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Food Waste Tips

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

What to do With Leftover Bread?

what to do with old bread

In the UK we waste a staggering 800,000 tonnes of bread and other baked goods a year, of which a shocking 680,000 tonnes is avoidable.  So to help combat this waste I’ve put together eight handy tips on what to do with leftover bread:

what to do with leftover bread

What to do with leftover bread

* Ignore the best before date – I always ignore best before dates as they refer to food quality rather than safety (which use by dates refer to).  If the bread looks ok, with no mould on it, and smells ok then the chances are it’s fine to eat.  Do check for mould carefully though.  Some bread mould can be white and it can be hard to distinguish between flour and mould, so if in doubt don’t eat it!

*  Has a day-old crusty loaf gone stale or rock hard?  You may think I’m crazy to suggest this, but if you briefly hold it under a cold tap, give it a shake to remove excess water, and then pop it in a hot oven for around 10 minutes then this will make it lovely and soft again.  It’s true, the excellent Love Food Hate Waste told me so!

*  Individual rolls, hot dog buns, croissants, bagels or any similar bread based snack can also be given similar treatment – just wrap them in a damp piece of kitchen roll and microwave them for 10 seconds to pop the freshness back.

*  Don’t throw out the ends of your bread – make breadcrumbs out of them.  The most energy-efficient way to make bread crumbs is to store your ends of bread in a tub or bag in the freezer until you have enough to fill your food processor with.  Then tear into small peices, place in your food processor and pulse until you reach your desired coarseness. Then spread the crumbs to a 0.5cm thickness onto a baking tray and place into a low oven (150C/gas 2) for 20-30 minutes, stirring the crumbs gently halfway through cooking, until lightly golden-brown and dry. These will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container, or for 3 months in the freezer.

*  Leftover bread is also fantastic in bread and butter pudding (my personal favourite is whisky and marmalade bread and butter pudding – so tasty!)

*  If you have leftover cake (this never happens in my house!) then cake can also be frozen, either in slices or whole.  Bon Appetit has some great advice for freezing cake.

*  Bread lasts longer stored in a cool dark and dry place, such as a bread bin or cupboard.  Avoid the fridge – apparently storing bread in the fridge draws moisture out of the fridge, causing it to go stale six times faster than if you’d stored it in a cupboard or bread bin.

*  Finally, if you find yourself rarely finishing a standard sized loaf of bread then change your shopping habits and buy a half-loaf instead (saving you money at the same time).  Alternatively, freeze half of the loaf on the day you buy it – slices can be toasted from frozen or defrosted and used as normal, with no perceptible differences in taste or texture.  Bread lasts for about 6 months in the freezer, and it will save you asking the question “what to do with leftover bread?”.

Have I missed any tips on what to with leftover bread?  Do share in the comments below!

Also check out my other food waste tips for eggs, milkberries and bananas.

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

Make Berries Last Longer With One Simple Ingredient

make berries last longer

make berries last longer

While we’re still in blackberry season, I thought I’d share with you a great tip to help extend make berries last longer in the fridge before going off.  Not just blackberries, but raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and any other berry you can care to think of.  This is especially great if you’ve picked more blackberries than you can eat or have some left over from making delicious jam!

The secret to make berries last longer is quite surprising – vinegar!  I love using vinegar as a great chemical free cleaner, but who would have guessed that using vinegar can help your berries to last longer in the fridge?

how-to-make-berries-last-longer

How to Make Berries Last Longer

According to Cooks Illustrated all you have to do is rinse your berries in a solution of one part vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar works best) to three parts water.  Then dry the berries in a salad spinner lined with kitchen roll until completely dry, and store in a kitchen roll lined airtight container to help make berries last longer.

I don’t own a salad spinner and I’m not about to go out and buy one to add more plastic to my kitchen, so instead I filled a bowl with one part vinegar to three parts water and gave my berries a short soak for a minute.  Then I drained and rinsed my berries, and gently patted them dry with a clean (dark coloured!) tea towel, before placing them in the fridge in a tub on top of a folded piece of kitchen roll to help absorb any water.

wash berries with vinegar

 

Ready to go in the fridge!

Cooks Illustrated say that the vinegar wash acts as an antiseptic agent – helping to remove any spores or bacteria on the surface of the fruit that can cause mould.  I think the act of completely drying the fruit may also play a factor in extending their life as well, as I’ve found that washing berries without then drying them before storing them always speeds up the rotting process.

My verdict is yes, it indeed helps to make berries last longer.  The berries that I have picked in the past started to go off after 24 hours, but using the vinegar and drying technique I stretched this batch into lasting two days.  It could have been more but I didn’t want to risk them rotting and wasting perfectly good berries so we ate them!  And to dispel any worries: no your fruit doesn’t taste of vinegar!

Will you be trying this?  Let me know how you get on!

update: my berries lasted a whole week!