As much as most of us love a good loaf of bread, it is one of the common kitchen ingredients that doesn't get entirely used up before getting stale - and thus one of the items most prone to waste. Here at Fresh City, making the most of our ingredients and minimizing food waste is always top of mind so we thought we'd share two easy recipes to use up stale bread and turn it into something delicious.
But first, here are some of our best tips to avoid wasting bread:
- Buying bread pre-sliced is a great time-saving option if you have set plans for the entire loaf. If you don't, buying it whole will ensure it lasts longer.
- Leave your bread wrapped when not in use to prevent contact with air and slow the drying-out process.
- Cut slices of bread from the centre of your loaf and then store with the two halves together to protect the cut ends from air and make the whole loaf last longer. This tip was shared by Kim McCallum, the founder of lot8, who makes beautifully crafted bread bags and baskets you can find in our stores!
- Freeze, freeze, freeze! When it comes to bread, the freezer is truly your best bet to prolong the life of bread. Slicing your bread right before freezing it makes it easier to consume only what you need that day. For best results, make sure the bread is well-covered in an air-tight resealable bag. Bread should then be used within 6 months of freezing.
Now for today's recipes. First up are these herbed croutons! Incredibly easy to make, these are tasty in all kinds of soups, salads, or as a snack on their own. These were made using Mabel's Raven Organic Rye.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (or cilantro)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of salt
2 slices of stale bread (about 1/2 inch thick), cut into 1-3/4 inch cubes
In large bowl, combine olive oil, parsley, garlic powder and salt. Add in bread and toss until well-coated.
Tip the bread onto a greased, rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400°F until golden and crunchy, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Now, on to a main with this easy Bread and Bean Soup. This recipe is easy to customize depending on what you happen to have on hand. You can add in diced carrots or leeks along with the celery, use pretty much any beans (or lentils) or substitute the chard for kale or spinach leaves.
Bread and Bean Soup (serves 2)
1 tbsp olive oil + more to garnish
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 can (398 mL) of butter beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp paprika
Generous pinch each of salt and pepper
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups of finely shredded chard leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded goat cheddar
2 slices stale bread of your choice, halved if desired
In Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil. Cook celery and garlic, stirring often, until celery starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in beans, paprika, salt and peper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
Add in vegetable stock. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add in chard and stir until chard is just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice.
Divide soup mixture between two bowls, sprinkle each with half of the cheese and half of the bread. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.