I came across an article on buying in bulk, and since I have been dwelling on clean food, I want to repeat some of the information in this article. I have already written about whole-bean coffee, so let's consider that covered and move on.
Buying spices in bulk may be something you already do, especially as far as salt and pepper are concerned. You have probably noticed that I emphasize the use of sea salt in my recipes; that is because if you buy carefully you will get salt that is very clean and also has a kiss of minerals for your health.
I buy Himalayan sea salt at Tucson's Food Conspiracy Co-Op and put it in a grinder, but you can also get prepared salt grinders at supermarkets like Fry's and Basha's here. Other spices and seeds are also available in bulk, and the wonderful thing about that is your opportunity to re-use beautiful glass spice jars such as the organic line that I find at Sprouts in Tucson. I mean, it is a real shame to throw them away when you have used the spices. The products from Spice Islands are also packed in glass and those bottles can be reused as well.
Buck B., a Tucson food blogger, has given a glowing recommendation to Penzeys Spices, which is located at 4128 North Oracle Road, not too far off the beaten path. You can telephone them at (520) 887-0777 if it would be a major drive for you (it would be for me) you should give them a call and make sure they are open the first time you intend to go there. You will want to take note of whether they are open on weekends and if they are open late enough for you to make it over there after work.
Other items that were mentioned in the article I read were things that we all know about, such as grains and beans, and if you use dried fruit quite a bit in your cooking, it would be a good idea to buy them in bulk. I promise you that will definitely be cheaper. One dried fruit that I consider a really good ingredient is dried, rather than fresh, blueberries. They will not turn your Blueberry Muffins an unappetizing color.
Now if you can be absolutely sure to get secure containers, it is great to buy various flour types in bulk, but no plastic bag will be a good holder. We all know how irritating it is to find that flour has leaked into your shopping bag, so take at a look at the bagging items that you see by the flour.
At Sprouts the plastic bags are perfectly adequate for everything except flour, so I would bring a large airtight plastic box from my house, place my flour in the plastic bag and then drop it into the box until checkout, and then carry it home safe and sound. This will work out fine unless you want some large quantities, in which case you should talk it over with the store personnel.
Always store flour in your freezer unless you are going to use it within a week. Whole-grain flours will get rancid because of the oils that have not been "enriched" out of them, and if you detect an off-odor, your flour has expired in more ways than one.
For more info: check out Penzeys' web page at: http://www.penzeys.com
Look for my review of this interesting store in the near future.