It’s a bad habit the majority of us share: when we discover stale food items in our pantry or fridge, our instinct is to toss it in the garbage without a second glance. Instead, resist the urge and try one of these simple kitchen hacks that will revive stale food to the point of being entirely edible again. Not only does it help you maintain a zero-waste kitchen, but it can also lead to some new recipes to introduce into your repertoire. It’s a win-win!
If you have a bag of stale nuts on your hands – be it peanuts, cashews, pistachios – resist the urge to toss them in the trash. Instead, cut back on food waste and get the kids to join you in the kitchen for this family-friendly nut brittle recipe that will become an instant classic in your household. Trust us, building a zero-waste kitchen is easier than you think.
It’d be heartbreaking (and wasteful!) to throw out a batch of delicious cookies – be it homemade or store-bought – simply because they’d gotten a little stale. Instead, put a piece of fresh bread in the bottom of a jar or container and place the cookies on top. Keep the container tightly sealed for at least 24 hours. When you reach for a cookie the next day, it’ll be soft and chewy. So, how does it work? The cookies absorb all the bread’s moisture.
Although you can line a baking sheet with stale crackers and heat them at 370°F in the oven for 20-25 minutes, an even quicker way to revitalize everyone’s favourite go-to snack it to nuke them in the microwave. Roughly 40 seconds on medium heat should be enough to do the trick. Just make sure you give them a few minutes to cool down before popping one in your mouth. Cleaning out your pantry? These are the budget-friendly staples you should always have on hand.
Resist the urge to toss out that bag of stale popcorn. If you’re looking to breathe new life into the snack, spread it on a baking sheet and heat in the oven at 250°F for about five minutes. It should be as good as new! You can also consider adding the slightly stale variety to your favourite five-minute trail mix recipe for some added texture. (What? Some of us like our popcorn a little stale.)
Get the recipe for Canadian Trail Mix, 4 Ways
Similar to popcorn and crackers, stale cereal can be spread on a sheet pan in the oven for a few minutes to bring it back to its original crispiness. Alternatively, you can incorporate it in a family-favourite recipe, like these crunchy cereal chicken fingers, to get the most out of your purchase.
Similar to wilted lettuce, ice cold water can revive a sad-looking cucumber within 30 minutes! First, chop off both ends (along with any other questionable pieces of skin) before plunging it into its ice bath. Enjoy every crunchy bite! Check out these things you should never store in your fridge (but probably are).
“Let them eat cake!” Granted, this isn’t what Marie Antoinette was referring to when she allegedly uttered those four words, but foodies with a serious sweet tooth will appreciate this cake-saving hack nonetheless. If your beloved dessert is a little too dry, nuke it in the microwave for 20 seconds and it will be back to its moist perfection. Speaking of cake, check out our most excellent cheesecake recipes for total dessert bliss.