Let’s face it, even if your kids don’t mind the “crust” of the bread, eating a sandwich without the crust is sometimes just a little more fun. My kids do currently eat the crust at our house so homemade “Uncrustables” are not something I plan on doing every day, but will I do it on occasion just to switch things up? Absolutely.
One complaint from blog readers about making these sandwiches without the crust though is that they hate to waste food. So in addition to showing you how to make [and freeze] your own homemade “Uncrustables” I’ve got some solutions for those bread ends as well.
Why make your own “Uncrustables?”
- You can control the ingredients (see “Exhibit A” below).
- It (can be) cheaper.
- I am not going to lie…they are NICE to have on hand on those nights (or mornings) when you have no clue what to pack for school lunch! Or for when you just don’t have any fresh bread in the house. It happens to the best of us.
What I look for in “real” bread, peanut butter, and jelly:
- Bread: I prefer 100% whole-wheat bread made with only 5 or 6 ingredients. This can be hard to find at a supermarket so instead look into your local bakeries or making your own (in the oven or in a bread machine).
- Peanut Butter: It only takes one ingredient to make peanut butter…peanuts. Anything else (salt, sugar, oil, etc.) is to be considered an “additive.”
- Jelly: I suppose I technically buy “jam” not jelly. I look for varieties that are organic, have the fruit listed as the first ingredient (as opposed to the sweetener), and that are sweetened with fruit juice as opposed to refined sugar. I either make my own or by Crofter’s brand.
So yes, I do recommend a special little “tool” for making these at home (as it turns out Wonder Bread is good for something), but you can certainly make them without this thing by cutting with a knife and then pinching the edges together with your fingers. It isn’t quite as easy or “pretty” because I tried it myself—but it will certainly work if you don’t want to spring the $4+ for yet another kitchen gadget.
Once you have that figured out it is time to get started.
- Go with the classic PB&J.
- Use sunflower seed butter or cream cheese if you want/need to go nut-free.
- Use a different nut butter like almond butter if you prefer.
- Skip the jelly and make a peanut butter and honey sandwich instead…something my daughters really enjoy.
How to Freeze & Defrost Homemade “Uncrustables”–
There are two different ways that you can freeze your homemade “uncrustables” to easily store them in the freezer.
- Wrap the finished sandwiches in foil (or small baggies) and transfer them to a labeled, freezer-safe container or bag. Put the crusts in their own labeled container/bag as well.
- You could also freeze the sandwiches in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet for a few hours before transferring them to a bag/container—if you prefer to skip the foil.)
3 Uses For the Crust (no need to waste!)
I personally think it’s easiest to just freeze the crusts right away. Then there is no pressure to do something creative with them immediately! So as mentioned above, right after making the sandwiches just throw them all together in a big Ziplock bag or other freezer-safe container and save them for a rainy day.
Then when you have time to do something with those crusts just pull them out, defrost them at room temperature for a few hours, and make one of the following:
Grind up the bread ends in a food processor until crumbly. Spread in one even layer on a baking sheet and bake for at 300 degrees F for 20 – 22 minutes or until golden brown. It is recommended to stir the bread crumbs once or twice while baking to ensure even doneness.
- Homemade Croutons.
Chop the bread crusts into little cubes. Mix them together with just enough olive oil to coat and some spices to taste (we like Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt). Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 15 – 18 minutes.
- Stuffing or Bread Pudding.
Use your bread ends in your favorite holiday stuffing dish or bread pudding dessert recipe – yum!
Other Freezer-Friendly Lunch Ideas
Here are some more freezer-friendly recipes that are perfect to to have for lunches, whether the kids are in school or at home.
- 1 loaf whole-wheat bread can sub gluten-free bread
- peanut butter can sub nut butter if nut-free
- jam we prefer either homemade jam or an all-fruit spread that’s sweetened with fruit juice concentrate as opposed to sugar or high-fructose corn syrup
- Spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread and then the jam. Make sure to not spread the filling all the way to the edges. Place a second piece of bread on top to make the sandwich.
- Place the Wonder tool on top of the sandwich to seal the edges and take a knife to cut off all the crust around the edges (see notes on how to complete the sandwiches if you don't have the tool).
- How to seal the sandwiches without the Wonder tool: Simply cut off the crust on all sides and press the edges down firmly with your fingers to seal the sandwich.
- Can be nut-free if you sub peanut butter for sunflower butter.
- Can be gluten-free if you sub whole-wheat bread for gluten-free.
- We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Please feel free to share your ideas for bread ends/crusts in the comments below. I hope your little ones enjoy these in their lunch. I know you will feel good about sending them :)