Getting thrifty with left over food and the remains of the hand soap

Do you waste too much food?

Do you waste too much food?

Bread. It’s symbolic of what we have become: a wasteful society.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to clear out the bread bin at home and discovered stale crusts at the bottom.

Sometimes I’m organised enough to think ahead and grind them down into breadcrumbs to store in the freezer until they’re needed, but, mostly, I’m not.

On those occasions I’ve put them in the compost and have even been known to throw them out for the local gulls to feast on. But no more. There are actually a myriad of uses these crusts can be put to.

I’ve tried one or two ideas already: they make great bases for pizza. Just spread with tomato puree, add a few of your favourite toppings and bake or grill; they also come in handy for croutons to throw into a bowl of soup (cut the crusts into squares, stir into melted butter and brown, cool and store).

Other ideas include using for bread and butter pudding or French toast (mix an egg with some milk and ground cinnamon, soak the bread and fry on both sides).

Sadly, bread crusts aren’t the only ends of things that all too often get thrown away. It’s not always that we’re wantonly wasteful. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do with these ‘leftovers’.

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However. if we start thinking more imaginatively, there’s usually a solution.

Take, for instance, those annoying little bits of soap you’re left with when most of the bar has been used. What can you do with these slippery little critters apart from throw them away?

Well, as it happens, you can make a new, rainbow soap from the dregs.

Back in the ‘70s, I remember my mum investing in some kind of plastic, cylindrical contraption with removable ends. The idea was that you filled it with leftover bits of soap and squeezed the ends together to create a new bar.

I don’t remember it working too well but time has moved on. We now have the microwave oven. And, believe it or not, it’s a contraption that has uses that don’t even involve food. My thrifty colleague, Steve, uses his for softening leftover bits of soap (a few seconds should do it) and moulding them onto a new bar. If you have enough you could even make a whole new soap.

Email Sheena or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

See more from Sheena here or see her top 10 ways to save money this January here