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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Frugal Kitchens 101 - General Bulk Buying Tips

Frugal Kitchens 101
Last week I discussed how bulk buying could save you money as well as the types of places to shop at for your bulk food purchases. Today I will share some general bulk food buying tips to help make your experience enjoyable.

  1. plan ahead - Quite often you will have to drive out of your way to get to a good bulk food source. If you are planning on going to a poultry processing plant factory outlet find out their hours ahead of time and plot the trip to maximize the trip to include other bulk food sources stops on your route. Print out a map with the route clearly marked along with each stop. Don't forget to bring a list of what you want at each stop. Plan so frozen foods are picked up on your last stop if possible.
  2. containers - When picking up meat from abattoirs and butcher shops bring sturdy cardboard boxes or re-usable plastic bins. If you are bringing large quantities of frozen meats home in warmer months bring an old heavy comforter to cover the boxes of meat. This will act as an insulator. When shopping farmer's markets, farm stands and U-picks bring your own bags. When shopping U-picks bring your own picking containers. They will weigh the container before picking then again after picking. I find a heavy plastic food grade pail is good for this purpose.
  3. miscellaneous supplies - I have been known to entirely fill the back seat, the trunk, the back floor, the passenger floor and passenger seat when making a bulk shopping trip on my own especially if I make a stop at a nursery or two. That means seat and floor protection is a must! I use old blankets, towels and large yard rubbish bags to protect both the seats and floor inside the car.
  4. personal prep - You will likely be getting in and out of your vehicle several times in one bulk food gathering trip. Wear comfortable clothing you don't mind getting soiled. Trust me tomato hamper are not clean and you can't lift one without getting dirty. If going to a U-pick use sun block and cover your arms and legs with long, light fabric clothing to protect against sun and insects. Bring a large brimmed hat. Shoes should be comfortable running shoes (sneakers) not sandles for these types of trips. Bring two or three bottles of water in refillable water bottles and a lunch if you will be most of the day.
  5. timing - Try to time things so you are picking up frozen foods last and do any U-pick before adding any fresh plants to your purchases. Remember all that food has to be put away when you get home so do make your return so late that you are exhausted. When you get home try to work in an organized fashion. Put freezer and perishables away first but remember you can likely put them away as is then divide down or process later.

4 food lovers commented:

Polly said...

Thanks for commenting on the bread recipe. It's so easy to make.
This post must have been meant just for me. I have started looking for reasonable places to buy some foods in bulk. The local business that sold bulk foods has closed. That just leaves the health food store which has ridiculous prices. Online is about all I can do, but don't know where to start. Take care.

Cheri said...

Thanks for visiting my site! This is a great post in today's economy!

Garden Gnome said...

You are welcome Polly :) I'd like to see more bulk food type stores. The closest grocery store that had a bulk food section greatly reduced it. There is a Bulk Barn about 40 minutes from us. It's great! You might find another business selling bulk foods in your area by searching google. You can find some great prices for bulk purchases online too with some shipping costs less than what it would cost for you to drive to pick up.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Cheri :) I'm glad you found the post useful.