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It's good on your wallet – and the planet.
Purchasing foods in bulk is beneficial for two reasons: 1) It means a lower price for the consumer due to lower production costs, and, 2) It's good for the environment as package-free foods allow for zero or limited waste.
But, before you start scooping, there are a few things you need to know about buying in bulk— such as what to buy and how to store it. Below, our go-to tips.
1. Buy just what you need.
Not only can over-buying lead to a hefty bill, but it can also lead to wasted food. Only buy what you need and have the space to store.
2. Try new foods.
Buying in bulk gives you the opportunity to try new foods. Purchase a small quantity of dfferent spices, flours or grains, and you may find a new go-to ingredient to add to your cooking or baking rotation.
3. Properly store your goods.
To keep your bulk purchases at their freshest, opt for glass containers with an airtight seal. Food jars (those that once held jam, sauce or pickles) and Mason jars work well. Plastic tupperware can be used for short-term storage, but glass is preferred for long-term solutions, to ensure no chemicals will be leaching into the goods. Finally, be sure to label the contents of each jar.
4. Know the shelf life.
When it comes to buying in bulk, not all items fare equally. At the top of the list for freshness is white rice, which can last almost indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Brown and wild rice last about 6 months. Dried pasta can last a couple of years, and dried beans, lentils and fruits will maintain their freshness for about a year. Be careful of over-buying nuts and spices, as the former goes rancid over time, and the latter loses its potency.
5. Store some goods in your fridge and freezer
Once nuts are de-shelled, they’re best bagged and popped into the freezer to extend their shelf life. Nut butters bought in bulk will last for months in the refrigerator. As for flour, it should be placed in the freezer for 48 hours, as soon as you get home from the store, to kill any pests.