and putting it in a tall glass.

Snow cones are another taste treat; simply collect and flavor. Juice works great for the health conscious, but the kids love the wild colors that sweetened Kool-Aid provides. Add lemonade and you will have the only yellow snow recommended for consumption.

Adult beverages are easy to make. Just replace ice with snow. Think slushy margaritas, daiquiris and any other frozen concoction that might strike your fancy. And since your car will likely be snowed in, there are no worries about drinking and driving. Another favorite is maple snow candy. It can be as easy as drizzling maple syrup on snow and rolling to get a semi-soft nugget of sweetness.  If you prefer hard candy, the maple syrup can be heated to a boil, then dripped over snow and it will firm up. For breakfast, consider snow pancakes. This dish was popular during World War II when eggs were scarce and snow was used as a substitute. It was said that these pancakes were quite fluffy, if not gourmet.

Feasting on the frozen stuff is fraught with controversy. There are those that say it isn’t safe to eat snow, but if you follow a few recommendations, your palate will be protected.

First, always collect snow for consumption in a bowl or pot, rather than gathering from the ground or any other surface. Some insist that a second snow is better than the first, but I could not find proof to back this up.

Consider the color. While we all know to stay clear of yellow snow, there are other colors to eschew. Pink or watermelon snow is to be avoided, since that color could be the result of algae that causes an upset stomach. The same problem could occur with snow that has a greenish color. Black or grey hues might indicate that particulates from combustion could be in the snow, such as factory or vehicle exhaust, so resist that fluffy stuff. 

Finally, remember not to use snow for hydration. Drinking large amounts can lower core body temperatures and lead to a dangerous physiological response.

Follow that and a tasty treat could be your reward. With all of the snow we have had this winter, I can only imagine that there will be more. Just remember for the next big snowfall, if you can’t beat it, eat it.

Suzan Bellincampi is director of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown.