It’s cucumber sandwiches all round – but what to do with the crusts?
Dainty morsels for summer occasions, Royal or otherwise; what's not to like about the Great British cucumber sandwich, especially when washed down with a glass or three of Pimm's? Well, they do have just one potential downside: food waste, if those crusts end up in the bin!
Did you know that the average Joe or Josephine Bloggs throws out more than half a loaf of bread each month? We've all done it... wrapped up those last few slices, absent-mindedly tucked them in the bread bin only to discover them decidedly desiccated and – ew – greenish a few days later.
So how can we get the most from our daily bread? Use up those cucumber sandwich crusts? Avoid a sad and mouldy end to a glorious loaf? Here are our dos and don'ts...
DO freeze leftover sliced bread for toasting
"Make Toast Not Waste" is the call from the canny folk at Love Food Hate Waste and they've come up with a whole pile of wonderful ways to use up the last of your loaf for toast.
The key is not to put leftover bread in the bread bin, where it will quickly go stale and unpleasant; instead freeze sliced bread, then simply pull off a couple of slices and toast from frozen next time you fancy a snack or need a quick breakfast.
DON'T throw away crusts and other oddments of stale bread
Concrete hard nubs of baguette, crusts cut off posh sandwiches, a couple of rolls left after dinner... keep a bag in the freezer and chuck in any leftover bread bits that come your way as perfect fodder for whizzing up handy batches of breadcrumbs, frying a load of cheesy, garlicky croutons or making this classic British pud.
DO try this sweet trick for using up cheese
A fabulous French trick for using up the last of a cheeseboard as well as slightly stale bread: chop up any odds and ends of cheese – blue, hard, soft, mature, fruit-studded, doesn't matter – pile it onto your leftover bread and bung under a medium grill. When the cheese is half melted, drizzle with honey and brown with a last blast under the grill. Warning... extremely moreish!
DON'T faff around making sandwiches every day
How to avoid getting stuck with stale bread? Don't make individual sandwiches – instead use up the whole loaf in a batch of sandwiches, then wrap them individually and freeze.
Grab a sandwich from the freezer in the morning and by the time lunch rolls around your sandwich will be defrosted and practically as fresh as the day you made it. Sounds odd, but works perfectly with most sandwich fillings...
Sandwich fillings that can handle freezing: butter, marg, hard and soft cheeses, cooked meats, tinned fish, smoked salmon, nut butters, Nutella, Marmite, pickles and chutneys, antipasti, pesto and seasoning.
Fillings that will make your sarnie sad and saggy, add these later if you want them: honey, jam, cooked egg, cottage cheese salad leaves, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh herbs, mayonnaise, avocado.