Can you reuse breadcrumbs that have already been used?
Debating with friends whether you can reuse breadcrumbs that egg battered fish were dipped in if I froze it immediately and will cook with it immediately. Everyone says "no" but I don't understand why when you can freeze raw egg, freeze raw meat and no bacteria would have time to grow freezing it immediately and then cooking immediately! Thanks in advance.
My immediate response would be No too and why bother when breadcrumbs are inexpensive and easy to make yourself, but not being a professional chef or food scientist, I passed this question on to Chef Mark Vogel. You may remember Mark from one of my earliest Novice2Pro interviews and from several great articles he has contributed to the site.
Here's what Mark had to say on this matter:
First of all, freezing does not KILL bacteria, nor does it even completely stop their growth. Rather it inhibits it. Frozen food will eventually go bad.
Second, the used breadcrumbs that have come into contact with the raw fish can possibly have bacteria on them while fresh breadcrumbs would not.
Now, with those two things said, how much actual risk would there be if the used breadcrumbs were indeed frozen immediately, used in the near future and cooked to a temperature that would kill bacteria? Probably not much.
But as cheap as breadcrumbs are, why take any unnecessary chances? Moreover, there isn't a food on the planet that tastes better after being frozen, (except foods that are frozen in their natural state like ice cream). Fresh breadcrumbs will taste better than fishy, frozen breadcrumbs.