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How to Bring Food Back From the Dead

February 27, 2014

Danielle Walsh

It’s a small tragedy, that forgotten bunch of once-vibrant parsley. Now it’s wilting and limp, tucked behind the milk in the back of the fridge. Or that loaf of fresh bread you were so proud to pick up from your local bakery—but you didn’t consume it quickly enough before it got rock-hard. Small food deaths occur all the time. Sometimes, however, there are things you can do to resurrect them, giving them one more shot at a delicious life. We chatted with senior food editor Dawn Perry about the foods you can bring back from the dead, and how to perform this wizardry in your own kitchen.

SEE MORE: 22 Recipes Everyone Should Know How to Cook

Greens Gone Weak 
Wilted lettuces, sad herbs, and even wobbly celery can be brought back to life with a quick dip in a cold pool. Fill a large bowl with ice water and drop the produce in. Let sit 5 minutes or so. Drain, dry, and spin dry if appropriate.

Rice That Ain’t Nice
Dry, hard, refrigerator rice just needs a re-steam. Add a splash of water to a pot, add rice, and cook, covered, until hot and steaming. Works in a microwave too, just add a little water, cover, and microwave until tender and heated through.

SEE MORE: The 15 Most Common Counterfeit Foods—and How to Identify Them

Vinaigrette of Regret
Vinaigrette you forgot in the fridge door just needs a bright pick-me-up. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice or add an extra tablespoon or so of the acid already in there, plus a pinch of salt to revive it.

Bread That’s Dead
Sure, you could make toast or breadcrumbs from stale bread—but if you need it to be pliable, just wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 20 seconds. But after that, ACT QUICKLY! It will get harder and drier than when you started.

Salad of Doom
Day-old salad lives again: Toss soggy, dressed greens with fresh crunchy lettuce and veg for salad with a second life.

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How We Ate When the Beatles Were on Ed Sullivan
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