When I first began contemplating how to reduce the packaging waste of bread and baked goods, my first reaction was, “this is going to be easy!”
After all, we either bake our own bread or order it from a friend who bakes it. In that way, we’re already living pretty close to how the Ingalls family did. But then it occurred to me, we’re still using (nearly) as much packaging as we would be if we were buying it from the store. And even though we may reuse some of the bags once or twice, they’re all still destined for a fairly short life before they retire at the landfill.
As I reflected further, I realized we had two areas to look at in order to prevent bread packaging waste:
1. sanitarily transporting the bread from my friend’s home to mine
2. storing the bread in my home without losing the option for freezing bread
To tackle the transportation issue, I contacted my friend to see if she had any suggestions. “Would re-usable cloth bags work? Something with a draw string?” she asked then suggested, “Maybe Sierra could practice her sewing and make some for you. It is what Ma and Laura would do. or rather, Mary.”
This woman knows how I think! Loving her idea, I did a little research to see if pioneers like the Ingalls family might have used cloth bags to store bread or food. Sure enough, we were on the right track. I found a blog that confirmed that cloth was one way that food was stored in the pre-plastic days. “Prior to the mid 1950s when waxed paper and plastics were first manufactured, foods were stored with cloth coverings, cloth bags, or covered dishes …” the blog author shared. “As with many other tried-and-true elements of a simpler lifestyle, basic food cloth bags are making a comeback as more and more people realize how expensive and potentially hazardous plastics really are. Cloth bags can be used over and over and over again. And washed cotton or linen bags do not contain harmful chemicals.”
With the author even mentioning bread bags (and showing a picture of a bread bagged loaf in a bread box), I felt I was on the right track. My next question was, could I find directions for making a bread bag to save me the grief of trial and error? Sure enough, a website called momtastic featured some very simple looking directions.
Next week, I hope my family will be able to take a stab at making some of these bags.
So now you have two reasons to check back.
1. To find out how our bread bags turn out.
2. To find out the solution I’ve come up with for storing bread at home.