In some grocery stores or farmers markets, you may see bulk bins. Bulk bins often contain grains, nuts, seeds, and spices. When shopping with bulk bins, the customer fills a plastic bag or container with however much of the item they want and is then charged per pound.
Bulk Bins: Know Before You Go
- Write down or take a picture of the PLU code for each food item so the cashier knows what it is.
- Do not mix items! Use a separate container for each item so that the cashier can charge you appropriately.
- Take only what you need. It’s easy to get carried away with each food item and end up taking more than you need.
- It is a great way to try a new grain or spice without committing to an entire package.
Spices are a great way to flavor your food. Some popular spices include pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and many others. Spice blends, which combine many different spices into one package, are usually an option as well. These pre-mixed spices allow you to get a whole new flavor without having to buy all the spices individually.
Spices can sometimes be pricey, but you can still usually get dozens of uses out of each bottle.
Spices: Know Before You Go
- Be sure to read the ingredients of spice blends before you buy to make sure you don’t already own those spices. If you don’t have many of the spices listed in the ingredients list, then a blend may be a good idea.
- For spice blends, look for ones with no salt. This allows you to control the amount of salt you want to use in a dish.
Seeds, Nuts and Nut Butters
There are many varieties of seeds, nuts, and nut butters available at most grocery stores. Popular seeds include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas), flax seeds, hemp seeds, and more. Common nut varieties include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, Brazil nuts, and more. Peanuts are actually not a nut as they are in the legume family. However for the sake of this tour, we will group them with nuts since they are usually grouped together at the store.
Nuts and seeds can be sold raw or roasted, as well as in shell or out of shell. Additionally, sometimes they are sold seasoned with salt or with a blend of other spices. They can also be turned into nut butters, such as almond butter or peanut butter. Sunflower butter (made of sunflower seeds) has become increasingly popular since many schools and workplaces have implemented nut and peanut-free policies.