It is Friday – Food Waste Friday – and this week, as well as reporting in on my food waste over the last two weeks, I want to focus on bread.
It’s been an exciting time around here over the last week or so. My husband’s Mum came to stay with us and we celebrated my son’s third birthday with a party for his friends and their families. Food was of course a feature of the celebration. As a host the last thing that I want to happen is to run short of food – so I always tend to over-cater.
Knowing that I would be reporting in to you all definitely had an influence on how I prepared for the party. I thought to myself “What will I do with any leftovers of this?” as I put together the menu, and when, the evening before the party, a friend advised that their family couldn’t attend due to illness I scraped one item off the menu entirely.
Needless to say getting rid cake is never a problem in my family! The only thing that I got wrong was majorly over estimating how much popcorn a group of little kids can eat. Unfortunately, by the end of the party it was already going stale and I couldn’t see a way back. So there was 2 to 3 cups of popcorn that went to waste.
I neglected the fruit bowl this week and resulting in three oranges going to waste.
The worst thing since sliced bread
Here in New Zealand bread is our most wasted food item – collectively we throw away 20 million loaves a year, an average of a whopping 4.4 loaves per person.
Bread waste is one area that I feel our household has well under control – well if you don’t count a wee boy who isn’t always keen on his crusts! So I thought I’d share how we do it.
We buy mostly pre-sliced loaves from the supermarket, with a packet of bread rolls every week or two. We also regularly buy pizza bases and pita bread. If we purchase a nice loaf of artisan bread from the bakery it’s usually for a specific purpose. All the pita bread, pizza bases and everyday bread is stashed in the freezer, except for the loaf we are currently eating. On an average week, we have no problem eating the bread before it goes stale. No one is particularly keen on the ends of the bread – I use them for French toast occasionally, and will have them for toast if there is nothing else, but generally they just go into the freezer.
The freezer is our key to keeping bread waste low. The ends of the bread and any leftover rolls or other bread goes into the freezer. I save it all up – sometimes I think it multiplies in there – and make a big batch of breadcrumbs in the food processor. I put the breadcrumbs into a large ziplock bag and then back into the freezer they go.
It’s all good and well turning your excess bread into breadcrumbs, but you’ve then got to use them up. I find a nice crunchy topping enhances many a quickly thrown together pasta bake or casserole. However, mac and cheese alone is not going to use up all of my bread ends. You need a couple of “breadcrumb sinks” – go-to recipes that use a good cup or more of breadcrumbs.
I’ve got an old faithful Red Lentil Loaf recipe that is my go-to, but I am pleased to report I’ve found another. Tonight for dinner I tried a new recipe for Tomato and Cashew Nut Strudel. It was easy to make and tasted delicious – plus it uses 2 1/2cups of breadcrumbs!
Check out the Love Food Hate Waste website for more tips on making the most of your bread, including more recipes.
What do you do to #UseYourLoaf? Do you have a great recipe to share that uses up leftover bread?