Did you know camping and popcorn are great partner activities? Popcorn makes a great fireside snack. It can even be popped over a fire for extra camping fun.
You will need:
2 tablespoons popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
small aluminum foil loaf pans or small aluminum cake pans (these are optional)
Take a long piece of aluminum foil and fold in half, shiny side in.
Fold the sides up a couple of times so you make a long tin foil pouch
Place the popcorn and oil in the foil pouch.
Seal the top by folding it up a couple of times to form a loose pouch, leaving room for the kernels to pop.
Fold the pouch top over a marshmallow stick a couple of times and then squeeze around the stick tightly. You want this to be secure enough to shake without the pouch falling off into the fire so give it a couple of trials shakes to start. This will make sure the popcorn is covered with the oil as well.
Hold the pouch over the fire until the popcorn starts to pop and then shake over the fire until the popcorn stops.
If you have loaf or round aluminum pans, skip the pouch and use these instead. Cover the top with aluminum foil, leaving room for the popping corn. Add the stick and cover with another layer of foil. Pinch the sides to keep it all in place while cooking. If you know the brand Jiffy pop, this is a homemade version.
Once the popcorn stops popping, remove from fire.
Open the pouch when it is cool enough to do so and add your toppings.
When including this for camping, think about the age of your campers, the number of people and your cooking options. If there are many people, and access to power, consider bringing along an air popper. This allows you to make up a lot of popcorn quickly for a large group without the tin foil fuss. Or for little campers who really can't handle this activity. They probably won't mind if they are eating first.
Going All Out
When we are at home, we usually stick with the original popcorn toppings. But for a camping adventure, why not go all out and plan a Popcorn Bar.
What is a Popcorn Bar, you ask? It's an adventure of flavor for your tastebuds.
Lay out a table or a basket filled with assorted toppings and let everyone pick their favorite. If you are using the tin foil packs of popcorn cooked over the fire, you may want to make them half size so everyone can try more than one variety. Or just make up a giant batch of plain popcorn and set out bowls or large plastic drink cups to fill and season.
A little stand to keep melted butter would be nice, or keep a pan close enough to the fire for butter to stay melted and let everyone (adults) add their own with a measuring cup scoop. If you have access to power, one of those little 1 quart slow cookers for fondue or sauces would work too.
Combine these seasonings ahead of time in little spice jars and label them. The dollar store is great for little containers like this.
All chopped ingredients should be chopped very fine. Spices should also be ground fine. Unless otherwise noted, spices are mixed in equal quantities. Add toppings to taste starting light and adding more if you like a stronger flavor. Toss the popcorn with butter before the seasonings to help the flavors stick. Toss well again after adding the seasonings.
Optionally, you can toss with a couple teaspoons of olive oil. I prefer butter with most flavors. Anytime Parmesan is mentioned, I am referring to the packaged, crumbled kind. Fresh will probably work but I think the packaged, drier kind is better suited for a popcorn topping.
To begin, Peppercorn grinders with Black peppercorns and/or mixed Peppercorns and a variety of Flavored Salts can really enhance any seasonings you choose.
Check out the great flavors at The Salt Cellar.
Check the seasoning aisle for all kinds of pre-made popcorn seasonings.
Icing sugar can be sprinkled on basic Salt and Butter popcorn for a Kettle Corn flavor.
And here are some combinations
Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, parsley, Italian seasoning
Curry powder and dried basil - 1 teaspoon each, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and fine lime zest
Italian Breadstick Popcorn
Garlic Powder, Basil, Parsley, Salt
Smoked paprika, chopped parsley, chopped cilantro
Taco seasoning, try and use a low salt pack
Mexican Chocolate Popcorn
A few shakes of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne, a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Toss with cocoa powder and light cinnamon. Add mini marshmallows
Swiss Chocolate Popcorn
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon hot chocolate mix. Add mini marshmallows
Chocolate Candy Cane Popcorn
1 tablespoon of hot chocolate mix, 1 teaspoon of crushed peppermint candy canes
Cumin, garlic powder, dried basil, dried thyme, and paprika - equal part each. Add black pepper - about half the spice amount. Add a dash of cayenne pepper.
Sweet Cajun Popcorn
Cajun seasoning, seasoning salt, white sugar (just a little, about half the amount of the seasonings or less)
Chili seasoning, onion powder
A teaspoon each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin and chili powder. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese.
Barbecue seasoning, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder
Parmesan, Red Pepper Flakes, dried Oregano
Garlic and Onion
Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, bit of icing sugar
Use a package of seasonings from Ramen noodles
Cheesy powder seasoning (like that from Macaroni and Cheese packages), Parmesan
Ranch dressing seasoning and black pepper
Lemon Pepper Popcorn
Lemon-pepper seasoning, salt or
Ground black peppercorn, salt and fine lemon zest, pre-mixed
Apple Pie Popcorn
Premix in a jar and label: 1/4 cup cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground allspice, 2 teaspoons of both ground nutmeg and ground ginger. After the popcorn is seasoned, raisins or dehydrated apple can be added for something extra.
Pumpkin Pie Popcorn
Premix in a jar and label: 1/4 cup cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground clove, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg. After the popcorn is seasoned, add in baked pumpkin seeds for something extra.
Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn
White sugar, icing sugar - 2 tablespoons of each. Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon. Mix all together
Special Seasoning Popcorn
Premix in a jar and label: 4 tablespoons of both celery salt and dried parsley flakes, 6 teaspoons of garlic powder, salt and ground savory, 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram and dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of pepper, turmeric and ground sage. From Whole New Mom
Top your popcorn with other Sprinkle extras:
Chocolate Chips, Peanut Butter Chips, Butterscotch Chips, Mint-chocolate Chips, dried fruit chips, raisins, dried cranberries, Nibs, Rolos, Chocolate Rosebuds, M&Ms, Smarties, Yogurt covered Raisins or Nuts, Peanuts, Pistachios, Cashews, Pecans and other nuts, Sunflower Seeds
And here are a few more ideas. They may not be the most practical toppings if you are camping but they are great to try at home.
Combine a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with a couple shakes of Tabasco, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and half a teaspoon of sugar. Mix well and drizzle over the popcorn. Toss well.
Combine a teaspoon of lime zest, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, a bit of salt and a sprinkle of chili flakes. Sprinkle over the popcorn and toss again well.
Buffalo Chicken Popcorn
Combine 2 tablespoons of Frank's Hot Sauce with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, a teaspoon of fresh black pepper and half a teaspoon of chicken bullion seasoning. Mix well, drizzle over the popcorn and toss well.
Homemade Ranch Popcorn
Combine a tablespoon of melted butter with a tablespoon of buttermilk. Drizzle over the popcorn and toss well. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of dry dill and fresh black pepper to taste over the popcorn and mix again well.
Oreo Cookie Popcorn
Combine a tablespoon of melted butter with a few drops of vanilla. Drizzle on popcorn and mix well. Top with crushed oreo cookies. Toss it all together really well.
Chocolate Coconut Popcorn
Combine a tablespoon of melted butter with a few drops of vanilla. Drizzle on popcorn and mix well. Top with 1/8 cup milk chocolate shavings and 1/8 cup or a little less of sweetened coconut.
Popcorn is so much more than a run of the mill snack.
What flavors do you like on your popcorn?
This is the fifth post in my Camping Series. For the other posts, see these links.
Wrap Salads and More