Breadcrumbs are something we all have at home, whether they’re store-bought or homemade. They’re used for stuffing, breading, toppings, and more.
But, breadcrumbs have a limited shelf life, so try to remember how old is the batch you have at hand. Think about what the crumbs are made from, and you’ll realize why this is as important.
Continue reading to learn whether breadcrumbs go bad, how long they can last, and how you should store them to get maximum longevity.
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Do Breadcrumbs Go Bad?
Breadcrumbs can go bad, although not as fast as other staple ingredients you have around. They’re made from bread, so they will eventually go stale due to starch retrogradation regardless of whether they’re store-bought or homemade.
Flavored, store-bought crumbs will go bad faster than the plain ones you made at home. However, regular, store-bought crumbs might not go bad quickly because they’re dehydrated and made in a controlled environment.
Homemade ones won’t go bad quickly if you dry the bread very well before making crumbs out of it.
Although your crumbs will inevitably go stale eventually, you can prolong their shelf life with proper storage.
How Long Do Breadcrumbs Last
Breadcrumbs are typically made from toasted, crushed bread. It’s a dry product, so you can expect it to last a long time.
Although the quality will drop over time, crumbs can last for months when stored well. A store-bought package usually has a best-by date somewhere on the label, indicating for how long the product retains its quality.
It should remain fresh and crispy at least until that date, but only if you store it accordingly. Whether you opened the package doesn’t matter so much in terms of longevity because the product is already dry.
However, it’s crucial to keep it dry since any trace of moisture will make it go bad much quicker.
You can store breadcrumbs in a few different ways depending on how quickly you plan on going through the batch. Homemade ones will remain fresh for at least two weeks in the pantry, two months in the fridge, and about six months in the freezer.
Proper storage plays a crucial role in how long breadcrumbs last, especially if you usually buy or make large batches. Here’s how long they typically last:
Tips to Tell if Breadcrumbs have Gone Bad
It’s easy to tell if breadcrumbs have gone bad because they’re made of bread. And, you probably know what to watch for when checking if your bread has gone stale.
Crumbs usually go stale, much like bread. So you can use the same methods and tricks to tell if they’re still good or you have to throw them away.
Check the appearance
The first thing you should do is check the appearance. Is there any mold or insects in the package? It’s best to throw the whole thing away if you notice even a little bit of mold. It’s a sign of moisture, and even if you scoop out the moldy bit, some traces of it might still be among other crumbs.
You might notice your batch is lumpy, hard, and crusty. These crumbs are often safe to use, but the overall quality might have degraded this point.
smell the crumbs
Once you ensure there’s no mold, you should smell the crumbs as the sniff test is pretty reliable as well. As you know, crumbs have a pleasant smell, so you’ll notice something is wrong right away.
You should throw everything out if you notice the smell is weird. The batch might smell moldy even if you didn’t see any mold in there. These aren’t safe to use, and you should throw them away.
If the smell seems alright, but you’re still not sure about your batch of crumbs, you should go ahead and taste them. You’ll know they’ve gone bad if the taste is sour.
In most cases, it’s safer to dispose of the whole package if you’re not sure about its quality. If it’s already past its best-by date and you’re not sure when you bought it – it’s safer to throw it away than possibly consuming mold or insects.
Tips to Store Breadcrumbs
As we said, breadcrumbs are quite easy to store away because they’re dry. You can store them the same way you store your flour or oatmeal.
Proper storage is vital if you want the crumbs to last as long as possible. Those stored the right way can last months past their best-by date, whereas improperly stored crumbs won’t last two weeks.
The worst enemy here is moisture. Since this is a dry product, you want to keep it away from any moisture that would turn it stale.
Moisture will cause it to go bad rapidly, developing mold and a funny odor. As we said, mold is unsafe to consume, but it’s easy to avoid.
The best way to ensure this is to store the crumbs in an airtight container. It doesn’t matter whether you bought or made them – find a way to keep them so that no moisture can get in.
If you have store-bought crumbs and can’t reseal the package, you should transfer the batch into an airtight container or a jar. You can leave it in its original package if it’s a resealable one.
Once you repack it, think about where you can store it. Naturally, most people choose the pantry area, but that isn’t the only option.
dark and dry place
You want a dark and dry place, so your pantry might, in fact, be the most suitable location. If it’s not so dark or dry, or it’s already packed with other stuff, you can store crumbs in one of your kitchen cabinets, too.
If you have a large batch you probably won’t go through quickly, you should think about freezing it. Freezing is a good option since it keeps your crumbs for up to a year.
Homemade crumbs can be stored at room temperature, in which case they’ll last only about a week. So this is a suitable solution for short-term storage.
Storing them in a fridge might be a better option if you want to use them for a month or more. This also goes for recipes you prepared using breadcrumbs.
Again, freezing is the best for long-term storage, even if you made the crumbs yourself. In this case, a freezer bag might be better than a square container due to limited storage space.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are dry, so it’s improbable they can go bad if stored properly. In addition, they can last up to a year past their best-by date, which means you probably won’t ever eat bad crumbs.
Nonetheless, you should always take a few minutes to inspect them before adding them to your recipe. This is especially the case if you can’t recall when you bought or made them.
Whether or not they’re safe to consume depends on how you stored them. For example, if your batch was exposed to moisture, it’s probably bad and unsafe to eat due to mold.
Consuming mold can be quite dangerous, leading to vomiting, nausea, and possibly diarrhea. For this reason, it’s best to avoid the batch you’re not sure about.
There would be little to no risk if your crumbs were stored correctly. Please take a second to inspect them, making sure they’re dry and with no traces of insects or mold.
Breadcrumbs are safe to eat if you ensure nothing is wrong with them, even if you think it’s been a year since you bought or made them.
Can you Freeze Breadcrumbs?
Freezing is often the best option when it comes to storing breadcrumbs for a long time. Although they’re dry, they can easily go bad if you don’t have the right place to store them.
If that’s the case, it’s best to freeze your batch before they turn stale. Freezing is quite simple since all you have to do is place them in a sealed freezer bag.
You can use an airtight container as well if you think you have enough space in your freezer. If not, a bag will work fine.
It helps to separate everything into a few smaller bags. This makes it easier for the crumbs to freeze but also to use later on.
Crumbs can last six months to a year past their best-by date when frozen. Best of all is that they don’t require any thawing, which means you can just grab as much as you need for your recipe without defrosting.
Breadcrumbs are versatile and useful to have in the house. They go in many recipes and are a staple for pies and meat.
You can buy or make them from leftover bread. Some people make them from fresh bread, drying them at room temperature. Others prefer to dry them in the oven, after which they end up with a nice golden color.
Either way, they’re dry, easy to store away, and can last a long time.