13 Bulk Buying Tips

Slimy Lettuce, Sprouting Potatoes & Moldy Tomatoes?

I’m often asked why I shop at Costco. After all, my children are grown and I shop for a family of two. We all know there’s no savings if you throw away food purchased in bulk.

Some small families have stopped their grocery warehouse memberships because they end up tossing unused food. That’s a shame, because the savings from warehouse purchases are decisive.

In addition to purchasing food in bulk at warehouse stores, buy food in season when it’s the cheapest and also when it’s on sale at the whole foods or grocery store. Grocery stores now carry lots of organic items. Sometimes the grocery store sale items are cheaper than in whole food stores.

I seldom throw excess food away, because I have managed to use it or store it. Over the years, I’ve learned some tricks to keeping food fresher longer.

Katelyn is retrieving stored nuts from the pantry.

I posted 12 Money-Saving Food-Extending Tips a little over a year ago. The following food-extending helps for purchasing food in bulk are in addition to those.

1. The first money saving tip is to purchase a freezer. Use the money you save by buying in bulk. I couldn’t live without mine. If you don’t have much room, a small half freezer holds enough to make those double loaves of bread last long enough to eat. When you don’t have room for  huge bags of frozen veggies and fruit in your refrigerator freezer, there’s plenty of room in a extra freezer.

2. Place a paper towel under lettuce and spinach leaves to absorb moisture. Lettuce will keep a week in your refrigerator. Obviously if you eat more produce, it won’t have an opportunity to spoil. We eat a salad almost every day. There’s seldom any spoilage. The same thing goes for that giant container of spinach. Add spinach to salads and scrambled eggs. I have a favorite spinach and tomato casserole, which uses about half the container.

3. To keep parsley fresh, clip off the ends and place in a jar of water. I change the water every couple of days. Originally, I recommended to place the jar in the refrigerator. What I’ve found is the parsley stays fresher longer in the jar of water on my counter.

4. I have a second pantry in my basement. If you live in Arizona or California you may not have a basement. The basement is cool and dark, so food will store longer. You can keep onions, garlic and potatoes in a bucket or basket in the basement. That way they can breathe. Be sure to store away from each other. Bring up a few at a time as needed.

5. Garlic comes in a humongous bag at Costco. If you keep it too long the pungent aroma will certainly overtake the house. Peel garlic, place in a freezer bag and freeze. Take out individual cloves when needed.

6. Peel and slice onions before they go bad. Place each onion in a baggie and freeze. Take out and add frozen to stir fries and stews.

7. A 20-pound bag of brown rice or a bag of quinoa will last a long time in your freezer.

8. I purchase organic red peppers when they are discounted at the whole foods store, because they’re on the Dirty Dozen list. (Costco sells them six to a bag.) Immediately, wash, chop and place each pepper in a baggie. Freeze for future use. Take out frozen slices and add to stir fries, stews, etc.

9. Avocados come 5 to a bag at Costco. I not only use them in dips, salads and salsas, I now freeze ripe avocados! Keep them on the counter until ripe. Then either refrigerate or cut them in half, remove the seed and freeze in saran wrap or a vacuum sealer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight for use in recipes that call for mashed avocados: guacamole, chocolate mousse, you can even sneak a little into a smoothie, and we love to add them mashed to tacos.

10. Purchase a food dehydrator to make banana and apple chips with ripe fruit.

11. That 10-pound bag of carrots will last weeks (if not months) in the veggie bin of your refrigerator.

12. Instead of purchasing fresh blueberries and strawberries and watching them grow moldy, buy organic frozen berries. Take out the amount you need and the rest stays fresh in your freezer.

13. Those large plastic containers of tomatoes can quickly mold. Mold enters a tomato through the stem. Place a piece of tap over the stem end and set on a flat surface, such as a counter. Tomatoes will keep a week this way.

You’ll want to check out My Unofficial Costco Organic Foods List: Click Here.

For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

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