Many kids hate crust and some adults too. Whether it's the end of the bread or sandwich crust, both are a common source of food waste that is avoidable and usable!
Here are some tips on how to start using your crusts and stop wasting them.
How Much Crust Do You Waste?
In a standard loaf of bread, we get 17 slices, plus 2 crust ends.
My partner and the kids really don't like to eat the ends and that adds up to 72 grams from every single loaf.
If we bought a loaf of bread each week, and didn't eat the ends, we would be tossing out more than 3.7 kilos of bread every year! (72grams x52 weeks)
Now if you start to add up crusts on sandwiches that go uneaten, the figures get even bigger.
An average slice of bread is around 42grams and the crust is roughly 18grams, which is a significant portion.
Lets do the sums: 18 grams per slice of bread x 17 slices = 306grams from each loaf wasted through crust. Over a year, that is almost 16kgs of bread.
So for a family that discards crust and bread ends, that is roughly 20 kilos of bread thrown out a year.
If a loaf costs $4 and weighs 700 or 800 grams, you can start to see that the costs over a year on bread is about $208, no big deal
....until you realise.....
You are throwing out the equivalent of more than 25 loaves a year!
That's $100 AND we aren't even factoring in stale or mouldy bread and uneaten sandwiches.
Depending on your household, you might not be throwing any out at all, or you may be throwing out a whole lot more than this. The food and money waste adds up, and the resources that went into making each loaf, transport and packaging is further wastage that we don't even see.
Instructions To Calculate Your own Bread Wastage:
You don't have to do this, but if you're curious and want to work out your waste or costs, then here it is.
1. First add up the total slices, but not the ends. (E:g 17)
2. Now, cut the crust off one slice, weigh it and multiple by the number of slices in your loaf (this gives you the total crust per loaf)
3. Weight the bread ends if you don't use these and add to the figure you got in the previous step. This will be the potential amount of wasted bread in grams per loaf.
4. Take that number and multiply by how many times you buy a loaf over the year to find your annual waste. (Divide by 1000 to obtain kilos).
You can then go ahead and calculate how much this is costing you based on the average cost and size of your loaf.
>On your calculator do the $amount per loaf divided by the grams
(to obtain your cost per gram)
>Now, multiply that number by the amount of grams wasted per week or year.
I based mine on a very cheap loaf, but some of the bread we purchase costs $6 a loaf. This doesn't sound like much, but over a year it really does add up.
How To Use Bread Crusts and Stop The Waste
There are so many ways to use ends and crust, starting with trying to force your family eat it. (not always successful)
I use the ends for sandwiches or toast and treat it like any other slice. The kids will eat it providing they don't notice and depending on whatever that magical factor is that determines what a child will eat or not eat on any given day.
Here are some things that WILL work...
>Turn Crust into Dippers
This has been the simplest hack in our house. we eat soup and dip often so when preparing sandwiches, I remove the crust first and just leave it on the bench for the day to become stale. After school, this is a quick snack to eat with dip, or I butter it to dip into soup. My daughter loves it.
If you want some instructions with a little more detail, check out this recipe for Parmesan Thyme Bread Crusts
Stale crust can also be cut into croutons to top salads and soups and if you're feeling inclined, you can coat with a little oil and herbs and bake for around 10 minutes in the oven. This works with ends of the bread and any pieces that may have gone stale.
>Make Bread Crumbs
If you're buying breadcrumbs but throwing out your bread, that's crazy! Stale bread and crust can be blitzed in a food processor to create your own bread crumbs. Just store in a glass jar, and add your favourite herbs and spices.
It can then be used as coatings on fried and baked foods or included in hamburger patties and other recipes requiring breadcrumbs.
You can use crusts or stale bread for this and make a yummy weekend breakfast with all the leftover crusts you've saved. Dipping them into an egg and milk mixture along with cinnamon and vanilla and fry in butter or oil. Cut into cubes for bite sized fun.
Bread & Butter Pudding
My Great Grandma used to make the best bread and butter pudding in the world using crusts and stale bread. I wish I had her recipe! If you can't get hold of a family recipe, here's one that was written especially with crusts in mind.
Add it to Your Meals
Lots of recipes call for bread crumbs or stale bread and you are not limited to sweets and snacks. Check out this recipe for Farfalle with Cauliflower and toasted bread crumbs.
Freeze it For later
I'm a huge fan of sourdough and rye bread which comes in a shape that doesn't yield equal sized slices. If the ends aren't going to be eaten as they are too small for sandwiches, collect them in one bag or container and store in the freezer, just adding to it over time. This is great for making toast for soup in a mug (perfect for dipping) and often we use these bits for making home made garlic bread.
Don't feed it to the ducks
I remember as a child, my grandma would save up old bread and we would go visit the duck pond to feed it to the ducks. Bread is actually not a great food for birds at all. It might be okay to tip your crumbs into the garden for the sparrows to nibble on, but large quantities can lead to health problems for our feathered friends.
These are just several ways you can begin using your leftover crusts and ends to avoid wasting food in your kitchen.
Have you got your own tips to share?
If you do go to the effort of calculating your wastage and cost, I'd love to know!
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