Buying in Bulk WIthout Waste in Five Easy Steps - Intentional By Grace

Buying in Bulk Without Waste in 5 Simple Steps

This post is written by contributing writer, Kimberly from Corner of Birch and Divine.

Buying in Bulk WIthout Waste in Five Easy Steps - Intentional By Grace
It was not so long ago that I used to fear my refrigerator. I was never sure what it would open up to – slimy fish? stinky chicken? rotten veggies? The horror! I can’t count the number of times I opened a package, only to gag at the sight or smell of its contents. I would be forced to throw away what, just a few days ago, would have been perfectly good food. The waste of resources made me so frustrated – not only was I throwing away food, I was throwing away money. It had to stop.

My husband and I are busy people. Because we don’t have children (yet), we spend much of our time outside our home. We work all day, and often head to a Bible study, a babysitting job, or dinner with friends before heading home at night to feed the cat and fall in bed – only to get up and do it over again the next day. As you might imagine, we only eat a few meals a week in the comfort of our own home. With lives this busy, of course our perishable groceries were going bad.

We decided to try freezing our meat and seafood, in an effort to make it last longer. This was effective… sort of. These foods did indeed stay fresh longer. But when we thawed a pack of chicken breasts for dinner, we realized that we had to cook the whole package of chicken – which resulted in us eating leftovers three days in a row, sometimes! For a couple that loves variety, this got monotonous quickly. And while chicken leftovers make great lunches the next day, fish leftovers do not. (Trust me, your co-workers will not be happy with you when the scent of your nuked tilapia makes it’s way to their desks and lingers in the microwave!) We had to find a more manageable solution, one that would work for many situations.

Our problem was that many perishable items like meat and seafood, and sometimes even fruits and veggies, come in packaging that contains more food than two people can eat in one night. After some thought specifically dedicated toward food purchasing and preservation, we found our solution: make our food meal-sized BEFORE freezing it. It was so simple that we were rather dumbfounded that we didn’t think of it before.

Our method for freezing meal-sized portions of food can be easily applied to buying food in bulk, which we often do now. The key to our success is to portion our food as soon as we get home from the grocery store. We know that if we come home and hurriedly toss our food in the refrigerator to “get to it later,” we won’t ever get to it, and it will go bad. Portioning your freezer food only adds a few minutes to unpacking your groceries, and is worth every second. Go ahead, purchase that huge package of chicken breasts on sale at the store – with these simple steps, it won’t go to waste.

Buying Bulk Without the Waste in 5 Simple Steps

1. Determine what a meal-sized portion is for your family. My husband and I try to eat small to medium sized portions of meat, served with larger helpings of vegetables and healthy grains.

These chicken breasts we purchased were huge! I knew that serving a whole breast for dinner would be way too much food, so I cut each breast in half.

2. If you like to cut the fat off your meat before you cook it, this is a great time to do this step as well. Then your cooking prep time will be shorter when you’re rushing to get dinner on the table.

3. When all your meat has been cut into meal-sized portions, put one meal’s worth into a small, seal-able bag. (Since it’s just my husband and me, I place two pieces of meat into each bag – that’s one meal’s worth. If you have four people in your family, you will place four pieces of meat into each bag.)

4. When all of your meat has been placed into small bags, place each small bag in a large freezer bag, labeled with the type of meat it will contain. If you like to double-bag your meat like I do, placing the small bags into the larger bag effectively double-bags your meat without double-bagging each individual meal {try to say that ten times fast!}.

5. Place your large bag full of meal-sized portions into your freezer. When you are ready to cook a meal with your meat, simply remove one small bag of meat from the large bag, thaw, and prepare.

Using this simple method, my husband and I have prevented so much waste. We can confidently buy a large package of meat, knowing that it will be eaten long before it has the chance to go bad. We have used this method with pork loins (we buy a large loin, cut it into slices, and freeze two slices per small bag), steaks, large pieces of fish, chicken, and turkey.

This method can also be used with fruit! We often buy large containers of berries. We will keep half the container in the refrigerator, and place the other half in a sealed bag in the freezer. I keep small berries whole, but like to cut larger berries (such as strawberries) into small pieces before bagging and freezing. Larger fruits such as pineapples and mangoes freeze well, also. In terms of vegetables and legumes, I have frozen chopped peppers, beans, and pre-cooked vegetables (such as peas and green beans) with success. Even milk can be frozen! Just thaw it in the refrigerator a day or two before you think you will need it.

My key to buying food in bulk with success is taking the time to create and freeze meal-sized portions. What is your method? Is it different than mine? If you are struggling with wasting resources, try this method and let us know how it works!

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