Cooking in Bulk: The Master Plan

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Buying In Bulk

Warehouse clubs are becoming more popular as families look to save on groceries. For bulk purchasing, you need to have adequate storage space for what you're buying and a good plan for using it. Be careful when deciding on fresh foods, as you either need to prepare them for freezing or know you can use them all before they spoil.

When storing bulk meats, portion them out into family-sized sets so they're easy to work with later. Cut whole chickens into pieces and store in airtight freezer bags labeled with the date and contents; ground meats or steaks can also be frozen in the same method. You may want to invest in a vacuum sealing food bag system which will do a much better job at preventing freezer burn.

Vegetables should be cleaned and prepared in ready-to-eat pieces before storing. Most vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, zucchini, and cob corn do best when blanched in hot water for 3 minutes, and then shocked in an ice water bath for 3 more minutes. Allow to dry on paper towels before freezing in bags or airtight plastic containers. Potatoes do best when baked and then frozen.

If you plan ahead, shop smart, and store well, you can have ready-to-go dinners in the freezer or fridge any night of the week. You'll spend more time eating with your family and less time working in the kitchen without having to resort to take-out menus!