Thursday, August 23, 2012
Waste Not. Want Not. Home Made Bread Crumbs
After reading an article about how much food Americans waste; I was appalled, ashamed and convicted. There are so many starving people in the world yet we throw away more food than any other nation in the world. That's a little sickening. I am guilty of waste. I am also the type who can stand in front of an over-flowing fridge or pantry and whine about having nothing to eat. That's the real tragedy. I have no idea what it's like to be really hungry. I sincerely hope I never do.
Here's the article I read, in case you're interested in seeing just how much food we are actually wasting. Americans Toss Out Food.
I posted the article publicly. Many people responded. Some folks are so creative and find clever ways to use left overs. They don't let anything go to waste. I applaud you. I really do. Others admitted that they throw so much food away, despite their good intentions. I am always full of good intentions myself, but I often buy too much and if I don't cook it immediately or toss into the freezer; I have no choice but to toss it.
What I decided to do is address this whole issue with a series of tips for shopping and ideas on how to put our left-over scraps of food to good use so we don't waste as much. One of the biggest complaints I heard was about bread. Unless you're buying those heavily processed, preservative laden, cellophane wrapped loaves (and I sincerely hope you're not), bread becomes stale and inedible so quickly. Here's a tip: the longer your bread remains fresh; the more crap that has been added to it. Do you really want to be ingesting all those chemicals and preservatives? A real loaf of good, healthy bread will become as hard as rock in about a day or two. Most people shy away from that sort of bread because they end up throwing most it away. You don't have to do that. There is never an excuse to toss it. The possibilities of putting that stale bread to good use are endless.
Here's the easiest thing to do with your day old bread: transform it into seasoned breadcrumbs. This is frugality at its best. These breadcrumbs are also better for you and so much tastier than anything you can buy in those canisters at the grocery store. Read the labels. They contain preservatives. How else do you think they can remain in your pantry for months?
Here's how to make your own homemade breadcrumbs:
1 lb. day old bread
2 tablespoons dried oregano or thyme
2 tablespoons dried basil or parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat your oven to 300° F (150° C).
Cut the day old bread into cubes, and process the cubes in a food processor to make coarse crumbs.
Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet – use two baking sheets if necessary – and dry the coarse crumbs in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time. Allow the crumbs to cool completely.
Return the dried crumbs to the food processor, add the seasonings, and pulse until the crumbs are finely processed and well-mixed with the seasoning.
Be certain the seasoned bread crumbs are dry and cool before storing in an airtight container.
This is so easy!!