When you are out grocery shopping, it definitely sounds like a good idea to purchase whatever you can in bulk so you don’t have to go out again for the next little while. You may be thinking that bulk purchasing can save you money and reduce wasteful packaging, but there are plenty of items that can actually go bad before you get the chance to use them. If the food item has an expiry date, you need to be realistic because you will not be saving money if you eventually end up throwing it. As Chef Ido Fishman suggests, some of the food items that should always be bought in small doses are:
Whether it is whole wheat, all-purpose or another variety, flour can go rancid quickly because it attracts moisture. Refined flour such as all-purpose can be stored for a year, the same cannot be said for nut and whole grain flours as they are only good for a few months. The ideal solution is to buy them in small quantities and keep them stored in a cool and dark spot. Flour can also be kept in the freezer or refrigerator.
You will know that bread gets rock hard quickly if you have ever forgotten a baguette on the kitchen counter. Though you can freeze the bread if you don’t want it to go stale, you probably don’t have room for keeping a freezer full of bread loaves.
Even though they may not go bad, spices do tend to get stale and do so rather quickly. Within six months, you will notice that ground spices are losing their flavor while whole spices begin doing so in a year. Since you probably use only a small amount of spices when you are cooking, you should only purchase what you need for a short period of time.
Nuts and Seeds
Lots of oil can be found in both these items, which typically comes from healthy saturated fats. Unfortunately, these fats can go rancid very quickly, which leads to stale seeds and nuts. As per Chef Ido Fishman, even when you store them properly like in airtight containers and keep them in a cool, dark spot, they will only last for a few months. You can keep these containers in the fridge or freezer for extending their shelf life, but even then it doesn’t last for more than 6 months or a year.
Similar to nuts and seeds, whole grains such as brown rice contain plenty of oils that will quickly go rancid. These oils are usually in the germ and bran of the grains, something which is removed in the case of processed grains such as white rice. However, whole grains have them attached so you should only purchase those that you intend to use in the next few months.
When food items containing oil go bad rapidly, the same can be said for different oils such as peanut, canola, sesame and olive oil. They typically have a shelf life of 3 to 6 months.