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US Forest Service Asks: How Does Your Marshmallow Roast?

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)

146 Responses to “US Forest Service Asks: How Does Your Marshmallow Roast?”

  1. Marcia Mellow says:

    Additional tips for perfect S’mores:
    • First, place your chocolate on the graham cracker and set it on a piece of tinfoil close enough to your fire to melt slightly while you are roasting
    • Use a forked roasting stick, this will help prevent the M’mellow from just spinning on the stick as its yummy center gooifies.
    • Take your time; your patience will be rewarded with a lightly browned, perfectly gooey mellow.
    • Rotate slowly as you roast to ensure even goodness throughout.
    • Don’t get too close to the heat; stay at least 1-2 feet (depending on intensity) away from the coals or open flame. Yes, it might take several minutes to get a good golden brown from this distance. Good things come to those who wait.
    • Never let your mellow catch fire. Anybody that says they prefer their marshmellow burnt on the outside is really just wrong or too impatient to do it correctly.
    • Once properly browned, place the mellow (with the stick still inside) on top of your chocolaty graham. Use the other graham to hold the mellow in place as you remove the stick.
    • Enjoy! Brag about being a zen master of the S’more and pass your knowledge on to the next generation.

  2. Bill says:

    And they say that the government no longer performs vital national functions!

  3. vince winstanley says:

    Ummm. You should not include a photo which shows children roasting marshmallows with a fire which has not burnt down to embers. That smoke from that fire is loaded with nasty stuff and besides it wont roast it will catch fire. Plus, the little hands should be further away by holding a longer straighter stick.

  4. Jared says:

    Holy crap! Like our government needs to tell people how to sit at a campfire when they cannot even regulate their police.

  5. Josh S. says:

    Gee, I sure am glad that we have the federal government here to make sure that kids are using marshmallow-roasting sticks of the appropriate length! Now I can sleep easy tonight…

  6. R Sweeney says:

    Are you PAID by the US taxpayers to do this?

  7. Thomas Jefferson says:

    Roasting marshmallow is none of the government’s business. What a waste of taxpayer money to write this crap.

  8. lewis sanborn says:

    Fool. Burn the thing and enjoy! -Dummy.

  9. Doug Thompson says:

    Does the federal government suggest using bundles of cash instead of firewood, when roasting marshmallows? It seems keen on burning my cash on needless endeavors.

  10. Smoky Taxpayer says:

    I am ashamed that the Forest Service is wasting our taxpayer money on drivel such as this. Do you think that all Americans are imbeciles? The waste is at the top of every agency of government!

  11. Mark says:

    Hey US Government….give it a rest. A treatise on marshmallow roasting? Really?

  12. Paul Lynde says:

    Who got paid to write this slop?

  13. Cb2113 says:

    I’ve been doing it wrong. I should have been wrapping the marshmallow in kale and cooking it while donning a level A fire suit. Thanks gov’ment.

  14. Eyebrows says:

    This is ridiculous. The nanny state is in overdrive, time to thin out the forest of liberals before our country burns to the ground!

  15. Steve says:

    Are you kidding me?!?!? And you get PAID for this? Have you nothing BETTER to do, than to dictate to us what to do? And pray tell, if it’s a 10 foot perimeter around the fire, how is a marshmallow even going to get warm on a 30 inch stick? Another example of a gargantuan government that has far exceeded its authority and bounds. LEAVE US ALONE!

  16. Annette says:

    Wonderful ideas, and who knew it was National Marshmallow Roast Day.. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Tom Chadwell says:

    This article is a terrible waste of my taxpayer money.
    How is a child supposed to roast a marshmallow with a recommended 10-foot distance from the campfire?

  18. Bruce Ward says:

    Check out the youtube, “President Obama and a Rollaroaster” to see how the First Family makes smores

  19. Karen Walker says:

    Lovely. You can’t do anything about terrorists, but you’ll keep us safe from marshmallows.

  20. AmazedOne1 says:

    Neither of those girls are using sticks that are the recommended 30 inches long. Moreover, little Katie defeats the purpose of the long stick by holding it close to the marshmallow. She could easily burn her hand.

  21. Sue says:


    How are the kids supposed to roast a marshmallow with 2.5′ sticks from 10 feet away from fire?

    Just how many millions of taxpayer $$$ did this cost? I’m not even going to comment on the idiocy of the US government telling you how to roast a marshmallow …in 700 words!

  22. Tom chadwell says:

    FANTASTIC article!
    Great tips on safety, food history, dietary tips and suggestions on supporting local farmer’s markets!

    Thank you for looking out for us!

    Keep these articles coming!!!

  23. Tom chadwell says:

    Yeah, I changed my mind.

  24. Subvet says:

    Did someone actually get paid with the taxpayers’ money to think of this garbage?

  25. Grumpy Guy says:

    Only *morons* would provide instructions for roasting marshmallows. Thanks for wasting our tax dollars.

  26. Nick Dorazio says:

    THanks! Hey, what’s ‘glamping’ mean? Please respond to my work too.

  27. Ralph D. Lynch says:

    Shame on you, what a waste of our tax dollars. You obviously have no shame. Go find a productive job.

  28. shawn Moody says:

    this is most waste of time for the forest service to have a article on roasting marshmallows the forest service need more people and money to run out forest more proper not a article on roasting marshmallows.

  29. Roger says:

    Should I place the flaming marshmallow in my mouth or wait until the fire is out?

  30. Splooj66 says:

    If your child is 10 feet away from the campfire, and uses a 30-36″ stick for roasting, they would require an arm that is at least 7 feet long to reach the fire. Thanks for the tips though. Glad to see the US Gov’t is spending tax dollars on tips such as these, instead of fighting ISIL, securing the border, or other, less useful endeavors.

  31. D Williamson says:

    Rethink this statement?? “Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet warm fruit.” Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute the sweet warm fruit….

  32. J. Arthur says:

    Your grammar is atrocious. Where did the author of this article attend school and did they cheat in English class? When you write to “… substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit.” You are telling us the use CHOCOLATE instead of fruit. However, the point of the sentence is to somehow convince me, (the US Public) that they should use FRUIT instead of chocolate. Now, I don’t agree with your statement, we as Americans are still free to make s’mores as a desert. Of course have a healthy well-balanced meal. But having a fru’more. . . is rediculous. And please, employ a competent, experienced proof reader from now on since your writers are obviously incompetent.

  33. Uncle Risky says:

    Why don’t you just leave us alone and let the kids have the treats we have all enjoyed for nearly 100 years? Nobody ever died from eating a s’more!

  34. Aaron Brooks says:

    Don’t you have anything better to do?

  35. Joanne Jacobs says:

    This s’moronic article misuses “substitute” twice.

    “Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit.” Then why grill it, if you’re not going to substitute the sweet, warm fruit for the chocolate.

    “Or substitute the chips for blueberries from the local farmer’s market.” Surely, you want to substitute the blueberries for the chips.

  36. Joanne Jacobs says:

    “Substitute with” also is incorrect.

  37. Mathieu Vennier says:

    Now that I know my tax dollars helped fund this useless tripe, I’m going to put like 18 marshmallows on my s’more tomorrow.

    I thought about the pineapple for about a half-second, but decided to laugh at you instead.

  38. Paul says:

    Fun article! Nicely written!!

  39. Jim says:

    Wonderful tips from our dear gov’t on how to feed our children – thanks for such “healthy” tips. When can we just use our own heads and govern ourselves with common sense?

    BTW – s’mores with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are much better than just plain chocolate s’mores.

  40. Monte says:

    Really the US Forest Service has nothing better to do than to tell folks how to make smores and roast marshmallows? Unreal just totally unreal and I’m just glad my tax money goes to teaching folks how to roast a marshmallow.

  41. Richard says:

    Good article. Some good old common sense, it never hurts to emphasize safety. From someone with a long mustache and beard, smaller marshmallows are less messy – the giant size are usually too big for to stay between crackers anyway.

    Kids are more likely to get a flamer going as they’re impatient and regularly thrust their marshmallow directly into the flames – finding a good access to a bed of glowing coals works best and patience, is of course key – unless someone enjoys a half burnt marshmallow (some do.)

    Lastly, a pity there are so many negative people in the world today who think they are clever and/or witty with their infantile jabs at Big Government here. Grow up, eh?

  42. Mike says:

    This would be fine if it was from Martha Stewart, but maybe the FS should worry more about beetle killed trees, diseased forests, lack of management, etc., rather than kids getting a sugar high. Unless, there is a hidden agenda to blame climate change on those little fat munchkins running around creating too much heat!

  43. harold says:

    Don’y forget that when you are done with your stick, it just makes good sense to park it in the sensitive personal anatomy of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

    Recycling is good.

  44. Josh H. says:

    I applaud this blog on those delicious blobs

    but I cannot eat marshmallow anymore… it is made with gelatin, which I find disgusting as it is made from dead animals

    is there any way to enjoy s’more’s goodness without real marshmallows?

  45. David says:

    Dear hysterical conservatives: please, get a grip. These are suggestions on how to make s’mores, not dictates on how to live your life. All the paid and (even more pathetic) unpaid trolls on here, feigning outrage and insinuating that this is some sort of Big Government plot to dominate our lives, are willfully overlooking the fact that the US Forest Service, and its employees, have a job to do. This job includes not just ensuring the safety of visitors but occasionally offering suggestions on how to have a good time outdoors as well. Getting puffed up on the Internet and calling this anything other than what it is, is pure partisan hackery. I’m embarrassed for you more than I am angry.

  46. Mike says:

    To all those criticizing this article as unnecessary: fire safety is a pretty freaking important part of camping. And no, apparently we can’t figure it out on our own, based upon the number of wildfires we end up starting.

  47. John says:

    Wow guys, hate much? How about the bitter trolls on here go out and get a real life instead of taking out frustration over your pitiful existence by venting on a lighthearted article that celebrates “National Roasted Marshmallow Day,” of all things. Geez.

  48. Xii says:

    Flaming incoherent partisan ragegasms about a lighthearted post about s’mores. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  49. dhusk says:

    Kevin McCarthy starts whining about something and all the mouth-breathing tea stains jump on the bandwagon. What a shock. What next, are you right wing zombies going to mob the NASA website for daring to talk about how people should use backyard telescopes?

  50. Bob says:

    Seriously? It’s no longer a smore if you take the chocolate out. It’s a graham cracker with fruit and a marshmallow.

    Don’t worry about what people are eating while camping and go trap some wolves or something.

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