ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

From granitas to ice gola to flavored snow: how to make shaved ice at home

Updated on June 6, 2013
Snow cone graffiti from Steve Snodgrass on Flickr
Snow cone graffiti from Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

Shaved ice stands spring up all over the world during warm summer months to offer up their tasty wares. But what if you’re craving shaved ice in the dead of winter? What if there are no shaved ice vendors in your area?

Although it’s not as easy as walking up to a kiosk, making your own shaved ice at home--be it a snow cone, snowball, granita, ice kacang, or flavored snow--is not difficult. Even better, making shaved ice can be fun and inexpensive. You can try new flavors and create your own special syrups.

The main ingredient: shaved ice and where to get it

There are several ways to get shaved ice, some of which require specialized equipment. Although it’s possible to make shaved ice with a fork and some patience, it’s quicker and easier to use a blender, rasp, or shaved ice machine. Some recipes even call for ice crushed the old-fashioned way, with a hammer and towel-wrapped ice.

You can rasp ice down with a hand-cranked or handheld ice scraper. Some of these graters create crunchy ice chips. In India and Pakistan, shaved ice is often served on a stick rather than in a bowl. You can replicate this by putting finely crushed ice--either grated, rasped, or run through a blender--into a popsicle mold.

Time for Treats Manual Snow Cone Maker by VICTORIO VKP1101
Time for Treats Manual Snow Cone Maker by VICTORIO VKP1101

This hand-cranked ice shaver doesn't require any electricity. Just buy a bag of ice and crank away.

 
La Mexicana Raspador De Hielo Para Raspados / Metallic Block Ice Shaver
La Mexicana Raspador De Hielo Para Raspados / Metallic Block Ice Shaver

This type of scraper is used in Mexico. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. You'll have to buy a big block of ice in order to make use of it. To find these blocks of ice, Google the name of your city, "catering" and "ice block" to get leads on local companies that sell ice for carving.

 

If you’re a big fan of shaved ice, you can buy a dedicated machine. These days, Amazon sells a wide variety of electric shaved ice machines. If you don’t want a single-purpose machine in your kitchen, as Alton Brown would say, you can also use a heavy-duty blender to finely crush the ice. Some powerhouse machines even include a “snow” setting to make homemade sno cones.

During warmer months, places such as Target and Walmart offer brand-name shaved ice machines in the seasonal section, sometimes offering them up for sale prices.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Electric Shaved Ice Machine | Features 2 Round Block Ice Molds | Shave Ice in minutes | Make Snoballs and Shave Ice from Home
Hawaiian Shaved Ice S900A Electric Shaved Ice Machine | Features 2 Round Block Ice Molds | Shave Ice in minutes | Make Snoballs and Shave Ice from Home

This electric shaved ice machine makes shaved ice in minutes. Just pour in ice cubes and watch the magic.

 

If you’re craving shaved ice but don’t want to buy any new equipment, you can make a type of ice called a granita in your freezer. The basic idea is that you fill a pan full of water and flavorings and put it in your freezer. As the water begins to harden, you break up the ice, scraping it into a fine slurry with a fork. The end result is a slightly crunchy shaved ice. Martha Stewart's site includes a recipe for a strawberry granita.

In addition to making your own shaved ice, you can gather it as well. When shaved ice was first invented back in ancient Rome and imperial Japan, it was made from fresh snow collected from mountaintops. Today, people still flavor snow and eat it as a natural, homemade treat.

One place where flavored snow is popular is in the Northeast U.S. and in Canada. The area is filled with syrup-producing maple treats, and a common treat is so-called maple snow, where snow is topping with fresh maple syrup. In this instance, vendors will offer maple snow or "sugar on snow" even in the harsh chill of winter. That is, after all, when it snows.

Maple snow from Lord Rex on Flickr
Maple snow from Lord Rex on Flickr

Natural snowball

The amount of flavored ice you can make depends on the amount of snow you can gather and the syrups and flavorings you have on hand. Flavored snow is versatile and great as a snow day activity with kids.

If you live in a polluted, smoggy area, this recipe might not be for you. But as an occasional treat, flavored ice made from freshly gathered snow is tasty and magical.

You'll need:

  • a metal bowl
  • serving cups
  • syrups or other toppings

Instructions

  1. During a snowfall, set out a metal bowl. The metal will retain cold so that the snow doesn’t melt. Depending on heaviness of the snowfall, you’ll hopefully collect a decent amount of fresh snow.
  2. Divide the snow up into portions, making sure not to compact the snow down into ice. By leaving the texture more light and fluffy, flavor will be able to better soak into the snow. I recommend a handful of snow as a portion size to allow for a greater saturation of flavor.
  3. Pour your flavoring over the snow and enjoy!

Where to buy flavored syrups and how to make your own

In flavoring your shaved ice, you can use everything from flavored syrups, diluted vanilla extract, fruit juice, or cream. You can even use soda, although the carbonation can ruin the consistency of fine shaved ice.

Because of the large number of shaved ice vendors online, it’s not difficult to find places to buy shaved ice syrups. While you can technically use coffee flavorings on top of your homemade shaved ice--Torani's French vanilla syrup makes for a creamy, decadent shaved ice--you can purchase large bottles of pre-made syrups from dedicated shaved ice dealers. You can also find syrups specifically for shaved ice on Amazon.

If you’re craving an unusual flavor of syrup or simply want to make your own, it’s easy enough with common household ingredients. The process is similar to making flavoring syrups for coffee or spirits. With most syrups, you boil sugar and water until it thickens into a syrup, adding your ingredients either during or after cooking depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.

To make a cherry syrup, for example, you could add approximately a cup of water to 2 cups of sugar, put in two handfuls of pitted cherries, and boil on the stove until thickened. Strain out the cherries, and store the syrup in the fridge.

Other recipes for shaved ice online

If your tastes are more worldly, there are tons of recipes online for some of the global variants of shaved ice:

  • Kala khatta isn't difficult to make, especially if you substitute local fruits for hard-to-find Indian ingredients.

  • This recipe from Spice Roots uses blackberry to mimic the java plums used in kala khatta shaved ice.

  • Here is a recipe for gola ganda, Pakistani shaved ice on a stick, on Instructables.

  • Ice kacang, one of Malaysia's most popular desserts, is easy to make at home with a wide variety of unusual toppings.

Ice kacang from Betchaboy on Flickr
Ice kacang from Betchaboy on Flickr

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • WokandRoll profile image
      Author

      WokandRoll 5 years ago

      Fabulous idea! I was with some friends who had a very high-tech blender, not a Vitamix but close, and the snow setting produced the fluffiest, best shaved ice I've had in quite a while. I do know that it was an expensive blender, though, so it's not something everyone has around the house. Sadly, I don't. :) I think the idea of crushing the ice before blending is a good one.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I've tried this sort of thing before, with mixed results. I then discovered that if you have an ice maker/dispenser in your fridge/freezer, setting the ice dispenser for crushed ice gives the blender a head start, so even if it's not super-powerful blender, it will work just fine.

      In fact, I think I'll go make some right now! Thanks for the reminder!

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)