Monday, January 28, 2013

Making your own breadcrumbs


We've all been there. By there, I mean a point in our lives when we need to use breadcrumbs and we reach for them in a cardboard-can-thing. You know what I'm talking about. It's convenient to keep breadcrumbs stored away in your cupboard until that opportune moment when your ready to create a quick Italian culinary masterpiece, right?

Convenient? Yes. Natural? That's up for debate. Have you looked at the ingredients for breadcrumbs?? Prepare for a shock. You'd think it'd be simply bread and maybe some spices. Nope. This is what I found in a long-untouched can of breadcrumbs in my cupboard (I won't say the brand, but it rhymes with Shmegwans):

Niacinamide -- I still haven't quite sorted out what the hell this is, other than it's a vitamin. A lot of other vitamins, like A, B, and D, are also added into these breadcrumbs, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. On the one hand, the company could be trying to account for common vitamin deficiencies, like B12, in its customers. But if I think about this issue another way, what is there to say about the original product if it lacks nutrients that bread usually has?

Zinc Oxide -- an insoluble compound (most likely synthetically produced) used as an additive in paints, cement, pigments, batteries, and plastics, among other things. Granted, our bodies do need zinc to function, but I would rather get my zinc from NATURAL sources like dark chocolate, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and crab. I feel a bit nauseous just thinking about the fake, white powder being dumped in my breadcrumbs...

Now I realize I might be having a fanatical moment. I mean, here I am complaining that a company is adding vitamins to its product. However, I believe it's really important to consider what is in the food we buy from stores and why it's there.

PLUS, why spend your hard-earned money when you can make breadcrumbs at home for next to no cost.

Yup.

If you already buy or make bread (and I would wager a majority of households do in some form [gluten-free, whole wheat, homemade, organic, etc.]), then your breadcrumbs are FREE and just as easily stored as the store-bought version.

Next time you are about to toss the uneaten ends of a loaf, or the crusts you tear off a piece of bread, simply stick those odd bits in a container and put them in the freezer. When you have a few pieces saved up and you need some breadcrumbs, take your bread out of the freezer, toast them, and pulse in a food processor or blender.

Done.

Toss whatever spices or seasonings in there that suit your fancy and voila! You have your homemade, free breadcrumbs. Feel free to stick any unused crumbs back in the freezer for future use, or make a big batch to keep stored in the freezer like you would the strange store-bought ones.


Enjoy!