>> Thursday, September 11, 2008
When we first cleaned out our pantry of HFCS-containing foods, I was shocked - SHOCKED - to find that my dry breadcrumbs had HFCS in them. Breadcrumbs? Who would have thought? Now that I know a little more about the hows and whys of HFCS usage, it makes sense to me. Breadcrumbs are not sweet, but they do require a long shelf life, and as we found out when exploring HFCS's role in bread, HFCS can help extend shelf life. Breadcrumbs sit on an unrefrigerated shelf for an amazingly long time, so any cheap, shelf-life extending aid has got to be a boon to manufacturers.
Progresso is one of the brands that sells breadcrumbs with HFCS. Seems like most do, so be sure to check the label when buying regular breadcrumbs. Surprisingly, Albertson's generic brand of breadcrumbs did not have HFCS in them (at least, when I last checked). Their flavor was also a little more like cardboard than the other brands, but that might have been because I was using an old carton of breadcrumbs.
Panko breadcrumbs are another alternative. I have found two brands that don't have HFCS in them. Sun Luck is one of the HFCS-free brands. (Sadly, I don't remember what the second brand was.) Panko has a different crumb texture than regular breadcrumbs, so they might not always be a good alternative in your recipes.
To avoid the issue all together, I've started making my own breadcrumbs. Whenever I have old bread leftover (especially the heels), I pop it into my food processor and whir it into breadcrumbs. They'll last as long as a carton of dried breadcrumbs when stored in my freezer. I use them as is for fresh breadcrumbs, and heat them at 400 F for about 5 min (check to make sure they don't burn) in my oven to make dried breadcrumbs. Easy-peasy! And so much better tasting than the dry breadcrumbs you get in a box!