Monday, January 11, 2010

affordable organics in bulk

Refilling this bottle with organic Italian herbs cost .52 cents. A new bottle would be $2-4. I bought Bay leaves recently and paid about 20 cents for a $3 bottle size.
It's not too hard, but does take a little more thought.
You can use any bottle, tupperware etc. Here's the procedure. (Or just fill the little plastic or paper bags at the store and tag them. Bring it home and refill your containers there...)
Bring your container to the front desk (place like Whole Foods) and ask them to weigh it empty. Use a Sharpie or sticker and put that number on the top of the container. Then fill with what you want (herbs, couscous etc ) put the number of the item on the sticker or label and bring it when you check out.
At co-ops like Mississippi Market, Wedge etc. there are often scales for you to pre-weigh the container yourself. I think you also post-weigh and label it. I've messed up before and they've always been really great about it. (Forgotten to label, or pre-weigh once...)

Items I buy in bulk with major savings...

whole wheat couscous (I don't care much for whole wheat pasta, but this is good)
tea leaves
flour (sometimes)
I keep meaning to do pastas and more, but this is what I've managed so far. Do any of you have bulk favs?


  1. we have a farmers market nearby...and they sell all spices for 1$ a scoop......fabulous stuf too, smoked parika, 5 spice, ginger, just everything. tons of great indian and asian stuff too. I get these great spice holders at bbb (thats bed, bath and beyond) for 3 each....they are magnetic and stack on the side of my fridge. good stuff!

  2. Cornmeal! We don't use a lot of it, but I like corn muffins every now and then. Having a small bag on hand is perfect. And when we used to have friends over every weekend, we'd pick up snacks (like the japanese soy mix, or bridge mix, or whatever) from the bulk bins instead of the name-brand ones.

  3. Organic beans! Lots and lots of beans...I don't buy canned beans because of the BPA in the cans and the "prepackaged" beans are older and more expensive than the beans out of the bulk bins at my co-op.

  4. cornmeal is a great idea. I bake bread alot so we go through lots of cornmeal for that too. Beans! Jessidehl, if you have a fool-proof soaking method, please let me know. I've tried soaking, crockpotting etc and am generally less than thrilled with the results...
    Love the snack mix idea for guests and parties! THANKS ALL!

  5. Love the bulk spices idea! I suppose I could re-use the containers I already have from the store bought spices. I love getting the bulk flour for my hubby to make his breads and I like the bulk almonds, especially the ones with the cocoa powder on them!

  6. We go through tens of pounds of beans, too. I always soak them for 24 hours or so. Lately I've been using the crock pot with water, tomatoes (from the freezer), spices, a touch of olive oil, and some onion. I don't add salt until they are almost done. That's supposed to help, I guess. I've heard arguments both ways with the salt. Split peas are good, too, and I don't soak those. The toddler loves them. Almost as much as real peas.
    We are part of a buying club so we get a lot of bulk stuff. A chest freezer is great.

  7. I used to buy flour, spices, tea, olive oil, vinegar, oats, sugar... and even soap on bulk from Mississippi market. How I miss this store ! I'm still looking for something like it here.
    Chiara calls it "Missitarget". Funny !

  8. Katia, to soak beans, try to boil them in a lot of water for 5 minutes, then let them soak in that water (with no heat) for 2 hours, rinse, and cook. It works very well !