Off and on I've been storing lettuce as described at Salad-in-a-Jar, and it works! Problem is, just found a report of a study comparing E Coli within lettuce leaves, vacuumed vs regular. The conclusion seems to be that the bacterial count increases from being sucked into the leaves. That, and some concern about bacterial growth in an anaerobic environment makes me want to never store lettuce this way again. Oh well.
Now if I could find definitive answers about airtight storage environments for other fruit & veggies (e.g., strawberries).
lightly grease and flour a pan before using. this works the same as parchment! it is a french technique i learned at culinary school. make sure it is nicely coated with both- cocoa powder would work ok too. Good luck!
also for baking sheets I use silpats. Not sure how environmentally friendly they are but I got mine used. They act as a non-stick I use them for baking and roasting. can't imagine making a batch of cookies without one.
I can't get the link to post from my phone web browser... But if you go to amazon.com and search for "bread bag"... The one I use came up first. It does have a plastic lining but it is the best bread storage I've found when you aren't freezing the bread. It is easily wiped clean or you can wash the whole bag in the dishwasher on the top shelf. It easily fits a loaf and I love it
I had the same problem with the pillowcase- the bread was just drying out :( I purchased a bread bag from Sur La Table- I believe they also sell them on Amazon. The lining of the bag IS plastic... but the bag is washable in the dishwasher and definitely reusable. Unfortunately- the only ways I have been able to find to keep my bread from drying out is either re-using plastic bags (not really a good choice as the bags only last so long) to store the bread, storing in an air-tight plastic container, or using this bread bag (which also has a plastic lining). I make my bread from scratch and buy all of the ingredients zero waste. So- I figure if the container I am re-using has plastic- this is still a better option than either having dry un-edible bread, or buying bread that comes in a plastic bag.
What if you baked smaller portions? I have some friends who routinely bought frozen bread, but they typically got roll-sizes (basically nothing bigger than a demi-baguette). They would only thaw what they could eat that night (leftovers got thrown to birds). I've had the same challenge buying loaves or half-loaves, I just can't get through it fast enough before the mold sets in! I've since switched to smaller portions, or just thawing a few slices for sandwiches.
I've been using a big cloth bag to get baguettes from my local bakery (so addicted to them!!). I have the counter staff cut them in half for me since my bag is small and then I just pop it in the freezer. I get a little freezer burn on the cut section, so my solution is to take out one half at a time, cut the freezer burned section off and eat it myself b/c I can't taste a difference, then cut the half into four smaller chunks and put it in a glass candy jar (actually, the same ones Bea has for laundry detergent). I never have a problem with the baguettes sticking around for longer than a week and a half (as I said, I'm addicted to them) and they are never dry or stale. I have just a normal freezer, but I think the key is to make sure you get baguettes that are really moist inside to begin with. I get them from a local bakery that has won awards for their bread, but I've gotten baguettes from some supermarkets that are stale and gross right off the shelf.
And I've also used the trick of running it under a little water and then sticking it in the oven for a little while if it gets stale and it revives it just fine.
And another tip if you are having trouble is that you can go to Whole Foods and ask for bread that is par-baked (partially baked) only. I used to work at a Whole Foods bakery and everything comes frozen in big boxes in a par-baked form. The staff at the store then sticks it in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 to get it nice and crispy. You can do it yourself at home if you ask them for bread directly from the freezer and then just bake it as you use it. And it doesn't seem to matter if it gets un-frozen on the way home. Just re-freeze it and you are fine. When I can't get to the local bakery, I walk across the street to Whole Foods and ask for several mini baguettes that are frozen and stick 'em in my toaster oven to get them warm and crispy on the outside. It makes my apartment smell lovely and there is nothing like having fresh baked bread!
Ana-I love my silpat baking mats for using instead of parchment paper or aluminum foil. I use them for cookies, breads, pizza, roasting veggies, garlic potato wedges, breaded chicken, anything wrapped in pastry, etc. I also use them when covering things in chocolate, to lay things on as the chocolate hardens instead of waxed paper. I get so much use out of them, and they are still in perfect shape. I think they will last a very long time and replace a lot of disposables!
For me, I use what my mother in law does. I rinse my produce as soon as I get it and let it dry on my dish rack. When its dry, I wrap it in a kitchen towel and store it in a casserole dish. Kale, romaine, chard, and spinach have all responded well to this. Herbs moderately so, and I have found better results putting them in water. I do think it has something to do with the humidity - you can try adjusting the humidity in your crisper (on my cheap fridge the 'humidity adjustment' is moving a plastic bar to reveal or conceal a hole through which the fridge air can get through.
Ok, I tried the bags too with no success. My bread suffered from freezer burn and then dried out on the counter in my wooden bread box. I think the fabric leeches the moisture from the bread. I have found the perfect solution for me - an old fashioned tin 2 TIER CAKE & PIE CARRIER! I keep my bread in the bottom cake compartment and rotate homemade cup cakes, cookies, biscuits , muffins, tortillas or pie ( shocking I know) in the top pie compartment. My bread and baked goods are now always perfect. I have a glass cake stand I reserve for glorious cake. I haven't solved the freezer issue so we only buy one loaf of bread for the kids school lunches and I pack dinner leftovers for myself and hubby as we have access to a microwave at work.
If it got hard (not stale) just warmer up in the oven. Just drizzle water over it and warm it up. Now if it is also stale...bird food or bread crumbs. My husband makes bread every once in a while. He makes a small loaf so it doesn't become waste.