November 2, 2012

Buying in Bulk

Shoppers have enjoyed the convenience of buying in bulk for a number of years. My own bulk buying experiences have been hit and miss at best, but I recently discovered just how convenient
buying in bulk can be.

There are a number of advantages to buying in bulk:

- some items are available only in bulk
- you can choose the quantity
- bulk prices are usually less than packaged prices
- less packaging
- less additives and preservatives when you make your own meals and mixes
- more variety
- often healthy alternatives not always otherwise available

When you buy in bulk it's a good idea to get your cupboards in order. There are a number of ways you can store bulk items:

- recycled plastic containers and glass jars
- Rubbermaid or Ziploc containers (4 4-cup Ziploc containers cost less than $2)
- resealable bags
- for some items (e.g. oatmeal) you can re-use the original container

A key to bulk storage is labeling. Make sure all containers are air-tight and clearly labeled and dated. Bulk items have a long shelf life because they have been prepared with long-term storage in mind. For more bulk storage ideas see (no longer a valid URL).

I've always wondered if bulk items are as fresh as packaged. In my experience bulk items have been very fresh--even raisins! You'd be amazed at all the things you can buy in bulk. Here's a partial list to get you thinking of the possibilities:

- flours
- cornmeal
- spices
- chocolate, carob, peanut butter, butterscotch chips
- raisins
- sugars

- granolas
- oats (regular, quick-cooking)
- rice (all kinds)
- cereals (all kinds)

Dried Fruits:
- pineapple
- apricots
- raisins
- papaya
- bananas
- apples
- cranberries
- prunes
- dates

- split peas
- navy beans
- pinto beans
- kidney beans
- soy beans
- soup blends

- spaghetti
- lasagna
- elbow macaroni
- egg noodles (all shapes and sizes)

- peanuts
- sunflower seeds
- almonds (whole, slivered)
- walnuts

- sun-dried tomatoes
- peppers