Knowing how to use bread heels can help stretch your grocery dollars. Believe it or not, many people just throw them away!
We’re so used to a surplus of foodstuff that it seems old-fashioned to save things no one wants to eat. Then your budget gets out of control, and you suddenly need to stretch every penny until it screams. Suddenly, it makes perfect sense to use kitchen scraps, including bread heels.
How To Use Bread Heels
Fresh breadcrumbs Whether you use breadcrumbs in your meatloaf, as a thickener in soup, or sprinkled over vegetable dishes, it makes no sense to pay for them. Tear bread heels and crusts into small sections, dry them for 20 minutes or so in a 200°F oven, then run them through your food processor. Want seasoned breadcrumbs? Toss in a tablespoon of Italian seasoning for every cup of breadcrumbs. Store them in an airtight container in the freezer, and you’ll always have some on hand.
Panzanella: Make a quick Panzanella Salad — it’s a traditional Italian way to use leftover bread heels and crusts. It’s also delicious!
Croutons: Melt some butter and add in some minced garlic, chopped basil, dried parsley, and salt. Brush this onto leftover bread heels, and crusts then cut them into cubes and in a 300°F oven until golden brown. Toss them on salad, scatter them over easy homemade tomato soup, or just eat them plain like my son. (Yes, the very same son who ordinarily won’t eat heels or crusts.)
Save them for stuffing: Why pay for that box of Stove Top stuffing mix which is nothing more than dried bread crumbs, seasoning, and dehydrated stock? Make your own with 2 cups of leftover bread crumbs dried in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°F. Season with one teaspoon each sage, thyme, marjoram, and savory, and add enough chicken broth to moisten.
Bread pudding: A simple, microwaveable treat like this bread pudding becomes economical when you use bread heels you’ve saved in your freezer.
Soften brown sugar: Next time you buy brown sugar, toss a bread heel in the bag after you’ve opened it. The bread will absorb any moisture and prevent your sugar from turning into rock-hard lumps.
Keep cookies soft: Pop a bread heel into your cookie jar to keep homemade cookies as fresh as the day you baked them.
BONUS: Get smudges off walls: Strange as it sounds, a piece of white bread (even the heel) does a fantastic job of getting greasy fingerprints off walls. Just dab the smudge with bread then wipe it with a soft cloth. (Like that tip? You’ll love the other 1,000 nifty hacks in my book, 1,001+ Housewife How-To’s.)