Food waste is a serious problem in the United States, with about 42 billion pounds of food waste created every year in people’s homes. In 2015, the US Department of Agriculture and the US Environmental Protection Agency joined together to set a goal to reduce the nation’s food waste by 50 percent by 2030. While we don’t have control over what happens outside our homes, we can work on reducing our own personal food waste.
One item that is prone to spoiling but has easy preservation methods is bread. When left out for too long or improperly, bread can become stale, or even worse, moldy. Here are four tips to help your bread last longer.
- Know your bread type
Loaves with more fat (such as challah or banana bread) often take longer to go stale than a bread with less fat, such as French bread. Store-bought bread usually lasts five to seven days, while homemade bread has a shorter life of only three to five days.
- Store bread in cool, dry areas
Avoid storing your bread in any warm, moist areas of your kitchen, such as on top of a refrigerator or near a dishwasher as they both emit a lot of heat and moisture. If there isn’t anywhere good on the counter, a cabinet or deep drawer will work as well.
- Use a breadbox
A breadbox is a tried-and-true method to store bread for generations. It has more breathability than an airtight container or plastic bag but is still isolated enough to keep the bread from getting stale too fast. If you’re planning on eating the bread within the next few days, storing it in an airtight container is fine.
- Freeze your bread
Freezing your bread is the best way to preserve it. It’s useful to freeze any bread you aren’t going to eat in the next few days as slices so you can easily defrost only what you need. Depending on what type of bread you are freezing, it can last from anywhere from three to six months in the freezer! Bread with higher fat content tends to last longer in the freezer than leaner bread. Store the bread in plastic wrap and zip top bags for optimal storage.
Have you tried any of these tips? Let us know about your favorite bread preservation techniques in the comments below.
Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)