Repacking Bulk Foods
April 28, 2009
I save a lot of money for other projects by buying large containers of foods, and repacking them. This article will describe a few examples. I love to add garlic to all sorts of foods, and a very inexpensive way to buy it, is chopped and dried. Garlic prepared like this will keep on the shelf for a long time, if it is protected from moisture and sunlight. We use small canning jars, and repack the large tub of dried, chopped garlic, and store it inside a cabinet, protected from daylight. To prepare some of it for use, fill an empty jar 1/3 full of the dry garlic, and just cover it with water. Allow time for the water to all be absorbed. It will double in size. Top off the jar with olive oil, and store in the refrigerator. Now it is ready to use, just like the very small jars you can buy in the grocery store, but it will have cost you far less.
I REALLY wish we could grow peanuts here in the hills of Connecticut. I love the flavor, and they are good food. Once roasted, they are ready to eat anytime. Freshly ground peanut butter tastes so much better than store bought. For half the price per pound of natural peanut butter from the store, I can buy a 15 pound box of roasted peanuts. This is how I store them and keep the flavor fresh. Quart canning jars are the right size for us, but you may want to use pints. The 15 pound box filled 11 quart jars and 1 pint. We are using clean jars, dried in the oven, but the peanuts are not 'processed' or 'canned', just protected from moisture and air, which would carry away the flavor.
I keep a good amount of rice on hand, and Millet is another mild tasting grain. There are soup base mixes available for restaurants to use, with a wide range of quality. These are much better tasting than the ordinary 'bouillon cubes'. I chose a chicken soup base, without Mono Sodium Glutamate [MSG]. All the ingredients are actually food, or extracted from foods. This isn't health food, but for a quick meal, it's much better than going out for fast food. An other reason I am interested in the soup bases, is to flavor whole grains, to make our own dog food. Better get no salt or low salt for home made pet food though. This product is pretty salty for my taste. I seldom add table salt to food. Like the peanuts, I am using canning jars just to protect from moisture. Since I want this to keep the soup base for a long time, and plan to use it only occasionally, I tightly packed it into one cup canning jars, which are also suitable for freezing. Like the garlic, I topped it off with a layer of olive oil to seal it better from the air inside the top of the jar. Wide mouth pints may also be used in the freezer for liquids. They are tapered outward all the way to the top of the jar, and do not have a 'shoulder'. I carefully put the jars in the freezer, so they would stay upright, and keep the oil on top of the mix. Our 5 pound box of Chicken soup base filled 8 one cup jars. The instructions for reconstituting this brand, calls for 2 ounces per 2 quarts of hot water. After I bought this and repacked it, a friend pointed out to me a source for soup base mixes, in smaller sizes.
These are just a couple of examples. Many foods and household products can be bought in larger containers to save money. For cleaners and soaps, it is safer to buy a small, properly labeled container, and keep refilling it from a larger one of the exact same brand and product. Never mix and match chemical containers.