The Real Reason You Should Never Buy Breadcrumbs In Bulk

We should all be thankful for Joseph Lee. "Who is that," you might ask. Well, let's say that if you're a cook, a chef, a home cook, or a foodie, you've already encountered the invention of this entrepreneur from the Boston area who was born in 1849 and died in 1908. The man was a "pioneer in the automation of bread and bread crumb making" in the late 1800s (per Invent). Yes, Lee invented breadcrumbs; and nowadays, they're used for many things. Most of us use breadcrumbs to prepare fried foods such as chicken nuggets, fried chicken, and fish and chips. In 2020, a whopping "191.06 million Americans used bread crumbs, coating and stuffing products" or mixes, Statista reports. 

Yes, life without breadcrumbs would really be boring. And our fried foods wouldn't taste so good without that delectable golden breading. But there's more to breadcrumbs than fried food, so Epicurious revealed many other uses for breadcrumbs. They can be used as a thickener in a variety of soups or add a delicious crunchy layer to pasta dishes. Breadcrumbs are also a key part of Italian meatballs and crab cakes, which would fall apart without the crumbs. 

And we wouldn't want to miss that crunchy golden topping on top of our baked macaroni and cheese, would we? When buying breadcrumbs, there's always the option to buy in bulk, but you should think twice before your purchase.

A large amount of breadcrumbs will not stay fresh forever

Insider talked to chef Lizzy Briskin, who revealed that you shouldn't buy breadcrumbs in bulk, unless absolutely necessary. For example, in Costco, there's a two-pack of huge cans of seasoned panko breadcrumbs. The first problem is the storage – most of our kitchens are not that huge to store these mammoth-sized cans in our cupboards. And space is essential in the kitchen. The second, more glaring issue, is that the breadcrumbs will not be fresh forever. 

And if you want to avoid stale breadcrumbs, you might've thought about freezing them. But, unfortunately, you can't. If the breadcrumbs are seasoned, their shelf life is even shorter. So be wise and opt for a smaller container of breadcrumbs instead. Does It Go Bad reports that breadcrumbs will typically last for about six months or shorter, and if you notice a foul smell or mold after that, your best bet is to throw them in the trash. 

But there are other options, and here are just some of the things you can substitute for breadcrumbs: ground potato chips, almonds, oats, or cornflakes. Saltine crackers are also a great option – crush them or blitz them in a food processor, and add some spices and herbs for extra flavor if you're feeling adventurous (via The Pioneer Woman). Alternatively, you can easily make fresh breadcrumbs at home if you have some dried-out bread in your kitchen (per Martha Stewart).