Marshmallows around the campfire often referred to as s’mores are marshmallows roasted over an open fire until they are soft and gooey. You would generally use a wooden stick or a skewer to hold the marshmallow, then roast it over an open fire.
Then you may put the roasted marshmallow on a piece of graham cracker and a chocolate bar on top before eating it.
Not many people know or understand why we carry out this tradition but do so because the parents did it and also those before them. However, it is still the number one snack around campfires around the world.
The reason why we roast marshmallows on the campfire is mainly due to tradition handed down from parent to child over the course of many generations of things to do around a campfire.
And just like most generations, we carry out these traditions not knowing why they were started in the first place.
Where Did the Word S’more Come From?
S’more is actually a derivative of the phrase “some more” and actually appeared in a cookbook in the early 1920s where they called it a “Graham Cracker Sandwich”. Going back into US history and we can see that it was very popular with both boy and girl scouts around that time.
The confectioner would then mix the syrup with egg whites and corn starch until they become fluffy, white material before putting it into molds to set up.
Then, one by one, these tiny squares were individually wrapped in wax papers or cellophane bags before being served at events like camping trips, picnics, carnivals, themed parties, and other gatherings.
The Marsh Mallow Plant
Did you know that there is a plant called a “Marsh Mallow” (also called Althea officinalis)? The plant grows in marshy or damp soil and is used to make marshmallows.
The sap from the root contains a natural sweetener, so it was easy for early confectioners to boil that along with sugar into a thick syrup.
The Marsh Mallow is indigenous to Eurasia and Northern Africa and it is thought to have been brought over to North America by early colonists. Today you can find this plant growing in almost every part of the United States.
What is the Point in Roasting Marshmallows?
Marshmallows are usually roasted by impaling the marshmallow on a stick and holding it over an open-source of heat until they are toasted.
The main reason why people do this is so that the marshmallow expands while being heated.
The force created by this expansion causes the marshmallow to stretch out of its skin, which is very thin before becoming brown in color. This creates a pillowy texture that is perfect for making s’mores.
Generally, you toast them until they are lightly golden brown on each side, however, some people prefer their marshmallows to be almost black on both sides. While camping there are no laws about how dark your marshmallow can get!
The malliard reaction occurs when a marshmallow is heated, which imparts a more complex flavor to the marshmallow. The sugars in campfires are also likely to caramelize, altering the texture and flavor of the sweet.
Do you Say Toasted or Roasted Marshmallows?
There is no right or wrong way to explain how you are roasting or toasting a marshmallow. It all depends on each individual’s preference.
Some argue that you toast a marshmallow “over” the fire and roast it “in” the fire. However, the most commonly used term used all over the world is “roast a marshmallow.”
What is the Best Way to Roast Marshmallows Over a Campfire?
As long as you have the marshmallow on a stick, you simply hold it over the center of the fire, but not too close that the flames can get to it.
Then gently rotate the skewer so that you heat the marshmallow evenly until it changes to a nice golden brown color. Once it has reached that stage, it is ready to eat.