Friday, 26 October 2012

Food Waste Friday - Carrots, Treacle Tart and ways of using up breadcrumbs

Yes, it's my nemesis - carrots again! I've moved on from the times of mouldy carrots to cooking too many, and not getting creative with the leftovers, so chicken food they were.

One of the side effects of all our focus on food waste this year has been the gradual accumulation of an enormous bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer. In this house bread usually gets eaten up pretty quickly, but stale loaf end crusts are a regular occurence. The really dry ones get soaked and given to the chickens. The not so dry ones are blitzed and added to a breadcrumb bag in the freezer. And very rarely, they feature on Food Waste Friday.

It's all very well feeling virtuous about not wasting bread, but if I'm not actually using up those breadcrumbs, then I'm just hoarding food waste! I'm a self confessed hoarder but keeping a ton of breadcrumbs 'because they might come in useful one day' is a step too far, even for me.

So last week I set about using them up.

Treacle Tart.

And this week I made another treacle tart. Not my favourite thing in all the world, but the recipe I used (see below), from one of my favourite frugal cook books, turns out quite lemony and not as sweet as a bought treacle tart.

Two treacle tarts has made but a small dent in my sack of breadcrumbs, and it's hardly the healthiest use of breadcrumbs, so I started thinking that I should really get more creative.

Here are some ways I've used breadcrumbs in the past:
How do you use up breadcrumbs?

Treacle Tart Recipe (from How to feed your family a healthy, balanced diet with very little money... by Gill Holcombe)

Serves 4 - 6

Short crust pastry (made with 150g plain flour and 75g butter or margarine)
125g breadcrumbs
6 tbsp golden syrup
2tbsp black treacle ( I didn't have any so I left this out)
25g butter
1 lemon, juice and rind
60ml milk

  • Roll pastry to fit bottom of 15cm tin. Save the trimmings to cut into thin strips for the lattice on top of the tart.
  • Melt the syrup, treacle, butter and lemon juice together in a pan.
  • Fill the pastry with breadcrumbs and slowly pour over the liquid so all the breadcrumbs are covered.
  • Use the strips to make a lattice pattern and glaze with milk.
  • Bake in the oven (Gas Mark 4 or 180 degrees C) for 20 - 25 minutes.

Food Waste Friday was dreamt up by, to encourage people to use up food instead of waste it. This week you can find Food Waste Friday hosted by 
Simply Being Mum.


  1. The Treacle Tart sounds very interesting, but maybe too sweet for me.

    I don't remember what the bird food discussion was before, but feeding them bread as the main part of their diet is not good for them. It means that they may not get the other nutrients that they need. I guess that is a lot like us. We can also eat too many empty calories.

    So your advice of bread as as part of a balanced diet is good.

  2. Mmmmmmmmmm
    Best used for coating things!

  3. Hi Sarah,
    your treacle tart sounds (and looks) very yummy! I wish I could have a sliver with my tea today!

    Since you asked, to use up bread crumbs, I add them to "neat" balls (a vegetarian meatball) and bean burgers.

  4. lindaevansirishtown28 October 2012 at 11:41

    Hi there from New Brunswick Canada (awaiting Hurricane Sandy)
    I save my breadcrumbs too and make a dressing (stuffing) for chickens and turkeys... instead the traditional potato stuffing here which always seemed stupid because we also ate potatoes.. For a small turkey you need 7 cups of breadcrumbs - add 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and 1tsp savory to it (we use summer savory - but you don't have that so any dried herb would be nice)In a small dipper (pot?) melt 1/2 cup margarine and add to it 1-2 stalks chopped celery and 1 small chopped onion. When all is soft pour into dressing. Add one chopped apple and 1 beaten egg. Stir away and stuff.

  5. Thanks to you all for those great suggestions. Some I should really have thought of myself, but others are new to me. I think I can be confident that I will use up my surplus of breadcrumbs after all. And Linda (and anyone else on the East Coast), I sincerely hope you will stay safe through Hurricane Sandy.

  6. I was saving breadcrumbs for a while, but in the end they were taking up too much room in my freezer and I had to stop as I wasn't using them quick enough. Instead of turning your bread into crumbs, you could make melba toast or croutons... I love melba toast, but have never made croutons and I have been thinking I should make them for a while now!

  7. I know I'm coming awfully late to comment here, but I recently have had the "problem" of excess breadcrumbs since I started baking more bread. In the past my favorite way to use the bag of slightly stale bread in the freezer was to take it to the park down the road and feed it to the ducks -- with the children, or later the grandchildren, along to make it worth the trip.

    But your treacle tart gets my interest. The only time I tasted that was in England on a trip - it was at a hostel, an orange treacle tart, and one of the best desserts I ever ate! Maybe that was because we were starving. :-) I think I'll be researching all the other ideas here. Thank you to all!

    One idea that I recall reading about is to grind the crumbs and add to bread dough or other baked goods. Some Old-World bakers I think would toast them first and that would add a nice brown color as well -- though I think the toasting probably reduces the nutritional content at the same time.