Recently, I’ve been concerned about the amount of food that I waste. I grew up in a household where making use of everything was practically a sport. Though certain foods, like produce, meat, or dairy, are dangerous to consume when spoiled, that isn’t always the case. Some foods just get stale and aren’t as appetizing, but aren’t actually harmful to eat. Is there a way to revive that kind of food? Yes! Here are several ways that you can revive or repurpose stale food.
Revive the food
Use the oven
There are several foods that can be revived just by baking them for a short amount of time. Set your oven to 350F and spread the food on a baking sheet. Bake it for 3-5 minutes. This trick works best with stale cereal, popcorn, crackers, or chips. If you want to try it with bread, bake it longer, for about 12 minutes. You can also try wrapping the bread in foil, which will speed up the process and only requires about 5 minutes to bake. Make sure to check your food frequently, however you choose to bake it.
Use the microwave
If you need the food faster, try the microwave. For bread, wrap it in a damp paper towel and nuke it for 15 seconds. If you want to try this with chips, microwave them on a glass plate for about a minute. Got a bag of stale marshmallows? Put them in the microwave with a cup of water on the side and nuke ’em for 10 seconds.
The same trick your mom used to keep brown sugar soft will work for marshmallows and cookies – put a slice or two of fresh bread in the sealed bag with the stale food for a couple of days. If it’s your bread that has gone stale, try putting a celery stalk in the bread bag.
Repurpose the food
I’ve got a bag of marshmallows in my cupboard right now that have gone stale. It’s pretty common if you aren’t in the habit of regularly using them. If you want to repurpose them, you can just use them as they are. Try putting them in hot chocolate. Also, some people swear you can use stale marshmallows in rice krispy treats, but I’ve had mixed results with that solution.
If your bread has turned into a rock, you can still use it in a bread pudding recipe. Or repurpose it for croutons. If you ever need bread crumbs for a recipe, stale bread is a great choice. Just grind the bread in a food processor. If your bread isn’t too tough, it will also make a great base for French toast. I know some people who leave their bread out overnight for this exact purpose!
Don’t throw out that stale cereal! Depending on the exact ingredients, you can use it in a granola or cereal bar recipe. If your cereal isn’t too sugary, you could use it as breading for chicken. Cereal is also great to craft with, especially for kids. Just imagine old Fruit Loops as petals on a picture of a flower! A cute idea and it helps teach kids to use what they have on hand to fuel their imaginations!
Have you got other ways that you like to repurpose stale food that I haven’t mentioned here? I’m always grateful to get suggestions on ways to minimize waste!