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Something that looks like cobwebs in baked goods

so a co-worker came to me with a question I could not answer.
She bought some trader joe's pumpkin bread mix and added canned pumpkin to make a nice moist tasty extra pumpkin-y bread. She left it on the counter for two days and cut into it only to find what looked like cobwebs. We're guessing crystalized sugar. Does anyone have a clue about this? It wasn't there the first few days after baking. Thanks!

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    1. sounds like bugs that started webbing
      I have had that several times
      I just throw it out........
      its a shame.......

      1. Thanks for jumping in first bostonfoodie, b/c that's what I thought. I just didn't have the nerve to suggest it first.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hbgrrl

          no problem. I think if something looks weird, don't eat it. Better safe than sorry. I will NEVER forget when I was in college and baked some goodies for my then boyfriend and when we were chatting about a week later he mentioned that the blueberry muffins I baked were gone. BLUEBERRY?? I baked CORN. Eeek. You can figure out the rest. I guess he was inoculated for sometime. LOL.

          1. re: bostonfoodie111

            Oh I like that story. I got a good chuckle out of it.


            1. re: Davwud

              Thanks - I STILL do and haven't been in college in a looong time. :)

            2. re: bostonfoodie111

              I give up- what the hell was it? I gotta find out!

          2. This sounds like pantry moths! We think these were introduced to our house by a big box of oatmeal. After throwing away a lot of grains, etc., we think we won the fight. However, last night I went to use my chili pepper flakes and guess what had taken up residence! They are nasty buggers and your friend should wrap up the bread and the box the mix came in in a plastic bag and toss it (if they haven't already).

            10 Replies
            1. re: kate used to be 50

              if the cobwebby things were in the *mix* I'd agree, but I don't think they'd show up in cooked goods in a matter of 2 days. I've only ever seen those in boxes of flour or rice or whatnot. And for the record, they really like chocolate as I discovered when I had worms (ok larvae) crawling out of a lighly cooked topping. Yuk.

              1. re: DGresh

                I was thinking the pantry months are in the kitchen and attack the bread after it was sitting on the counter top.

              2. re: kate used to be 50

                Kate we've been fighting these for years. I've thrown everything away and just can't seem to get rid of them. They like spices and seeds. We brought them in with birdseed. No more bird but the moths stayed. I notice them everywhere now. Other people's homes, the grocery stores...today I was at Michael's craft store and they were buzzing around. If the grocery stores have them, how am I ever going to get rid of them. I think they're under control and they come back. They do go dormant during the winter but come spring, they're back.

                1. re: mrsmegawatt

                  I so feel your pain. I threw every grain,flour, nut and piece of cardboard that was in my cabinets out (yep, expensive). Then I wiped down all the shelving with clorox cleaner. Did get some this summer and realized they had laid eggs in the shelf support holes in the cabinets, so same drill. Now any grains, flours or the like that comes into the house goes into a plastic bag. This summer/spring season wasn't nearly as bad as last years and I haven't seen any in over 2 months (said with fingers crossed).

                  Hate 'em!

                  1. re: kate used to be 50

                    Kate I was curious as to how you figured out they were in the support holes in your cabinet? I'm wishing I could crawl in there with a flash light and a magnifying glass. What evidence did they leave?

                    1. re: mrsmegawatt

                      They were just reaching maturity and I saw one of the bodies in the hole, so that made me look at the other support holes!

                  2. re: mrsmegawatt

                    i'm here to tell you, I had an invasion that ever-so silently got WAY out of control. I vacuumed out the entire cabinet, threw almost everything in it away, sprayed with bug spray (which I really, really hate to do, everything. I now put anything they like in glass or silicone-sealed plastic, and the little bastiges are still there. A friend who happens to be an entymologist told me that she had an infestation in her apartment in Oregon, and the bugs were living in the actual shelving, living on either the wood or the adhesive used with plywood and particle board. I think I also have them in my pots and pans cabinet, which I know for a fact hasn't had food anywhere near it on well over ten years. I need to nuke my kitchen of all wood and start over. meanwhile I use those sticky flour moth traps with the hormone lure stuck on it in all cabinets. Ecologically safe and it works, but only on the bugs that are of flying age.

                  3. re: kate used to be 50

                    Just a day or two ago, I found moths in my tub of chili flakes - that was the last place I expected them! Was bummed to have to chuck the whole tub :(

                    1. re: bobbyperu

                      That is what happened to me too!!! Although I was lucky and at the end of my bottle of chili flakes.

                  4. So, how can you tell if they are in your flour, etc.? Many of my spices are in glass, but the flours are in paper (except for the pastry flour, which is in plastic bag). I saw what must have been one of these creatures in a baking shop. I bought parchment paper there. The parchment paper was unwrapped because they divide up larger boxes of the sheets and sell them. I am afraid I brought them (the moths) home.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: bruce

                      Many times when they're present, the little moths fly out when you open the cupboard.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Their eggs are in a lot of things you buy (don't think about that - shudder) but if you take your bag or flour, rice, etc and freeze it over night, it neutralizes them. also, it's good to decant that kind of stuff into a clamp-top rubber o-ringed glass jar

                        1. re: bobbyperu

                          Yes, I have started keeping all my rice in the freezer because of this. It is so gross.

                      2. re: bruce

                        Bruce, I've found the webbing and larvae in spice bottles made of glass. They work their way around the threads where you screw on the lids. I'm ordering clamp down 4 oz. jars from the container store. That's the kind of thing I keep my flour, sugar, cornstarch, rice, cornmeal in. I'm still fighting them. Glass with screw on lids isn't fool proof.

                        1. re: mrsmegawatt

                          I think it is more likely that there were eggs in spices. Which later hatched. It has happened to me frequently.

                          1. re: Becca Porter

                            Becca, in this instance, I've found their shell like larvae sheddings in the thread paths of the screw top part of the jars. That's why I thought they either got in or out that way. Did you happen to get rid of yours completely or are you still fighting them?

                      3. Well, looks like I'll spend some time rearranging my (small) freezer.... Thanks for the tips, all.

                        1. I had something like this happen to me once when I first learned to bake. I was new to it, and what I did was bake the bread (Irish soda bread in my case), then wrap it in foil while still hot. I thought this would be the best way to store it since I wasn't going to be using it for a day or two. I was kind of an idiot.

                          When I eventually cut into it, it had cobwebby-like strings and tasted sour. I'd go with the mold suggestion.

                          1. I've fought these buggers for years doing everything mentioned above and now I currently freeze my bags of flour (to kill larvae) and then store in Rubbermaid container and bags in fridge. They don't like straight sugar or brown sugar but love many spices esp. Hungarian Paprika, I keep my tin in the freezer now. I just ordered pheromone traps online after looking around for them in hardware stores, I was given some from a friend of an exterminator and they kept them at bay. I still manage to get them every summer!!!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: 4chowpups

                              4chowpups, they sell those at home depot if you have one near. The best brand I've found is called Safer. They're around $6 for 2.

                              1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                Thanks Mrsmegawatt, I just saw your post...I just got my traps in the mail but I know I'll need more...!

                            2. This whole thread is a great one to read to refrain from indulging in unnecessary cravings - just killed my late afternoon munchies!

                              I think I might have to clean out my spice cupboard tonight.

                              1. I had never heard of these pantry moths! Apparently, there's all kinds of "pantry pests"! http://www.cyberpestcontrol.com/pantr... Hope I never have to deal with them! (Kind of reminds me of The Green Mile!)

                                1. Well to chime in--I had Indian meal moths for 11 years I was in my (outside) Chicago home. When we redid our kitchen and ripped out the cabinets they were all behind there. They nest in, as was already mentioned, the screw tops of spices, any flour type product, dog food, bird seed, etc. When they hatch they are larvae(about 3/4" long) that seek higher ground and so you'll find them crawling up and they gather on the ceiling. It's horrible but fortunately my hubbie is 6'4". Anyway, because they seek higher ground I never had them in my actual flour which was stored low in a Tupperware container. I did the freezing thing, plastic bags, and an exterminator followed up with the pheromone traps. You have to watch it like a hawk. They were on the decline when we moved to S. Cal. After 2 months here they have come crawling out of the furniture they were nestled in. AAAAgggghh. Back to pheromone traps and if they continue back to the exterminator before it gets out of hand. (Sob)
                                  I got the traps from www.bugclinic.com. If you see the strings, slow flying brown moths that leave dust when you kill them, that's likely what you've got!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ccarr

                                    Was that (Sob) or (S.O.B.)? Or both?

                                  2. These eco-friendly, foodsafe, pantry moth traps from "Gardens Alive" worked! http://www.gardensalive.com/product.a...
                                    The moths have been gone for good here for over 2 years (& counting...) after only one round of use. We did not need to replace the "lure" after 3 months, and the moths began to disappear within days of positioning 2 of the simple cardboard "traps" on an upper and lower shelf of our 6 1/2' tall by 4' wide 18th c. wooden food store (cupboard).
                                    I put them on top of boxes out of sight, did not hang them in full view - as they get pretty ugly with the dead critters fast, though can be thrown out and replaced as often as you like. Simply wait for a few days of no flying activity, and most likely you're done with them - and they with you - for good. Least this has been our experience, and we live in an old colonial farmhouse with a dirt basement and more crevices and holes and warmly hospitable hiding places than we ever counted pantry moths.
                                    (If only there were a comparable invention for clothes moths.
                                    These pantry moth traps actually catch the moths and end their breeding cycle - clothes moth traps only confirm they're there. As if the holes in your clothing weren't enough news...
                                    ) I've pasted the info from Gardens Alive below, which includes mention of the fine "netting" you saw, besides the moths. I have no connection with the company, though as an organic gardener, have used their fine products for over 15 years, and have the highest regard for them.

                                    Hope you will end up as satisfied - and freed of the horrible pests. They were in everything, and no amount of washing or tossing or embalming things in plastic or tins worked.

                                    PANTRY MOTH TRAPS: http://www.gardensalive.com/product.a...

                                    From the "Gardens Alive" webpage:

                                    Has this ever happened to you? You open a box of cereal and find the contents clinging to the sides of the box in a mass of fine webs...or perhaps you've seen small, brownish moths flitting around a cupboard...or tiny cocoons and larvae in your dry pasta. Chances are, Indian meal moths (a.k.a. "pantry moths" or "flour moths") are at work in your pantry. Stop them with Cupboard Moth Trap
                                    * It effectively traps Indian meal moths. In extensive tests we found that these innovative traps caught more Indian meal moths than other traps. The little brown moths attack flour, grains, seeds, cereal, chocolate, cake mixes, rice, nuts, dried fruit, dog food, birdseed-even tea, herbs and spices. Their larvae hatch in stored food.

                                    * It works wherever food is stored. Place the cardboard traps in cabinets and pantries with food; they’re non-toxic and free of pesticides.

                                    * It uses both sight and scent to lure moths The traps attract moths with powerful pheromones, as well as a patented black-and-white printed pattern, then catch them on the large sticky surface.

                                    If your house is overrun by Mediterranean flour moths, almond moths or tobacco moths, the traps also catch these food-attacking moths.

                                    Lures last for 12 weeks, after which you can replace the lure or hang a fresh trap.

                                    1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this, but bay leaves help keep them away too. After being plagued with the moths for a long time in my last house, I now keep a couple of bay leaves in my flour canister and in my cupboards where I store other grain products.

                                      1. I've had good luck with the Safer traps too, and the design is a little more discreet than the design above. We were overun with the little buggers as well. Yes, they DO manage to get in to sealed containers, etc, but since using the Safer traps have been clear for over 2 years. I believe we got them from bringing birdseed into the house, too.


                                        1. Thank you, Angel Food, for the "biconet" link that showed the Safer traps - they're clearly, as you wrote, "a little more discreet" than the Gardens Alive design, and more easily looked at, besides disposed of. Also discovered, thanks to your reference to the link, that there do exist clothes moth traps, something we've needed round here for, well, probably three centuries... So, thank you. Though I hope both our households continue to extend our two year stretches of freedom from the pantry pests, and have no further use of the traps. With help from biconet, perhaps the same will be true soon as far as the clothes moths..... Conversations about cooking are far more delightful.....

                                          1. Thank goodness I've not had this problem, but as a precaution I have purchased on Ebay those very large, vintage glass canning jars that I put all my dry goods into, flour, sugar, rice, spices etc.

                                            1. Re all these moth problems,I too had the problem, I read several ways to get rid of them,putting spearmint gum & bay leaves in the cabinets.I did both of these and they are gone ,not sure which one or both did it,not important but no more moths!
                                              P.S. I would not shop at a store that had bugs/moths obviously flying around,contact the manager and bring it to their attention!

                                              1. that happened to me this morning okay so i have nothing in the house o eat and so i looked through the pantry found some cornbread sealed tight not opened nothing i open it in side the plastic is a bunch of cobwebs so gross... they are mixed in with the cornbread mix too how did they get in there though if the box or plastic were both selaled shut?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: makj1115

                                                  They didn't get in once it was sealed. They were already in the cornbread mix when it was put in the container.