Reviving food

We’ve all been there – an accidental slip of attention in the kitchen leading to burnt or overcooked foods, a misjudgement in seasoning and the dish is now too salty, finding that wilted vegetable in the back of the fridge or opened packets of chips and crackers that have now become stale.

In this blog we’ll explore inventive ways to revive wilted produce and stale foods and transform seemingly ruined dishes into creative culinary delights.


Overcooked vegetables often end up mushy and lacking in flavour. One idea is to transform it into a hearty soup by simply blending the mushy veggies with some broth, seasonings, and herbs. Or try turning them into a savoury puree to serve with your main meal, like a baked chicken with carrot puree. You can also turn overcooked vegetables into a sauce or dressing by blending with dairy or coconut cream and stir through pasta or a salad.

You can also blend the vegetables with some chickpeas, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice to make a veggie hummus by making a variation of this Pumpkin Hummus.


Whether it’s a burnt pot of stew, beans or chilli mince mix, jams and chutneys, there are a few different things you can try to help salvage it.

First, remove the burnt pot of food from the heat, and without scraping the burnt area scoop out the mixture into a new pot, cover with a damp cloth for 10 minutes this will remove most of the burnt flavour. You can draw out more of the burnt flavour or bitterness by adding sugar or honey, or an acidic ingredient such as lemon or lime juice or vinegar, read more about these methods here.

The next step is to clean the stuck on burnt bits in the pot. Give it a wash in warm water and scrub off any bits that easily come off, then you can either soak in hot soapy water or sprinkle baking soda over the burnt areas and a small amount of hot water to make a paste. Leave to soak for a couple hours or overnight depending on how burnt on it is, and scrub, this may take multiple rounds.


There are a few ways to neutralise salt in dishes like soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles. Try adding:

  • An acid ingredient, such as citrus juices, vinegars, and tomato paste.
  • Something creamy, like dairy cream, coconut cream, oat milk, sour cream, ricotta cheese.
  • A bit of sugar, maple syrup, or honey helps to counteract some of the saltiness.
  • Raw potatoes, these will soak up some of the water and the excess salt in it.
  • Or diluting the mixture with unsalted broth, water, or tinned tomatoes.

Any of these additions will suit certain dishes more than others so keep in mind what flavours you are wanting for the dish and choose the extra ingredient based on that. For extra tips on what to do if you oversalt your food, read more here.


A quick soak in icy water for about 10 minutes is often enough to revive wilted vegetables, but some will take longer.

As a guide these vegetables can be reinvigorated using the quick soak method: lettuces, leafy greens, cabbage, beetroot, limp celery, asparagus, and carrots. If the vegetable is quite dry and floppy it may need to be chopped before soaking in the icy water so the water can be absorbed through the areas where it has been cut. For celery and asparagus, place in a jar of water cut side down, like a cut flower. If you’ve got space in your fridge place the bowl or jar of water with the veggies in the fridge as this helps them get crisper. For a recipe inspiration to use up salad greens, try out this Green Dip and for guidance on how to keep them staying fresh for longer visit our blog here.

If your food has gotten mouldy, check out this blog for tips and get the answers to the question “Is it safe to eat mouldy food?”.


Stale chips and crackers may lose their crunch, but you can easily revive them. Place them in a preheated oven at about 160C for a few minutes to restore their crispiness, just keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. Alternatively, consider turning them into breadcrumbs for coating, binding, or topping. Used as a topping, crushed stale chips and crackers can also add a delightful crunch on casseroles and cheesy pasta bakes.

If you’ve got stale cereals you can try turning them into these No Bake Chocolate Fudge Slice, and cornflakes make delicious and extra crispy breading for fried chicken or baked chicken strips.

Looking for ways to revive bread or recipe ideas to give it a makeover? Check out our blog here.

Whether your food is overcooked, burnt, salty, wilted, or stale, with a touch of creativity and some resourceful thinking, you can often salvage these kitchen mishaps and turn them into delicious triumphs. If you’ve got a tip for reviving food we’d love to hear them, tell us about it by sharing your tip!