After recently scorching my morning bagel in the toaster, my first impulse was to grab a knife and start scraping away. Of course, that immediately resulted in a huge mess of crumbs before I had even really made much of a dent in the charred carb. Although I don’t mind the taste of crisped food, I’ve learned that it’s probably not a good idea to eat it. Food and safety experts from the United Kingdom warn that a natural chemical known as acrylamide that is present in starchy foods can potentially cause cancer when over-cooked. Yikes!
But does that mean we have to waste bread or other foods when we accidentally leave them in the toaster too long? Not necessarily! It will still involve scraping away at the burned bits, but there’s a genius way to make that easier and save you from covering your kitchen counter in ashy crumbs.
Honestly, this solution is so smart, I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it on my own: just use a cheese grater! Specifically, a four-sided tower grater that you can get for cheap at your local grocery store or online ($8.88, Amazon). A clever user on Instructables shared how you can simply place the grater inside a bowl and then scrape away all the icky black surface. Of course, be careful not to knick yourself while you’re at it — no matter how hungry and anxious to eat you might be, that toast won’t taste quite as nice if you’re nursing a cut finger.
You might even find the process oddly satisfying as you watch your bread or bagel return to a perfectly toasty appearance, then lifting the grater to see all the crumbs you filed away. If not, you’ll definitely still enjoy eating the bread! It’s always better to avoid food waste as much as possible, especially if it’s because of a problem that can be solved so easily.