Monday, October 22, 2012

Buying Bulk

I like to think that I am a pretty "green" person.  I try to use sustainable items such as cotton napkins, limit my paper towel usage, my hubby uses a handkerchief instead of a million Kleenexes... the list could go on and on.  One thing I love doing is buying in bulk from my local Co-Op.  This area is great because you can control how much you want to buy.  Most bulk areas have everything from herbs, flours, sugars, nuts/seeds, beans, rice, honey, dried fruits, oils... the list really goes on and on.

For example today I got the following from the bulk department:
GF Flour mix
Curry Powder
Wild Rice
Split Peas
Raw Honey

What I like to do is use mason jars to store everything.  I bring them into the store with me.  The key to doing this is that you have to weigh your jar before you put your item in it.  This way the cashiers can tare out the weight of the jar and you won't pay for more than you have to.  Many co-ops also have baggies, plastic dishes and such to put your items in too.  But I find it easier and greener to bring my own containers.  The only ones I didn't do this for was for the curry powder because I didn't have a small enough item to put it in and the GF flour mix because I didn't have a container large enough for it.

What most people may or may not know about the bulk area is that prices are about 1/2 of what they would be already packaged.  Also if you use a lot of something you can generally order a 25lbs bag of something which is often even cheaper.  Another thing is if you have food allergies make sure you read labels.  This area isn't very good about labeling for specific allergies but they do have ingredients listed.

Some people ask why I like storing in mason jars.  Here's my really simple answer... because I can throw them in the dishwasher to clean them and they are ready again to be filled with bulk goodness.  I am also very careful about plastic because a lot of it starts to leach chemicals over time.  Also it doesn't last as long as glass.  I use a canning ring and top to keep everything closed which when not heated is reusable too.

I hope you all take a little tour to your co-op and check out the bulk department.  You won't be disappointed, I promise!      

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