One of the best parts of camping on a float trip in the spring is snacking on hot food on those cooler nights. While s’mores and marshmallows are the old standby, a far less sticky option is campfire popcorn. You may remember the old-fashioned popcorn poppers your parents used to have on campouts when you were a kid. But if you suspect that old-fashioned popper was sold in a garage sale or tossed in the garbage many moons ago, there’s still hope for campfire popcorn since you can produce a popper of your own with a roll of heavy-duty cooking foil and campfire forks. Just follow these simple steps and remember, you’re not responsible for burning anyone’s popcorn except your own. But if you cook the campfire popcorn just right, you’ll receive rave reviews with demands for an encore before the next float trip!
First, you’ll need to prepare your campfire popcorn cooking packet. Tear off an 18” long piece of heavy-duty cooking foil and place it on the picnic table. Next, pour 2 tsp. of vegetable or olive oil in the center of the foil and then add 4 tsp. of popcorn. Repeat these steps for all campers wishing to pop their own popcorn.
Now you’re ready to create the foil tents. On each packet, carefully bring together the two longest opposite ends of the foil above the popcorn. Fold them over and down at least three times for a good seal, similar to folding the top of a brown paper lunch bag. Then bring the remaining two foil corners to the center above the popcorn to complete your foil tent, rolling all the edges together to seal the popcorn and oil inside while leaving enough space inside for the popcorn to pop.
With your popcorn cooking packets assembled, poke the ends of your campfire fork through the thick folds at the top and then set the pack into the fire’s hot coals until you can hear the cooking oil begin to sizzle and the kernels pop. When you hear the first kernel pop raise the packet slightly and shake it continuously back and forth until the popping slows. Remove the packet from the fire and allow your popcorn to cool for several minutes before adding any salt, shakable butter or any spices you’d like.
When popping campfire popcorn be sure to abide by these safety tips. Never leave a popcorn packet directly in the fire. If kids are involved, it’s a good idea to have the stovetop version of popcorn as a backup just in case someone’s popcorn gets burned. Cooking popcorn is no different than cooking anything else on a campfire and requires constant and careful monitoring. With children around the campfire adults should be present at all times to supervise and help.
If you just happen to still have your parents’ old-fashioned popcorn popper, the procedure for campfire popcorn is similar. Throw in a handful of your favorite popcorn and 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil. Attach the lid and hold the popper over the campfire, shaking the popper continuously and more vigorously when the popping starts. Once the popping slows down, remove the popcorn popper from the campfire, allow it to cool, remove the lid and enjoy.