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Chris Amirault

It's Better To Buy In Bulk

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I'm confused. Is this about buying from the bulk bins or buying bulk quantities ala costco? Alot of the bulk bin buying depends on how fast things turnover at your particular store. The nice thing about the bins is that you can control how much of the product that you purchase. I wanted to try chia & flax seeds in my smoothies so I was glad the WF bulk bin had them so I would't get stuck with a huge supply of them if I found out I didn't like them.


"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

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Yes, and most grocery stores have bulk spices. I love Whole Foods' bulk spice section by the bulk foods. They also usually have a table someplace near cheese with preportioned amounts of a spice they are just offering for a short while. They are priced like the bulk spices but are usually something not that common, like long pepper or Ras el hanout, two things I've found there recently. I got a decent amount for about 2 bucks.

Where are you that your stores all have bulk spice bins?! I wish! I buy most of my spices from Penzey and often wish they would sell out of bulk or at least offer some packaging recycling program for the small jars. I suppose I should venture further afield but I think the transit cost would probably outweigh any financial savings.


"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

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Yes, and most grocery stores have bulk spices. I love Whole Foods' bulk spice section by the bulk foods. They also usually have a table someplace near cheese with preportioned amounts of a spice they are just offering for a short while. They are priced like the bulk spices but are usually something not that common, like long pepper or Ras el hanout, two things I've found there recently. I got a decent amount for about 2 bucks.

Where are you that your stores all have bulk spice bins?! I wish! I buy most of my spices from Penzey and often wish they would sell out of bulk or at least offer some packaging recycling program for the small jars. I suppose I should venture further afield but I think the transit cost would probably outweigh any financial savings.

We have them here in Chicago. Some Whole Foods locations have them, and we also have a great shop called The Spice House - which is heaven to shop in!

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Yes, and most grocery stores have bulk spices. I love Whole Foods' bulk spice section by the bulk foods. They also usually have a table someplace near cheese with preportioned amounts of a spice they are just offering for a short while. They are priced like the bulk spices but are usually something not that common, like long pepper or Ras el hanout, two things I've found there recently. I got a decent amount for about 2 bucks.

Where are you that your stores all have bulk spice bins?! I wish! I buy most of my spices from Penzey and often wish they would sell out of bulk or at least offer some packaging recycling program for the small jars. I suppose I should venture further afield but I think the transit cost would probably outweigh any financial savings.

I am also in the US, like you; I'm in Oregon. Here almost every store has bulk spices, but I am always surprised at how many people are not aware of it. So where I live we have Winco, which is like the old Cub Foods. They have bulk spices in a corner of their bulk foods, back by bulk honey. It's pretty regular things, like dried thyme and garlic powder. Then our regular grocery has it too, it's called Fred Meyer's. It's in the natural foods section. Our other regular grocery, Safeway, is the only store here that doesn't offer them.

Then we have a co-op here, they have a really good selection. It was the only place I could get bulk juniper berries for the Modernist Cuisine pastrami. And Whole Foods has it here along side the bulk section. They have a good selection as well.

The spices always seem to be in a cubby that looks kind of like this:

http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/wfm3(2).jpg

You scoop the spices into little bags and label them with the number on the canister. Often people see these displays and think they are just for selling bulk tea.

I noticed on the internet that you have a Penzey's in Falls Church. They aren't cheap, but they sure are good. I am envious. There is also a place called Indian Spices, that sounds promising. Do you have any natural foods co-ops? I don't think I've ever seen one that didn't sell bulk spices. I would also call around to your major grocery stores and ask if they sell them. Good luck.

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I buy bulk herbs and spices locally at a health food store.

They have a very rapid turnover and everything is always quite fresh.

You can serve yourself and I do this if I'm just buying one herb or spice, but I usually am buying several things so I give my list, with amounts I need, to the clerk who is in charge of that area, go off to do the rest of my shopping and when I return everything has been weighed, bagged, labeled and priced so the checker doesn't have to do it.

I have to say the clerk is very generous, she always seems to give me a bit more than I listed and a few extra grams of something as light as dried lavender, is a fair amount.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Raw coffee beans! Easy to roast, as varied as wine, and store just like other dried beans. Many Ethiopian Restaurants/Markets have them locally, or raw beans are easy to find on line in 20 pound bags.

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I buy all of my spices from the bulk section at my great local coop. The reason I do this is because they are fresher, organic, and I can buy as little or as much as I need for the short time they are at their best. Perhaps I shouldn't call it buying in bulk, but instead buying by weight, which is more economical because there is less waste and it's less expensive.

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Penzy's pushes dried herbs (mint, basil, parsley, etc.) that taste like sawdust. Avoid, avoid, AVOID.

They also push maybe 100 spice mixes that are nearly identical, in wildly overpriced tiny tins. I do like the Sandwich Sprinkle as a seasoned salt, though. Get the spices individually.

Better by far is Kalustyan's http://www.kalustyans.com/default.asp I was there last week when the clerk opened up a bottle of vanilla beans, and within 30 seconds you could smell them through the whole store.

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Penzy's pushes dried herbs (mint, basil, parsley, etc.) that taste like sawdust. Avoid, avoid, AVOID.

They also push maybe 100 spice mixes that are nearly identical, in wildly overpriced tiny tins. I do like the Sandwich Sprinkle as a seasoned salt, though. Get the spices individually.

Better by far is Kalustyan's http://www.kalustyans.com/default.asp I was there last week when the clerk opened up a bottle of vanilla beans, and within 30 seconds you could smell them through the whole store.

k43, you might enjoy Old Bay Garlic and Herb, as a sprinkle. I REALLY like it on cottage cheese, or in scrambled eggs. I also have a feeling it would make a sliced tomato very happy!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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For bulk spices in the NoVA area, try MOMs (My Organic Market) in Alexandria. They don't have an enormous variety, but it's a resource for spices you can weigh yourself.

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Hmm, bulk spices? Out of an open bin? Or are the bins sealed? Nonetheless, I'd expect those to air out and oxidize much faster than those in glasse or tins, no?

I buy curry in tins at middle eastern stores because I use a lot when I cook with it, I'd easy use up a McCormick glass in one dish, but other spices I can't quite imagine getting from a bulk bin. The idea of a spice store sounds so lovely though, I actually thought about opening one a while ago. But I doubt it's a feasible business idea in my town, rents are way too high.

I think the only time I buy bulk bin stuff is before Christmas for our cookie baking marathon. I don't eat cereals and other such things, I can't really find anything in the bins that I need all that much. I get nuts at Trader Joe's which seems a good deal and since they are sealed I tend to think they'll keep well for a while, I'd not be so sure with nuts that sat in a bin who knows how long.

Actually, how do you know your store - and the particular thing you buy - has a pretty good turn over? They sell pine nuts in bulk at Safeway here, but those things go rancid so fast that I simply don't trust them. And the packaged ones at Trader Joes are cheaper too, oddly.

Same with coffee, Safeway and Whole Food have bulk coffee beans, but how do I know how long they sat there?


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Having just spent yesterday battling an invasion of pantry moths that appear to have come from a couple of large bags of nuts, I'm feeling pretty ambivalent about bulk buying at the moment (:sad: and now that I'm off work I had PLANS for them too!!). Those things eat through plastic!

That said, I do find it worth it if I KNOW I'm going to get through everything in a timely fashion (eg flour), and I'm less ambivalent about tinned goods, which don't have quite the same risk as dry goods. I do buy two or three 'flats' of 12xtins of Aldi's organic tomatoes at a time, and I also buy tinned chickpeas in larger quantities.

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I like buying the larger bags of whole coffee beans at Costco. I've gotten to the point where I won't buy a 1-lb. bag anymore because the 2-lb. bags at Costco cost as much as a 1-lb. bag anywhere else.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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The vanilla thread has me thinking that I guess I buy vanilla beans in bulk. There's a seller on Ebay that sells them super cheap and I use them both "as is" and to make extract. It costs the same for a 1/4 lb of beans there as three would cost in a store.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Stanly's greengrocer, just West of the Cicago river on North Ave in Chicago has good bulk oil and good fruit.

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Hmm, bulk spices? Out of an open bin? Or are the bins sealed? Nonetheless, I'd expect those to air out and oxidize much faster than those in glasse or tins, no?

The stores that sell bulk spices here mostly have them in large glass canisters where the lids seal closed with a gasket. The containers are clear, but they turn over product pretty fast so the spoilage/dimishing flavor chances are pretty slim.

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I eat granola every am and make my own so oats, nuts, dried cranberries, and bing cherries, honey, and canola oil are purchased in bulk., recipie here: Beazley House Granolahttp://www.beazleyhouse.com/beazleysview/2010/07/beazley_house_granola/. Our after dinner snack is the fancy mix nuts w/ chrystal dark chocolate raisins and dried cranberries so these again are purchased in bulk. I use a lot of rubs on my proteins and have this "pre made" ready to go using spices purchased in bulk. Also with the dried beans as I am freezing chili's and soups for the season. I generally purchase this all at Whole Foods were they sometimes have a 20% off bulk sale, and where I see them replenishing their stock regularly. I have also noticed that the pricing at Whole Foods has become more reasonable and am taking advantage of their Friday early bird butcher sales that I get notice of from subscribing to their website. At Costco, I will get some meats in bulk and vacuum freeze them in portions, I also get my chicken stock, canned tomatoes, and olive oil there - olive oil for cooking and for rubbing into my black granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. My husband eats egg/egg white omelets every day so we buy our eggs and Tilamook sharp cheddar in bulk at Costco or Smart & Final. Our Whole Foods also has almond and peanut grinders, so we get our peanut butter there also. Ghiradelli Chocolate chips are purchased in the super large size package as is butter. I think I save a lot of money and time getting these items stocked in my pantry and freezer so meal planning is easier, in most cases I just need my produce to complete my meals.

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Anything leguminous in a Middle eastern store. I get my red lentils for lentil soup for .89 cents a pound. And they go through a lot so they're pretty fresh, although I think they have a pretty long shelf life anyways. Winco (a local chain with a huge bulk section) has bulk ghirardelli 56% chocolate for $2.99 a pound. It's totally worth braving the sketchy people in the store (affectionately named "Meth Costco" ) once a month to stock up. The problem is I generally buy too much and then I have to figure out where to store it!

The WinCo store in my area is a very nice store and is in a prime location.

I like their bulk grains, cereals, pasta, pilaf, couscous &etc. As there is a great deal of ethnic diversity in the area, even those products have a rapid turnover.

I don't buy candy but their prices are excellent and the specials on seasonal candies are less than other stores.

I like that it is an employee-owned store. I even like bagging my own groceries.

I'll agree that it might be just my Winco that's kind of questionable. I went to a different one last week, and it was much cleaner and all around nicer. I'm totally with you that I'd rather bag my own groceries. When someone bags them for me, I always end up with the raw meat on top of the bread on top of the bananas. I have taken to buying my flour, sugar, etc there as well, they are about half the price of buying them bagged up.


If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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Winco is expanding their locations rapidly and in many places are contending strongly with Walmart, especially because so many people like being able to buy staples in bulk.

A friend who lives near Perris, and who cooks for her family plus a group home for young people with mild disabilities, has found that she can produce better meals, without increasing costs, simply by buying at Winco.

She has to keep careful records of her expenditures and the board that supervises the home is very impressed with the way she is managing. And the clients are so happy with the food that she has been asked by the board to conduct an instructional "seminar" for other group home managers and cooks in the county.

One of my neighbors buys bakery items for club meetings, she belongs to several local women's groups, and is especially fond of their bagels. They may not be truly traditional, but are quite tasty.

The pies and cakes are also very popular and I often see them at potluck parties.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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