Why buy in bulk?

This article was originally published in December 2013

The holiday season frequently means extra cooking — and extra cooking can quickly lead to excess packaging and unfortunate waste on specialty ingredients. Bulk buying offers ways to boost the season’s sustainability while inspiring kitchen creativity.

Even those of us who rarely bake can have a treasured family recipe surface for December. Sometimes those recipes call for less common ingredients, like dates or pecans. Other times, they require a bit of modernizing (sorry, but dad’s favorite prune cookies are better with dried apricots). And occasionally, the inspiration is the making of homemade gifts or hosting a meal for an unusually large group. The bulk department should be your first stop when it’s time to stock the pantry for these special occasions.

It’s amazing how quickly packaging can pile up during the holidays — it’s something that goes hand in hand with buying a larger amount of ingredients in the first place. Buying in bulk creates an immediate reduction here, whether your purchases go into our plastic bags that you can repurpose at home, or whether you bring in your own storage container (have us weigh your container before you fill it, so we don’t have to charge you for its weight). Whichever route you choose, it’s pleasingly different.

It’s also one of the easiest ways to reduce food waste, particularly if you’re experimenting with whole grain flours or rarely use ingredients like crystallized ginger, Demerara sugar or Grade B maple syrup. You can measure out precisely what your recipe calls for from the appropriate bulk bin and use it up immediately.

If you plan on crafting jars of homemade cookie dough mix or colorful lentil soup to give as gifts, the bulk department is your new best friend. Line up your gift jars and spread out wide-mouth bags of ingredients in an assembly line to make quick work of the final packaging process. Or get creative with homemade granola blends, customizing the mix of grains, fruits and nuts to suit your friends’ palates.


5 to try from bulk


Buying precisely as many as your recipe calls for means you won’t waste a single one. Look for walnuts, pecans, pistachios and Valencia peanuts.

Vanilla beans

These can be pricey, but the flavor is incomparable. You can pick up a single bean or save money if you need a lot.

Baking soda

Fresh is best in baking leaveners. Buy extra to pile in a dish and freshen up a rarely used guest room.

Sunspire 65 percent cacao bittersweet baking chips

Most chocolate chips have a cacao content similar to milk chocolate. Not these. Lovers of dark chocolate will appreciate the rich, complex, grown up chocolate flavor in any cookie recipe.

Almond flour

A good choice for gluten-free or low-carb baking, this flour is highly perishable. Try it in our Chocolate-Hazelnut Cookies.

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