How to Store Bulk Foods in order to Save Money on your Grocery Bill
With the rate of inflation due to go up even further a lot of people are starting to consider buying and storing bulk foods. History has shown that whatever you buy today will be cheaper than tomorrow and if you buy in bulk you will not only save money because of buying in bulk but you will also save money due to inflation. And, let's not forget that when you buy in bulk you do help the planet out as there is usually less packaging for bulk items. But, if you're anything like me the closest thing you've ever come to storing bulk foods is to buy a large can of chili at Costco! So here is a little starter course on what to store and how to store it once you've grown it or bought it.
Remember to store all of your bulk food in cool, dry dark places, air, moisture and light are your enemies when it comes to food storage. If the packaging is airtight you can keep the items in the original packaging but if that isn't the case or you have grown your own food then you will want to procure airtight, white, food grade containers with screw lids like Gamma Seal lids which are airtight and don't leak. It's very important that you store your food properly.
How to Store Items and How Long They Will Last When Stored Properly
First of all some things store better than others. There is no reason to go out and buy items in bulk that will not store well. Here is a list of the best items to store in bulk and how long they are good for.
Long-grained white rice can last forever if stored in a cool, dry, place in a tightly covered container. In fact they have found archaeological digs with rice that could cook normally after hundreds of years.
And rice flour when properly stored can also last indefinitely.
There are differing opinions on how long instant jarred coffee will last, but the prevailing wisdom is somewhere between 6 months and 2 years. Keep it in a cool, dry, dark place. Personally, if I was in desperate need and there was an unopened jar of instant coffee I'd use it no matter how old...but that's just me (I'm addicted).
6 to 18 months in the same containers you would keep flour.
If you want to store nuts for the long haul the best thing to do is to shell them and keep them in your freezer. They will last for about a year in a sealed container.
Dry beans are good for at least two years if stored properly. If they dry out too much, you can wind up with “hard seeds,” beans with moisture content so low that they won’t rehydrate and soften, no matter how long you cook them. However, even hard beans after cooking them can be smoothed out in a blender. No need to throw out that soup if you have a good blender like a Vita Mix blender.
All Purpose Flour:
All purpose Flour – When all-purpose flour is stored in cabinets, it is expected to last at least 8 months. However, this is only possible if it is under some certain conditions like stored in a dry container that is tightly sealed. For longer results, we can always place all-purpose flour inside a refrigerator or better yet freezer, and it will gain extra four more months before it will spoil.
Wheat Berries will last even longer; some say they will last up to 5 or 6 months but others say indefinitely.
Sugar will last for years and possibly indefinitely if stored properly. Granulated sugar does not spoil, but if it gets damp it will likely cake up or get lumpy. If it does, it can simply be pulverized again until it regains its granulated texture. By the way you can make confectioners sugar out of granulated sugar by whizzing it in your Vita Mixer or blender.
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Canned Fruit and Vegetables:
In general home canned fruit and vegetables will last about a year, however if they are high acidic foods like fruit, tomatoes or foods with vinegar they should last for years and years. Low acidic foods like meats can last for a very long time but should probably be eaten within 3 to 5 years. Soups without tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin and peas are also low acidic foods. However, if you dry fruits and meats they will last for a very long time..just make sure you dehydrate them properly in a good dehydrator. A good dehydrator can cost upwards of $100 but it will save you a lot of money in the long run if you can either grow your own fruit or buy it when it is in season in bulk.
Peanut Butter: They say 6 months but I would go for longer if it is unopened.
Salt will last indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry airtight container.
Oil will last from 2 to 5 years if unopened and stored in a ...once again a cool, dry, dark place. However, if the oil is exposed to heat, light or air it will start to deteriorate and some people recommend keeping it in the refrigerator. Some oils are better than others when it comes to long term storage, olive oil, peanut oil, and vegetable oil stores well but walnut oil tends to turn rancid more quickly.
Should be stored at room temperature in a dry place and SHOULD NOT be stored in the refrigerator. It lasts for no more than one year. Once the can is opened it should be good for 3 to 6 months.
Properly stored chocolate can be kept indefinitely! Isn't that great news! I thought you would like that. Chocolate should be stored in an airtight container like a tin box in a cool location with little or no humidity. The temperature should be kept between 63 and 75 degrees and in this instance air needs to be allowed to circulate around the container (which is why tin is a good option) in order to keep moisture out.
Finally, don't forget to USE your bulk foods. What good is saving money by buying food in bulk if you don't use it! As you use your bulk foods make sure to replace them so that you have a good supply at all times. And, as inflation sets in and prices rise to outrageous levels you will be glad that you thought ahead and prepared for a rainy day because the arc has been built and I see dark clouds coming fast!
Additional Articles by Brie Hoffman
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Inflation is why you should be Buying in Bulk NoW!
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