Domestic food waste in the UK is something we should all be ashamed of, there’s no sugar coating that. Yes, supermarkets are in part to blame for their offers that strengthen their profit margins but bamboozle us into buying more than we need, but we can’t shirk all responsibility onto the people that sell us stuff. The fact is, we’re throwing away food at an alarming rate and we need to do better.
You all know me, I’m not here to judge, I’m here to suggest and hopefully enable change. Ever since my interview with a lovely Mashable journalist earlier this year, I’ve been thinking about how I can bring the issue of food waste into this blog, because it’s a real passion of mine. So, please welcome aboard this new series. I’m going to tackle one little bit of food waste at a time and tell you how I manage it in my kitchen, alongside handy tips I dig up while researching. I hope it’s useful, and if you’ve got questions or suggestions please hit me up on any and/or all of the usual forums (links can be found at the bottom of this post, if you’re new).
Bread is one of the biggest victims of food waste. In fact, in an analysis carried out by Tesco, it was uncovered that up to 44% of bread produced in the UK is wasted. That’s almost half. It’s not cool.
Bread waste is something I’ve seen many people attempt to tackle with recipes for using up the stale stuff and while I’m hoping that’s helpful for some people, I’m not convinced that’s going to solve the problem. So many of us are time poor, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to chuck on-the-turn bread in the bin than it is to repurpose it into bread and butter pudding. Therefore, I have two main suggestions that will be super easy for you to adopt and require almost no extra effort.
Ditch supermarket loaves
Sliced, hovis-style loaves of bread are cheap because they’re shit, and I think their cheapness and their shitness are both big contributing factors to how much bread is wasted. It’s only recently that I made the switch from supermarket sliced to real bakery bread, but I haven’t even thought about looking back.
It really feels like supermarket bread starts to go mouldy about thirty seconds after you first open it. If you’re just a one or two person household, it’s impossible to keep up with how quickly the elements attack it, and you end up with no choice but to bin it. However, if you pop down to your local bakery, you’re likely to be able to find a loaf small enough to stay fresh for the amount of time it’ll take you to use up the whole thing. Aside from a more appropriate size, it is going to taste so much better, and this may sound a little overboard but you’re gonna have more respect for it as a food product. I promise, it’s worth the few extra pennies and the potential detour on the way home from the supermarket.
If you’re a Brightonian, I highly recommend checking out The Real Patisserie (they’ve got a few locations across the city). They’re who I turn to for all my baked good needs and their bread is divine.
Store your bread in the freezer
This one is a little bit controversial for some people, but all I can ask is that you try it once. Don’t like it? Fair play, you never need to try it again. Find that it works for you? Perfect, you’ve just eradicated any chance of bread ever being wasted in your house ever again.
I’ve been freezing my bread since forever because it’s what my Mum did. Here’s the deal:
- Buy a decent loaf of bread
- Slice it (if it hasn’t already been sliced)
- Put in a large freezer sandwich bag and secure with a clippy thing
- Use one slice at a time
The clippy thing ensures that freezing your bread has no effect on taste. If you’re after toast for breakfast in a rush, give it a couple of goes on the defrost setting and it’ll come out just like fresh bread that’s been toasted. If you’re making a sandwich, just take a couple slices out a few hours ahead of time (or the night before) and you’ll be good to go once they’ve defrosted. It won’t be exactly the same as that first day freshness, but it’ll be better than anything you’d get on a meal deal and just think of the money you’ll save by actually getting to eat the entire loaf of bread you buy every. single. time. Just give it a go, it’s worth a shot, right?
If you’ve got excellent bread waste hacks that you want to share with me and the rest of the world, do not keep them to yourself! Leave them in the comments or on social..