Why It's Ok to Cut the Crusts Off

breakfast today - tahini + banana + raw honey + cinnamon on organic sourdough

"Real" food bloggers might tell you that your kids need to eat their bread crusts - learn to love them like we grown up types do. And let me tell you, I've tried that. You know what? Sometimes I just like to have my crusts and eat them, too. Shall I explain? 

What it comes down to is this: 
I'm quite willing to pay extra money for quality, organic bread - but if I do, I'm not wasting a single crust of it!

What happens when we feed our kids stuff they don't like? 
You know as well as I do.

Scenario 1: Child eats her crusts without complaint. (Uh, never happens in this house - my girl picks the outsides off Turkish bread.)

Scenario 2: Child is presented with crusts on bread, asked to eat them, and then eats all the bread from around them leaving the crusts themselves slobbery and un-pick-off-plate-able. (This scenario makes our dog very happy. Me, not so much.)

Scenario 3: Child is presented with crustless bread, and mummy or daddy tip the crusts into the food processor, whizz them into bread crumbs, and freeze until needed. Or just cut them up into chunks and freeze until needed.

Happy. Especially for AMAZING fresh bread that you've just paid $4 - $7 for.

you paid for the good stuff - don't waste it!

The key is to use the best bread for your chunks or crumbs - expensive, organic crusts and ends otherwise discarded - and to freeze them in completely airtight containers, because bread *loves* freezer smell. So crumb them straight away (or you'll forget) and glass jar them or whatever you have to do to keep them completely isolated from the outside world.

Then, when you need bread crumbs - you've got em! I wrote about saving stale bread (and crusts) previously here - focusing on good bread-chunky recipes, but this here post is different. This post is saying it's ok to cut off the crusts. You're a great parent - and you sure as hell aren't letting your kids or the world or the blogging community out there down by doing so. 

Anyway, here are my 5 favourite ways to use bread crumbs:

1. As a parmesan alternative for pasta - It used to be that fried bread crumbs were considered cucina povera ("peasant" food) for everyday Italians who couldn't afford parmesan. Now they're just delicious. Bread crumbs fried in butter or olive oil with garlic or chili make an excellent topping for your next buttery or pesto-based pasta dinner. Here's a great recipe to get you started.

2. In veggie burgers - like Heidi's "ultimate" recipe over on 101 Cookbooks

3. As a topping for savoury bakes that use up heaps of greens - like Smitten Kitchen's "Best Baked Spinach"

4. As a topping for mac and cheese - and I know this Martha Steward favourite calls for tiny (perfect?) bread cubes, but who are we kidding? I'm sure crumbs are fine. Right?

5. Whatever Nigel Slater says. Because the man is a genius. Great ideas, people.

So get out there and buy yourself some fabulous organic bread! I hope you enjoy every crumb. :)
Amanda xx