How to use up bread crusts & prevent food waste
Food waste is something we should all avoid if we can – it’s expensive and it’s bad for the environment. I try my best to write menus and only buy what we need, but we do seem to have a weird weak spot in our household, namely bread crusts. We’ve come up with a slightly unusual way to sort the problem out, but I’ll tell you about that in a minute.
It’s not that these sliced loaves hang around going stale or mouldy because we nearly always freeze our bread as we buy it. However, we mostly use the bread for sandwiches and somehow the crusts always get left behind to clutter up the freezer and not do much else apart from getting in the way. We were running out of space in the middle drawer so I went to sort it out and I think there were seven bread bags in there, each one with a couple of ice cold crusty slices left behind in them.
Although they weren’t going off they were still going to waste so it was time to have a tidy up. There was nothing wrong with them, they’d just been overlooked. There were plenty of options:
- Toast and jam – a perfectly respectable option, especially if you have nice jam…
- Very chewy sandwiches (not so nice)
- Dunked into soup (scuzzy but good on a rainy day)
- Cut up and turned into herby/garlic croutons
- Put in the food processor to make breadcrumbs
- Shredded and added to soups and sauces
- and so on…
Eventually we tried something a bit counter-intuitive and it turned out to be unexpectedly good, so I thought I’d share it on here as another way to use up those leftover slices from the end of a loaf. It was the last thing I guessed would work, but it did.
We made toasted sandwiches with them in an old style toastie maker, the kind that seals the edges together firmly all around the bread, such as a classic Breville – but we turned the bread inside out so the crust was on the inside right next to the filling. It works best with melty fillings such as cheddar cheese and somehow the fat or the steam softens the harder surface of the bread crust, giving it the same texture as any other toastie. It wouldn’t work in a panini press, I think you need the edges to be clamped down together.
You couldn’t tell it was made with crusts at all. Previously I’d made them with the crust on the outside and ended up with an unholy hard-to-chew mess but I’m glad to say that after trying this weird little trick I’ll happily start using up old crusts again.
Less eco-warrior, more toast-worrier. Still good though.
Have you ever tried an inside-out-crust toasted sandwich? Do you have any favourite tips for using up old bread crusts, or old bread in general?