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How To Revive And Repurpose Most Foods

Have trouble with your food constantly going stale because you can’t eat it fast enough? You can always freeze it, but that doesn’t work for everything. We’ve rounded up examples of foods that can be easily repurposed or revived long after the expiration date passes.

Title image remixed from Rubbermaid Products.

We’ve shown you the best practices for preserving foods in the fridge, but some foods don’t do well when frozen. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring them back to life. Here are some of the best foods you can revive, and how to revive them.

Revive Stale Chips, Snacks, Nuts, Bread

Sometimes it’s really difficult to get through a whole bag of chips or an entire loaf of bread. The worst part is that after they’re open they often go bad quickly, no matter how many precautions you take to keep them from going stale. Thankfully, bringing snacks of all types back to life is possible with nothing more than an oven and a microwave.

Revive Stale Cereal, Crackers, Popcorn, Chips and Nuts in the Oven

According to Cozi, you can bring snacks back to life pretty easily. If your cereal, crackers, chips, popcorn or nuts have gone stale, throw them in the oven for 3-5 minutes at 150C. Pull them out and they’ll be as tasty as ever. For larger chunks of bread, you can use ice cubes to bring them back to life

Toss Baguettes, Breads, Bagels, Cookies, Tortillas and Chips into the Microwave

If you don’t want to wait for the oven, or you just don’t have one, some foods can get tossed into the microwave for about 30 seconds. Thick breads work especially well here. If they’re really stale, wrap them in a damp paper towel first.

For cookies and biscuits, heat them up for one to two minutes to freshen them up. For dried-out brown sugar, Real Simple suggests tossing it in the microwave for 15 seconds. If you’ve accidentally let your tortillas go bad and don’t want to just fry them up, 15 seconds in a microwave [PDF] and on top of baking paper will save your meal.

Refreshen Stale Coffee Beans on the Stove

The shelf life of coffee beans is pretty short, and a stale cup of coffee is usually really bitter. One trick to freshen them up a little is to throw them into a frying pan briefly. Lifestrong recommends you heat them until they’re dry and no more. Will the stove magically make stale beans taste great? Nope, but they’ll at least be a little less bitter. Photo by Victor Martinez.

Repurpose Stale Foods Into Other Things

Perhaps the microwave and oven can’t save any of those breads and other snacks. In that case, it’s time to start repurposing them. Thankfully, breads are incredibly easy to repurpose into a variety of different things. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started.

  • Stale bread into croutons: Croutons are easy to make, and they’re great for those last pieces of stale bread in your loaf. Chow recommends you heat the oven up to 190C, cut the bread into cubes, drip some olive oil on the bread, and cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are great for all types of meals, and making them from your stale bread is easy. According to Wisebread just cook the bread at about 65C for a few minutes, then throw it into a blender or food processor.
  • Stale bread or rice into puddings: Bread Pudding is supposed to have stale bread in it, and it’s not terribly difficult to make. The best part is that you’ll turn that boring old bread into a tasty dessert.
  • Fry it up: Frying up stale foods can often get rid the stale taste. French toast is a simple option for breads, as is grilled cheese. Frying up any stale foods will give it a little more life.

Essentially, if you have any bread-type product — a loaf of bread, tortillas, pita, cereal – you can bring it back to life by either frying it up, using it as a stuffing, or dumping it in a soup of some kind. The best part is you don’t really need to do much work. When you stock up on these foods, you can always find some use for them provided they haven’t gone mouldy yet. Photo by iris.


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