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Food in the Spotlight - Our Daily Bread…

Regular guests and volunteers will be very familiar with the amount and variety of breads available at every TRJFP session and venue.

Food in the Spotlight - Our Daily Bread…

Week in, week out you can take your pick from ancient grain loaves to sesame bagels, and from tiger baguettes to packaged sliced white.

It’s believed this universal daily staple was first made in the Middle East around 10,000BC by female farm workers who learnt to ground cereals and water and use the heat of the sun to create something similar to a flatbread, although it would’ve been much firmer and blander tasting than the chapatis and tortillas we enjoy today.

Whilst global demand for bread remains high, its popularity has resulted in huge over- production, which in turn has created a significant waste problem. UK households now throw away the equivalent of 20 million slices every day (that’s almost a quarter of all the bread we buy), and an estimated 40% of all bread produced in the UK is thrown away before it even reaches our doorsteps. It’s no surprise with statistics like this that bread appears at no.3 in our overall national food wastage rankings.

As the donations we receive at TRJFP tell us, the biggest waste challenge is around freshly baked bread due to its short shelf life. Over a day old, and a delicious fresh loaf is deemed stale and removed from sale or resigned to the kitchen bin.

Thankfully an increasing number of organisations are finding ways to limit this unnecessary wastage, from turning unwanted bread into beer, or stale crusts into new loaves, to redistributing it through donation networks (sounds familiar!). As we know at TRJFP, there are lots of ways to give bread a fresh lease of life or to ensure perfectly good bread gets into the hands of those who need it. We’re proud to share our bread donations with our café guests, but did you know we also distribute to Twickenham Repair Café, the ETNA Warm Hub Café, local care homes for old and young, dementia centres, local nurseries, and if there is still any bread left at the end of the day, we pass it on to local Stables for the horses to enjoy. We really do our best to minimise any more waste!

Of course, one of the best ways to use the bread we receive is to use it in the meals we prepare each week. If you’re looking for inspiration with ‘stale’ bread why not try your hand at making French Toast, croutons, delicious panzanella, store cupboard staple breadcrumbs, or of course, the classic Bread and Butter Pudding. You can also sprinkle a few drops of water on loaves, rolls & baguettes and put in the oven at 160oC for a few mins to revive it – you’ll find it surprisingly soft (and irresistible with butter!) when it comes out.

If you have any favourite bread recipes, we’d love to hear them! Please feel free to share on our Facebook or Instagram pages (The Real Junk Food Project Twickenham), and don’t forget, when it comes to bread, try to only buy what you will realistically eat, and be creative before you open that bin lid!

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