Shoogling: the best way to make popcorn in the woods

If I'm making popcorn and it's not on a campfire, along with writing posts about how to make it on said campfire, it must mean that I'm avoiding doing some kind of boringsittingstill admin or something. And indeed I am, in fact, I'm writing the terms and conditions of my Easter Forest School Course. It's thrilling.


So how do you make popcorn on a campfire? Easy-peasy, you just need to make yourself a specialist piece of equipment known as a shoogler. Thank Lily for introducing us to that term (and it always has to be written in bold italics where possible). Shoogling means 'to shake, sway or rock back and forth'. Which is exactly how you make popcorn in a shoogler.


How to make a shoogler:
The first thing you need is a big stick, think 'fat broomstick stick', hazel is best as it's straight and likes being cut down, but ash or sycamore are good too.

Then you need two metal sieves. You also need some metal wire. The metal bit is very important.

Once you've realised how expensive metal sieves are nowadays, and that you've had to buy two, place them one on top of the other so that they create a sphere, with the handles lined up. This bit is really hard to describe so I'm just going to cheat and show you a picture of the finished article. That'll save me a lot of words.

  This is the point at which I realise that I am always so busy in the woods that I rarely manage to take any decent photos of anything. So I've borrowed this very informative image from  here .

This is the point at which I realise that I am always so busy in the woods that I rarely manage to take any decent photos of anything. So I've borrowed this very informative image from here.

Hinge the two sieves together using the wire. Use the wire again to attach ONE of the sieve handles to the big stick of hazel that you cut when I told you to earlier. Cutting a small notch in the stick will stop your wire from slipping off.

Use your imagination and ingenuity to create some kind of wire fastening to keep the second sieve handle attached to the big stick once the popcorn is inside.

And - ta da! - you've got your very own shoogler. All you need now are some popcorn kernels, a bit of oil (I usually put some kernels in a cup, pour a little oil over them and give them a good shake), and a fire that has burnt down to embers (try it on a high flame, it's fun, popcorn burns well and flaming shooglers look great!).

Hold the shoogler over the fire and shoogle, shoogle SHOOGLE until all the corn is popped. The popcorn will have a lovely smokey flavour and won't need salt, sugar or any other flavouring.

Plus, if you're in the woods, you won't think that melting a huge chunk of salted butter over the top is a great idea. And then do it and eat the lot.

Like I've just done...