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Food Waste Tips

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

What to do With Leftover Bread

what to do with leftover bread

Wondering what to do with leftover bread? I have seven tips to help you reduce your food waste.

Food waste is a huge issue. Food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. In fact, about one-third of greenhouse emissions globally come from agriculture.

Despite this, both at the household level and at the manufacturing level, we are very wasteful when it comes to food. 30% of the food we produce is wasted – about 1.8 billion tonnes of it a year. So much so, that it has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

When it comes to bread, in the UK we waste a staggering 800,000 tonnes of bread and other baked goods a year. And of this, a shocking 680,000 tonnes is avoidable.  So to help combat this waste I’ve put together seven 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!

Revive Stale or Hard Bread

Has a day-old crusty loaf gone stale or rock hard?  It sounds wild, but if you briefly hold the leftover bread 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. Simply wrap them in a damp piece of kitchen roll and microwave them for 10 seconds to pop the freshness back.

Get Creative With Your Leftover Bread Waste

Don’t throw out the ends of your bread – make breadcrumbs out of your leftover bread.  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 pieces, 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.

Try Recipes for Leftover Bread

 Leftover bread is also fantastic in bread and butter pudding. My personal favourite is whisky and marmalade bread and butter pudding – so tasty!

Other Top Tips to Reduce Bread Waste

It’s handy knowing some useful tips on what to do with your old bread, but one of the most impactful ways to make change is to change your habits so you have less bread leftover.

Here are my top tips to help you shop smarter:

Use Your Freezer

You can freeze bread – preferably on the day you buy it, however, you can freeze it up to its best before date. 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?”.

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.

Don’t Store Bread In the Fridge

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.

Shop Smarter

Finally, if you find yourself rarely finishing a standard-sized loaf of bread then change your shopping habits. Instead, buy a half-loaf, which will save you money at the same time.

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

blackberries
blackberries

While we’re still in blackberry season, I thought I’d share with you a great tip to help make berries last longer in the fridge.  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 leftover from making delicious jam!

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

how-to-make-berries-last-longer

How to Make Berries Last Longer

To make berries last longer, 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.  Alternatively, fill a bowl with one part vinegar to three parts water and give your berries a short soak for a minute.

Next drain the berries, and pop them in a salad spinner lined with kitchen roll. Gently spin until the berries are completely dry. Then decant the berries into an airtight container lined with kitchen roll, and place in the fridge.

If you don’t have a salad spinner then gently pat the fruit dry with a clean (dark coloured!) tea towel. Then place them in the fridge in a sealed tub lined with a folded piece of kitchen roll to help absorb any water.

wash berries with vinegar

This method works because 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.  Meanwhile, completely drying the fruit also extends their life as well. This is because excess moisture speeds up the fruit’s decay, so keeping them dry slows down the rotting process.

Worried that your berries are going to taste of vinegar? Simply wash them immediately prior to eating, and you or your dining companions will be none the wiser!

Does It Work Though?

My verdict is yes, washing berries in vinegar and then drying them helps to make them last longer.  Berries that I have picked in the past generally have started to go off after 24 hours. However, using the vinegar and drying technique, I was able to stretch my batch to five days. It was at this point that I lost my nerve, and ate them! They perhaps could have lasted longer, however, I didn’t want to risk them rotting and wasting perfectly good berries!  Apparently, UK households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food a year, so anything we can do to reduce this is to be encouraged.

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

ps: I’ve got more handy food waste tips this way!