5 ways to save a ruined meal

Something that causes a lot of food waste in the home is when we cook a meal and ‘ruin’ it – often by adding too much of an ingredient or burning it. Don’t panic though: here are five easy ways to rescue your meal, and save it from the bin. Don’t go calling for that takeaway just yet!

How to correct too much salt

We’ve all adding too much salt whilst cooking a meal at some point in our lives, and if it’s too salty it’s just not edible. So, how do you correct it? If it’s a soup or a stew, you have a few options:

  • Add extra water, to dilute the salty liquid
  • Add more of each ingredient (except the salt)
  • Add a potato to the pot, peeled and cut into large chunks, to absorb the excess salt, and then remove the potato once you are happy with how the liquid tastes
  • Add a puree made of unsalted cooked white rice and water to your pot

If it is a sauce you have over-salted, you could try adding:

  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar or an alternative sweetener

If you are adding extra ingredients in order to combat the saltiness, remember to keep tasting your liquid, and stop when you are happy with the flavour.

How to correct too much spice

Everyone has a limit with spice, and if you’ve made a meal that exceeds your limit, you might be tempted to bin it. Don’t! Depending on the meal, you can counteract the spice using these ingredients:

  • Yoghurt, milk, sour cream, or coconut milk (these can really help to calm the heat of a curry)
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Chopped potato (which absorbs spice like it does salt)
  • Nut butter (peanut or other)

If you don’t want to add any extra ingredients, try the dilution method with extra liquid.

How to fix soggy vegetables

You can’t technically ‘fix’ vegetables once they have been overcooked, as you can’t uncook them, however you can stop the cooking process instantly by dunking them in ice cold water, and you can also create a different dish out of the vegetables by either mashing them (depending on what veg you are cooking) or popping them in the oven to crisp up, drizzled in oil. There’s no need to eat a soggy brussels sprout ever again – or throw them away.

How to get rid of a burnt taste

If your food has caught and burnt on the bottom of the pan, fear not: it is easily rectified. Don’t stir it, and then transfer the meal into another pan, taking care not to transfer the food which is stuck to the bottom of the original pan – leave that where it is. Next, peel a potato and add that to the new pan, then gently reheat your food on a low setting. After around 15 minutes, the burnt taste should be gone and you can remove the spud.

How to save a steak that’s burnt outside but raw inside

Remove your steak from the BBQ, grill or pan and wrap it in foil. Heat your oven to 150c and pop your steak in until it’s cooked in the middle to your liking.

Bookmark this page and you’ll have it on hand next time something goes wrong when you’re cooking. Let’s cut food waste together.