With camping season right around the corner, now is the ideal time to practice building a campfire! It’s the perfect way to stay warm on a cool brisk evening while camping—and made even better with s’mores!—but it also provides a chance to hone your outdoor cooking skills. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, set up the space as an imaginary campsite and have fun preparing a meal in the great outdoors. Search around online for some recipes that use ingredients you have on hand, or invent your own! Another great perk to outdoor cooking is that it’s a fun activity for any meal, dessert included. You can do this activity during any part of the day. Now let’s get started…
Get the Fire Going
At home, a simple preheat of the oven or turn of the stove dial will do, but not so in the woods. Here’s a primer to getting your campfire cooking underway:
- Start small: First make a cone shape of kindling and handfuls of tinder in a loose pile at the center.
- Light it up: Ignite the tinder and blow lightly at the base to provide the fire with oxygen.
- Keep it going: Add logs a few at a time in a cone shape once the fire is going strong.
- Patience before cooking: Keep your fire burning until there is a bed of coals for even cooking.
Always practice fire safety!
Have the Right Tools On Hand
Be prepared: Have everything you’ll need in front of you so that the only scrambling happening is to your eggs! Some suggestions are:
- Cast iron pots or pans (skillets, dutch ovens, or griddles are some options)
- Cooking utensils: Long-handled spoon, tongs, spatula. These are easily portable and very useful!
- Accessories: Heat-resistant grill gloves, meat thermometer (if cooking meat), steel skewers (did someone say kebabs?), aluminum foil
- Cutting board
- Plates, bowls, cups
- Eating utensils
Tip: Know what you’re making ahead of time. Do the prep work at home and be sure to pack the right ingredients and utensils. Part of the fun of campfire cooking is deciding what you’ll make!
A Tasty Recipe to Try
When you’re cooking in a situation that’s out of the ordinary, like camping or say, home quarantine, a little treat every now and again is justified! Here’s a simple dessert to make on your next camping trip (or at home).
Campfire Apple Crisp
You will need:
- Apples (Granny Smith, Cortland, or honey crisp), 1 per person
- White sugar, brown sugar, or both
- Quick oats
- Butter (one stick is more than enough)
- Tin foil
As your evening comes to an end, let your campfire start to burn down into mainly coals, which are best for cooking.
- Tear off some large squares of tin foil, two per person.
- Chop your apples into chunks and arrange them in a single layer on the tin foil square.
- Mix together sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle over the apples. You can also make this mixture in advance at home before camping. No need to worry about specific amounts, just have fun with it!
- Take a handful of quick oats and sprinkle them on top of your apple mixture.
- Take a few slices of butter (about ¼ inch thick) and chop them up into little pieces and spread all over your oats, and cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Fold up your tin foil packet, and then wrap the second square around it.
- Place the packets directly into the coals and bake for 12-20 minutes, checking occasionally (Careful! VERY HOT!).
- While they are cooking, stare up at the stars and contemplate how large our universe is…
- Once the apples are soft and the sugars are melty and caramelized you are ready to indulge.
You can also do this at home with the oven at 350 degrees.← Back to Educational Activities