How to Store Croutons

How to Store Croutons

Croutons are the best way to add crunch and flavor to salads, soups, or pasta dishes. But they can also be used as an appetizer on their own. Most of us have been making homemade croutons or sourdough crouton(s)from stale bread for years now. They’re delicious and versatile. But if you are anything like most of us, you probably end up eating too much of them. So, I decided to find out how to store croutons to eat less of them without feeling guilty. Also, leftover croutons can be a good idea for the next gathering on the weekend.

Here’s what we have found out about storing croutons to preserve their crispness. 

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How to Store Leftover Homemade Croutons

There are several ways to store leftover croutons. Three of which is by putting them in the pantry, fridge, or freezer. The best method depends on your preference. If you want to preserve the freshness longer, then put them into the refrigerator. 

However, this will make it harder to get at them when needed, because the fridge may make them not crisp and require you to refresh or flash them in the oven. On the other hand, freezing them is best if you really want to store croutons for a long time.

And lastly, placing them in the pantry over time might cause mold growth due to humidity and oxygen allowing unwanted food pathogens to grow.

How to Store Croutons Fried Croutons

Fried croutons are usually stored in an airtight container often with plastic wrap covering the top. This prevents excess air from leaking onto the food. It also helps prevent bacteria growth. You should use these fried croutons within two weeks after frying. Otherwise, they may become soggy. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Remove all excess oil from the pieces of bread cubes using paper towels. Use more if you want to excrete more oils. 

2. Place the airtight container inside another one with a lid.

3. Cover both lids tightly.

4. Label the container clearly with the date and name of the recipe.

5. Put the container back into the original box.

6. Keep away from direct sunlight.

7. Refrigerate once opened.

8. Use within 2-weeks.

9. Discard after any mold or odors noticed

How to Store Croutons in the Fridge

If you don’t plan to consume the homemade croutons right away, place them in the fridge instead. This will help retain its texture better than keeping it at room temperature. Just remember not to leave them there for long periods of time. To use, remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature before consuming.

Here’s how you should do it:

1. Take off the packaging first. Then cut each piece into smaller pieces or bread cubes.

2. Arrange the pieces in layers separated by parchment paper.

3. Wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil.

4. Seal the package well to prevent further loss of crunchiness.

5. Leave it in the fridge until ready to serve.

How to Store Croutons in the Freezer

Freezing homemade croutons is ideal for those who love to freeze things. By doing this, you’ll save space in your kitchen. You can also try freezing them in individual portions. That way, you can easily grab some whenever you’re craving something crispy. Plus, you won’t need to worry about thawing them later. All you need to do is take them straight from the freezer to the microwave. Defrost them in 30 seconds per side. Once done, enjoy!

With that, here are the steps on how to store it:

1. Makes sure they are dry. You may place the packages in the microwave over medium heat to make sure they are completely dry.

2. Spread out the pieces evenly across a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

3 Freeze overnight.

4. Transfer the frozen croutons to a resealable bag.

6. Return to the freezer.

7. Enjoy when you are ready

How to Reheat Homemade Croutons

You can reheat homemade croutons just like regular ones. But make sure not to overcook them since they have already been cooked through. So, warm them up in the oven or microwave. For the microwave, set the timer for 30 seconds and check if they are done. Or else, bake them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes.

The following are the steps to follow while heating them in a pan on the stove top.

1. Defrost them thoroughly first

2. Heat low to medium setting for 5 minutes.

3. Turn off the stove. Let cool down for five minutes.

4. Serve immediately.

How Long Do Croutons Last

Homemade croutons last almost as long when stored properly as store-bought croutons. If you store them in an airtight container, then they will keep fresh for two weeks. However, if you put them in the refrigerator, they will stay good for only 30 days. The best option in storing them is in the freezer. They will remain crisp even after six months.

On the other hand, store-bought croutons if they have lots of preservatives last quite a long time – but I like ones without preservatives. Some brands contain preservatives that prevent their deterioration. Others use artificial flavors and colors. And still, others add salt to enhance flavor.  So check the packaging carefully

So, what makes homemade croutons so much healthier? It all depends on the ingredients used in cooking. With homemade croutons, you get more nutrients compared to store-bought ones.

How Long Do Croutons Last
How Long Do Croutons Last

How to Customize Croutons

Croutons are versatile enough to go along with any meal. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert, you can always make croutons in different ways according to what you want to eat. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Add cheese
  • Mix different types of nuts.
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried herbs
  • Dried oregano
  • Onion powder
  • Dried Parsley
  • Other Fresh herbs
  • Use other ingredients such as bacon bits, olives, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, etc. can make sweet croutons.
  • Make them bite-size so kids can munch on them too.

How to Use Homemade Leftover Croutons in Different Ways

If you have made extra croutons and don’t know how to use them, here are some great recipes where you can incorporate leftover croutons:

  • Serve them alongside soups and stews.
  • Top salads with them.
  • Sprinkle them onto sandwiches.
  • Stuff them inside chicken breasts before roasting.
  • Put them atop pizza crusts.
  • Spread them on top of baked potatoes.
  • Use the leftovers in mini quiches to have a crunchy crust. 
  • Crush them into tiny bits and use them as bread crumbs for fried dishes.  
  • Sprinkle them into some baked dishes for crunchy toppings. 

How to Make Homemade Crunchy Croutons (Easy Homemade Crouton Recipe)

If you want to have the best type of bread for croutons, we suggest you get any loaf of bread or stale bread pieces in your kitchen. If you want to achieve very crunchy croutons, use French bread, ciabatta bread, or sourdough bread. They go great in soup with dried parsley.

If you prefer to make some than serve store-bought croutons, then follow this recipe:

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 10 cups of homemade croutons

Ingredients: 

  • 2 loaves of bread or French bread, or any leftover bread of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or black pepper, parsley, garlic, and salt)
  • or 1 tsp of garlic powder(optional) makes a great garlic crouton
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

1. Prepare the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Make 1-inch cubed bread. 

3. Place them into a medium-sized bowl and coat them with extra virgin olive oil or melted butter.

4. Add the Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Add more according to our preferred taste. 

5. Transfer the bread cubes onto a clean baking sheet with parchment paper. 

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Make sure it is toasted with a crunchy texture and golden brown in color. 

7. If you want to make breadcrumbs from crispy croutons, place them into a food processor or crush them using a rolling pin.

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