Oh, crumbs

RecyclaOn Monday, Enviro Girl posted some terrific tips on eating healthy meals on a budget. Recycla’s family shops, cooks, and eats the same way and they eat very well without a lot of hassle.

One little thing that Recycla does is make breadcrumbs instead of buying them. Buying breadcrumbs at the store appears to be mostly an American thing, as Recycla’s friends in Europe have told her that they don’t have breadcrumbs in stores there.

Yahoo Images

Yahoo Images

Before you snort “I don’t have that kind of time” and click away, let Recycla tell you that making your own breadcrumbs (and croutons, for that matter) is quick and easy. And it’s FREE. Scout’s honor!

Any kind of bread will do, although Recycla prefers whole wheat bread and multi-grain breads, since they make healthier, more flavorful breadcrumbs. She keeps a bag in the freezer with bread that she’s saving for crumbs.

To make crumbs, all you have to do is:

  • Spread the bread slices out on a baking sheet — you don’t even have to defrost them first.
  • Toast them in your oven at 250-300Funtil they’re a nice golden brown. 30-40 minutes should do it. Using a lower oven temperature takes a little longer, but you’re less likely to burn the bread that way.
  • Let the toasted bread cool a bit, then toss the it into a food processor and pulse until you have breadcrumbs.

If you’re in a hurry and need breadcrumbs right now, you can fast track the process: Using a toaster or oven, toast however much bread you need. On a toaster, use the highest setting. If the bread isn’t crisp all the way through, toast a second time on the lowest setting. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then use your food processor to make the crumbs. (Recycla has heard that blenders work, but she has not tried this, so cannot vouch for the accuracy of that claim.)

Recycla usually makes big batches of breadcrumbs (3-4 cups at  time), then mixes in some wheat germ and/or ground flaxseed for extra nutrients, and then freezes the crumbs until needed.

As for the time involved, if you get started when you’re about to start cooking dinner, you should be done by the time you sit down to eat or right after you’re done eating. You’re in the kitchen anyway, so why not multi-task?

Tell the Eco Women: Do you make your own breadcrumbs? If not, will you try?

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