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US Forest Service Asks: How Does Your Marshmallow Roast?

Posted by Kathryn Sosbe, Office of Communication, U.S. Forest Service in Forestry
Feb 21, 2017
S’mores, a treat whose recipe first appeared in the 1927 Girl Scouts Handbook, is a staple of National Roasted Marshmallow Day (Aug. 30). (Think Stock/Getty Images)
S’mores, a treat whose recipe first appeared in the 1927 Girl Scouts Handbook, is a staple of National Roasted Marshmallow Day (Aug. 30). (Think Stock/Getty Images)

Some wonderful memories are born around a fire ring. But whether you are camping, “glamping” or sitting with friends and family in your backyard, waning evenings typically include one campfire staple: marshmallows.

So, on the eve of National Roasted Marshmallow Day (Aug. 30), we pay tribute to the sweet ingredient that makes any form of outdoor gathering, well, sweeter.

For some, the best use of marshmallows is as the gooey main ingredient of s’mores. Take a graham cracker, place a section of chocolate on it, and then carefully place a freshly roasted marshmallow on top of the candy bar. Top the marshmallow off with another graham cracker, carefully squeezing the campfire dessert sandwich together as the hot marshmallow melts the chocolate.

According to the National Confectioners Association, the history of s’mores is anyone’s guess. However, the s’more recipe is first found in the 1927 Girl Scouts Handbook and some people speculate the organization coined the name.

But as many national forests and grasslands visitors know, there is more than one way to roast a marshmallow.

First, let’s talk safety. Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others. If campfires are allowed, use an existing fire ring or pit. Be sure you are at least 15 feet from tent walls, trees or other flammable objects.

Most importantly, ensure you work closely with children and talk to them about fire danger, proper behavior and rules – then expect nothing less. No one knows how many children are burned in campfire incidents; however, you don’t need statistics to know precaution is a key to great camping experiences. Some experts advocate a 10-foot rule between young children and a campfire. For more information about campfire safety, let Smokey Bear guide you.

Madelyn Morrissey (left) and Katie Roth roast marshmallows near the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest. (Courtesy Adrian Roth)
Madelyn Morrissey (left) and Katie Roth roast marshmallows near the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest. (Courtesy Adrian Roth)

Now, let’s get to the marshmallow basics. Use a roasting stick of at least 30 inches in length. The degree a marshmallow is roasted runs the gamut, from the barely cooked, light caramel-colored outer layer to the flaming marshmallow that contains a gooey interior wrapped by a crispy, blackened shell. From there, most people graduate to s’mores and rarely move on.

But there are some innovative ways to roast the little white treats that can help cut down on the amount of sugar intake by the kids, thus making bedtime a little more doable.

Think fruit.

Even if the kids – including us older ones – insist on more traditional s’mores, there are some healthy tricks. Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit. You will still get a tasty treat but by substituting with fruit, it is healthier – as long as you watch the amount of marshmallows used. If you want to cut down even more on calories, try using slices of angel food cake instead of graham crackers.

You can also get a little inventive and move away from s’mores.

Grab a small bag of chocolate or peanut butter chips – or a combination of the two. Take a banana and slice one side open, exposing the fruit but leaving the peel intact. Slice the banana, add a few chocolate chips then top with tiny marshmallows. Or substitute the chips for blueberries from the local farmer’s market. Place the banana in aluminum foil and wrap tightly. Place the foil-wrapped fruit next to but not on the flames. Wait five to 10 minutes or enough time for the chips and marshmallows to melt. Open and enjoy with a spoon.

Another way to limit the amount of marshmallows used is to substitute them with marshmallow crème, a spreadable version of marshmallows that helps you more easily regulate portion. For healthier treats, use large strawberries, apple slices, banana chucks, pineapple or other fruit. Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown. You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.

There are many ways to make the end of your camping day a memorable time with snacks. How does your marshmallow roast?

Madelyn Morrissey blows on a roasted marshmallow near the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest. (Courtesy Adrian Roth)
Madelyn Morrissey blows on a roasted marshmallow near the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest. (Courtesy Adrian Roth)
Category/Topic: Forestry

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Sep 07, 2014

Raggin' on s'mores, trying to make people feel guilty about a little snack, tellin' us to use something other than marshmallows on marshmallow day... THIS is why we can't have nice things.

Don't you folks have some trees to tend to?

Sep 07, 2014

Liberals just don't get almost every law or mandate in this country began as a suggestion or recommendation. If the public does not speak up this will become law. Haven't you ever noticed how a temporary tax is never rolled back to where it was. As government grows freedoms disappear, and politicians become very wealthy, check out congress each ones net worth upon election and then net worth after a few years in Washington,and guess who's pocket all this wealth is coming from. Putin is not even that greedy

Lt. Col. (ret.)
Sep 07, 2014

Forest Service has nothing better to do? Try putting out the Wild Fires out west....Instead of worrying about a 1927 Girl Scour recipe.

Sep 07, 2014

To the US Forest Service: Your big brother attitude is wholly misplaced and serves as a deterrent to visiting US Parks. Instead of going to US Parts to experience the liberating sense of being outdoors, we now have to look over our shoulders for parental admonishment from liberty limiting Park Rangers Monitoring our camp snacks.

To those supporting the US Forestry View: Please focus on limiting your own liberties, not the liberties others enjoy.

Sep 07, 2014

All the people outraged about this benign little post with recipe tips need to get a life. Like another commenter pointed out, the Forest Service's job includes not just ensuring the safety of visitors but occasionally offering suggestions on how to have a good time outdoors. God forbid the USG have a coherent public health message about how to eat healthily. Obviously, they need to do more, as one can tell by observing the crowd at virtually any public space in the United States.

Minnie Winnie
Sep 07, 2014

Just as school lunches started out a suggestion, but turned into confiscation, so will this. Get ready for rangers to seize your burned marshmallows, and write you a citation. Wake up Liberals to what's going on in Nanny State America!

Sep 07, 2014

I say, "Stay the hell out of our personal business" you have no business encroaching on our personal desert choices, go take care of our forests and leave the people our freedom of choice, many of us have already used other ingredients in smores such as fruit, been doing it for years however we don't need you to tell us.

Sep 07, 2014

As i sit here reading all the vitriolic posts from the liberals bashing the conservatives and telling us how stupid we are because we don't agree with them, or we want to state our "different" opinions on an issue, could this intolerance on both sides be the reason nothing EVER gets done in this country which is of any use. Let the government continue to try to control even what we eat, and that way we won't question whats going on with the bigger issues.

Sep 07, 2014

Thanks for the suggestion, but I'll choose to keep the original recipe. Any change is obviously optional and ill opt out on this one. A s'more without chocolate well just isn't a s'more anymore.

Sep 07, 2014

WOW! Talk about thinking everyone is stupid! The government needs to shut up and crawl back in its snake den! Being safe when it comes to fire is one thing, it does affect others. Trying to control what people eat is nothing more than trying to control every part of people's lives.

Sep 07, 2014

Get back to managing the forests; you're not paid to monitor our health. Stay out of our diets and out of our campfires. Fruit in stead of marshmallows. It doesn't even make sense.

Sep 07, 2014

Go straight to hell. I'll eat my fruit how I please and make my Smores how I please.
I'm not some idiot liberal who needs to be told how and when to wipe his or her own backside and shower.
Jesus, when will Unkle Samskie learn to keep his nose in his own business and out of mine.

Linda French
Sep 07, 2014

1. Sugar does NOT cause hyperactivity so it's not going to hurt to eat it before bedtime (see…)
2. "Marcia Mellow" said, "Anybody that says they prefer their marshmellow burnt on the outside is really just wrong or too impatient to do it correctly." Really? Your way is the only right way? I purposely catch my marshmallows on fire because I like them charred. Get used to it - people like different things and it's all right.
3. People don't eat enough s'mores to affect their health, and the amount of chocolate used in a s'more has less sugar than the amount of jam that would be used. Straight fruit would probably make a rather unpleasant s'more.

Sep 07, 2014

These forest service idiots need to get a real job. Earn a paycheck for once in their lives. Fruit - yeah - brings in the Bears ya know. . .:) I use a 20 inch stick myself - I love the danger.

Stu Carter
Sep 07, 2014

GET OUT OF OUR LIVES!!! Spend tax dollars building a free society, not being food nazis!

Sep 07, 2014

WTF? Do you people in DC think you can find more WASTES of tax payer dollars on garbage like this please? I mean, it is not like I work hard for my money now is it? GEEZZZ.... I can't wait till these idiots are thrown out on their keesters, and our country is returned to normal again!

Sep 07, 2014

I will go out and get 2 chocolate bars today
Lots of Marshmallows to get my dead animal fat
and a box of Graham crackers
Just to toast the tax payer dollar wasters at the USDA!
Never ate a SMORE - but going to start doing so now - chocolate and all.

Philip Paul
Sep 07, 2014

Just wait, next week we will be informed that Snipe have been put on the Endangered Species List to keep you from sending your kids out looking for an imaginary creature.

Sep 07, 2014

Once upon a time (true story) women stayed home and baked cookies and real men went to work to buy the coo9kie dough. Today we have a woman in high places banning the "pink cookie" and working on getting rid of chocolatewhile her hubby plays golf. Maybe if they had more chocolate and cookies in their home they wouldn't want to deprive us? Oh...and also once upon a time 0 we had a real president and a real first lady intrested in more than sugar and putters.

Sep 07, 2014

This is an article I would expect from the Nat'l Forest Service to promote more fun while visiting or camping in our Nat'l Forests. But, all this angst and meanness about roasting marshmallows??? Just a simple gently stated corrective suggestion about the distance, length, etc. would have been enough. Stop being so mean and nasty about little nothings...

Sep 07, 2014

My family will make our s'mores the way we want and have for years! We don't need you to tell us how! If we followed your instructions (30" stick and 10' away) what is it that we'll be roasting, because it won't be marshmallows?! This article is another example of the idiocy that has been going on with this current administration since it's inception. This administration has shown nothing but a complete dereliction of it's duties in keeping Americans safe - here and abroad, guarding and protecting our borders, defeating ISIL, etc, etc, etc... But you're going to try and tell me how to roast a marshmallow and make s'mores for my kids and grandkids to enjoy?! Stop wasting my taxpayer dollars with your idiocy!!!

Sep 08, 2014

Fruit? There is no way on earth I would ever make a substitute for chocolate on our smores . Kids love camping and the traditional smores so much they dream about them for days in advance of the camping trip. There have been no scientific studies to prove chocolate is bad for you. In fact a good quality chocolate can be good for you. You can reduce sugar in many other ways in you kids snacks. But leave our smores out of it!

Sep 08, 2014

Interesting suggestions. While grilled fruit with a little marshmallow creme on angel food cake may taste good, it is NOT a s'more! Check out the definition.'more

s'more noun \ˈsmȯr\: a sweet food that is made by putting a melted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two crackers

Sep 08, 2014

First, we clearly have too many employees suckling at the taxpayers teats when they are using OUR time writing articles like this.

Second, don't tell us to use a 30' stick then show a tiny girl holding the stick with her hand 12" from the fire. Do us a favor - resign and go flip hamburgers for a living. It's time you earn a honest living and you clearly need closer supervision for quality of work.

Sep 08, 2014

The Obama administration can't seem to find it's butt with both hands and when it even gets close it lies about it then blames it on Bush. How about you Forest Service people stick to kicking people out of the national Parks like during the Government shut down and kissing O'Berry's butt. Leave us alone to eat our S'mores how ever we want.

Jeanette Victoria
Sep 08, 2014

When the state mental hospitals were forced to close and put the mentally ill out on the street, some clearly got jobs with the government. How else can one explain the above idiocy?

Sep 08, 2014

No policy yet on dealing with ISIS, but we're working 24/7 on diet tips. Signed, your trusty Uncle, Sam.

Karina Wright
Sep 09, 2014

I completely understand the purpose of this piece and while I philosophically differ with the healthy options for s'mores (they're s'mores, for cryin' out loud), I neither see it as particularly big-brotherish nor a waste of taxpayer's money....I presume it is a daily blog that needs to have some content and this is as good as any.

EXCEPT (and you knew one had to be coming), as has been noted earlier by several others,the grammatical use of substitute is flat out wrong. Just because it is a hideously common error (as I realize whenever I go to any cooking website), this does not mean it needs to be propagated by the National Park Service (don't even get me going on connecting/adjacent and dining/dinning). I suspect that the writer hunkered in and went into comment-avoidance mode when they started getting as nasty as they did. That does not mean that someone in the department is not aware of this and can make 2 simple changes that will make it grammatically correct.

PS.. Other people are right, though, as cute as the girls are, there is all kinds of wrong with that picture accompanying this article.

Sep 09, 2014

Please stick to your charter of forest management and not towing the line of liberal politics and big government. You are identifying yourself as part of the problem by ever expanding forest management into areas you have no business. Lack of focus is why you don't deserve our tax support. Period.

Sep 09, 2014

Seriously, this has got to be the stupidest idea ever! A s'more is made with a graham cracker, some chocolate, and a marshmallow, THERE'S NO OTHER WAY. Who would to take the time to dip fruit in marshmallow spread, just, seriously. Think about this, a piece of pineapple dipped in marshmallow spread roasted over a campfire from ten feet away, with a 2.5' stick, and adult supervision surrounded by angel food cake. If that's a s'more you've never been outside. If you think this is a good idea then BEGONE.

-The Person Who Likes Chocolate On His S'mores

Sep 10, 2014

I noticed the girls are using old dry sticks to roast the marshmallows. I know they couldn't be fresh sticks since it is illegal to break sticks off of trees in the natl. parks. My own parents taught me 60 years ago not to use dry sticks since they might catch on fire. We always used old bent wire hangers with wooden spools for handles. I them taught my children the same. My family has been safely making Smore's for the better part of 3 generations and passing down the craft to the 4th. All with out the help of the Feds. I expect this info to come from Women's Day or Taste of Home. At no cost to the taxpayers, I might add.

Sep 11, 2014

Unbelievable...its not bad enough that the current administration is checking lunch boxes at school. Remember the days when you would trade lunch items? Now these bozos want to regulate smores!!! Whats next - night time smore patrol from the forest service "Hey you - dont you dare put that piece of chocolate on that cracker .... you can be fined!" Get a life.

Bob Myers
Sep 15, 2014

Campers. For 10 and under, you will need a Ten Foot stick !!!

Sep 17, 2014

Why does everyone always try to ruin the classics, stay out of my life forestry service, and keep your hands off my smores.

Joanne Millbery
Sep 22, 2014

I read your article on s' mores. The alternative with the banana is called a Banana Boat. It is probably of Girl Scout origin as well.

Sep 28, 2014

I am guessing Bloomberg was involved with this as well? Don't want to have kids drinking too much pop while camping either.

Oct 11, 2014

Great ideas! I will keep in the mind for next summer!

Stu Wilde
Oct 17, 2014

I'm still wondering how a kid sitting 10 feet away from the fire will roast a marshmallow on a 30 inch stick?

This whole emphasis on eating healthy is absurd. Kids aren't fat because of they eat s'mores, they are fat because so many families are poor and eat fast food and other processed foods and schools no longer have P.E. (physical education) classes every day.

Oct 18, 2014

For all of you being critical of our all knowing gubmint, good luck on your upcoming IRS audits. They are certainly coming for you now.

burning marshmello
Oct 18, 2014

The influence of the Obama's has permeated every nook and cranny of our lives. This is painfully evident by such mindless articles as this, undoubtedly written by Obots who exist to fatten up the payroll, and do little else.

Oct 18, 2014

What is pathetic are the comments of the liberals, telling us that we are getting sage advice related to the roasting of a marshmallow; however, this makes sense as elitist liberals are superior to you in every aspect of life. You truly are an idiot in their minds.

Oct 18, 2014

We know how to make smores. Just commemorate the day and say stay safe. Dont need lecturing by forest service.

Oct 18, 2014

Does Obamacare cover the surgery necessary to lengthen my kid's arms to a length sufficient to roast a piece of fruit from 10 feet away with a 30 inch stick???? Please reply, because I can't function until the gov tells me what to do next. I'll sit quietly while waiting for your reply.

Oct 18, 2014

Our tax dollars paid for this ridiculous article, and I'm sure there was a detailed tax-payer-funded "study" accompanying this foolishness. But, will we survive as a nation until the 2016 elections? We are currently governed by simpletons.

Oct 18, 2014

To all the liberal commentators (bashing the "too much government" commentators):

No, OF COURSE the FS article is not intrusive government - the FS cannot - YET - force us to comply with their s'mores regulations. BUT . . . does the Federal government REALLY need to spend our tax dollars to "teach" us how to make s'mores??? REALLY????? Spend our tax dollars on pine beetle prevention research, forest management, etc. I can figure out how to make my own darn s'mores, thanks.

Oh, and to the guy who commented on our outbreak of wildfires - REALLY?? That's ALL you know about "wildfires"? Do yourself a favor, and don't beclown yourself by commenting on something you CLEARLY don't understand one iota. Spend a couple years researching things like controlled burns, lack of control of undergrowth, the efficacy of "fight all fires" policies, and the impact of drought and pine beetles. Or, better yet, unless you actually KNOW what you are talking about, why not just STFU?

Nov 04, 2015

This is a terrible article on trying to get kids to stop eating sugary foods and instead eat pineapple. LOL