Buy Large, Cook Large, But Be Selective

Many people have learned about the joys of buying in bulk. Yes, the deals can be quite good. But that’s only if you have the space to deal with it. Normally, bachelors like me live in small apartments with very little storage space. While buying 20 rolls of paper towels seems like a great deal, where will you put them?

When it comes to buying food, there are good times to buy large quantities, and times when you face the same problem of where to put the stuff and using it in a reasonable amount of time.

For example, watch for when chicken breasts are on sale at your local supermarket. They are usually in three-pound packages. When you get home, take a couple of them to clean and cook right away, wrap the rest individually in plastic and put in a freezer bag. Pop the bag in the freezer and you can pull out one anytime for a quick and easy meal.

Use the same strategy with all kinds of protein and most fruits. But vegetables are a lot harder to treat this way. Freezing them can be a more involved procedure if you don’t want a pile of sludge. Do a little research before you plan to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables.

You can make your own frozen dinners by cooking ahead and putting the food in plastic containers that can go from freezer to microwave. Do the same with personal mini pizzas, homemade breakfast muffins and burritos. I never cook a single serving when I cook. It’s just too hard. Make full meals for four, eat one, put the rest in plastic containers, two in the fridge and one in the freezer for later.

This is especially important with meat and poultry and even some fish and seafood. One note you need to know here: if something comes frozen, keep it that way until the day before you’re planning to cook it. Don’t freeze and thaw repeatedly, it gives you mushy, nasty foods.

Always keep frozen vegetables from the store freezer section in the freezer at home. These are always useful for side dishes, stir-fries and lots of other uses.

So, be smart when you buy in bulk. Do you have a place to put it? Will you REALLY use it right away? If there’s any doubt, let the store be your warehouse. You may pay a little more, but the peace of mind and not living with piles of stuff all around you is worth the few extra cents.

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