Are hailstones safe to eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the questions, are hailstones safe to eat, what are hailstones, what are the benefits and risks of eating hailstones, and how are they formed? 

Are hailstones safe to eat?

Hailstones are safe to eat. It’s not generally recommended to eat them. This is because they may contain bacteria and any other soluble pollutant in the atmosphere that may cause health problems to you. They are also cold and may precursor the consumer to develop a cold after consuming them. 

What are hailstones?

Hailstones are defined as frozen rainfall in between gravity and updraft. The raindrops become condensed and form ice balls. 

These ice balls fall as stones referred to as hail. Hailstone rainfall is devastating and leads to injury to humans and animals and the shredding of plants, especially farm crops. 

Hailstone rainfall can happen anywhere at any time. Hailstones have bacteria and chemical compounds. Well, they may contain bacterial spores. According to the temperature of hailstones no microbe (except viruses) can survive in those conditions. 

What are the risks associated with eating hailstones?

Hailstones contain bacteria cells that are hibernated due to cold temperatures. These bacterial cells come back from hibernation once they are at optimum temperature. 

Some of these cells may cause disease if consumed. Some of them are in the hailstones in the form of spores.

Bacterial spores act like seeds, which in optimum conditions regrow to full bacterial cells. Hailstones also contain approximately 3000 chemical compounds from the atmosphere. Some of these chemicals may be allergies to some people hence inducing a histamine reaction. 

Due to the cold temperature, consuming hailstones may predispose you to an infection. Some of these infections are flu and sinus infections. These are treatable and they may take away a bit of your precious time to enable recovery. 

How are hailstones formed?

Hailstones are a form of precipitation. Hail is formed when drops of rain freeze, usually within a cloud, and then fall just to be forced back up into the clouds by strong updrafts. 

As this ice is pushed back into the clouds, it collides with more moisture and accumulates in frozen layers.

These frozen layers combine to form even larger hailstones. The biggest ever recorded hailstone was 8 inches. They collide and fall at speeds above 120 km/h. 

What are the benefits of hailstones?

Hailstones tend to contain more water than normal rainfall. This is good for farmers as they prepare for planting. 

They also contain dissolved elements such as nitrogen and sulfur which are beneficial to plants and animals. 

It also contains natural atmospheric salt. This gives the ice a distinctive taste compared to artificial ice. 

Hail also helps in reducing topsoil erosion through flooding. Hail provides a cover-like film of rocks that thaws away over time. 


In this brief article, we have answered the questions, are hailstones safe to eat, what are hailstones, what are the benefits and risks of eating hailstones, and how are they formed?