Monday, September 23, 2013

Kitchen Tips - Popcorn & Stale Foods

Popcorn won't pop? Stale bread, chips, or cereal? Hard cookies? Don't throw them out! Instead, follow these tips from my "test kitchen"!

Popcorn Popping Tips
My family loves freshly popped popcorn, and here are our tips for the perfect bowl full!
  • Store the bag of popcorn in the freezer, and it will pop better. We use white popcorn, but you may use yellow popcorn, also (not microwave popcorn). 
Popping popcorn in a heavy pot
  • Use a heavy pot. Ours is a very heavy 3 quart Kitchen Aid saucepan. Pour enough oil (we use canola oil) to cover the bottom of the cold saucepan. Add popcorn to the oil and place the saucepan on the stove at medium-high heat to allow the popcorn and oil to heat together.
  • Hold the lid and shake the pot occasionally until the popping almost stops. Remove from heat until popping stops. Pour into a large bowl, and add your favorite toppings.

Hard Cookies
These tips will work for homemade or store-bought cookies.

Bread or apple slices to soften cookies
  • If you over-bake cookies, or they are just getting a little "hard", put the cookies in a bowl with a tight-fitting lid, such as Tupperware or Rubbermaid. 
  • Add a slice of bread (white or wheat) and cover tightly with the lid. Check back in a couple of hours and turn the bread over. The bread will become hard as the cookies become softer! Discard the bread or apple.
  • You may also use slices of a fresh apple, but the apple does flavor the cookies somewhat. The apple slices add a delicious "extra" flavor to oatmeal cookies!

Hard Bread or Tortilla Shells
Don't throw out those hard biscuits or rolls! Follow these tips to "revive" them! 

Soften that bread!
  • When biscuits, rolls, or tortilla shells become hard, moisten lightly with water and wrap in a white paper towel.
  • Place in the microwave on high for 10-12 seconds. Repeat if needed. The moisture will make the bread soft again!

Stale Cereal, Crackers, and Chips
Prevention - When I first open boxes of cereal or crackers, I put them in airtight storage containers with tight-fitting lids or large storage bags. 

"Revived" oyster crackers
  • Preheat oven to low setting (250 degrees.) 
  • Place stale cereal, crackers, or chips on a large cookie sheet and place in the oven, uncovered. Check after 10 minutes. If not crisp, stir and return to the oven. Continue checking every 3-5 minutes until it tastes crisp again.
  • Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Homemade popcorn - delicious!


  1. These are great ideas, Nancy! I baked some cookies back in the early 90's and I left them in the oven too long. I cannot stand hard cookies, and as I was about to throw them out, my dad, Virgil Shamblin, asked me what I was doing. He told me to put the bread in the container with the cookies. I did this, and the cookies magically softened. lol I love reading your blogs.

  2. Thanks so much, Drema! I have saved many cookies from the trash by using this tip! Thanks for reading my blog posts.