I have always been skeptical of the warehouse clubs when it comes to food shopping. My issue was simply this – why spend so much time, gas and money on buying food in bulk when you can run right down the street and pick up groceries in the quantities appropriate for a family of four?
My husband, who is originally from Chicago, moved to the South as a teenager. He has spent many hours since that time searching for deep-dish pizza that rivals that of the famous Chicago pizzerias. Much to his dismay, he didn’t find it. Then, a miracle occurred! A co-worker told him that a warehouse club in our area sells frozen pizzas from one of the famous Chicago restaurants. For that reason, he signed us up for membership at the warehouse club. Since that time, we’ve shopped there twice, and I have to say – I was wrong!
Specifically for food items, I’m very impressed by their stock and prices. You simply have to adjust your thinking to realize that you’ll be storing/freezing more than before. However, the difference in price is definitely worth it. The other consideration is that, sometimes, you just don’t need certain items in bulk (i.e. certain produce) and you may have to make that grocery trip to both the warehouse club and the grocery store. For me, that’s not a problem.
Having said that, I’ve also researched freezing produce, and found these helpful tips:
Berries: Most berries will freeze well if you put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze them, then put them in bags. Don’t rinse them until you are ready to use them – I can’t seem to find an explanation as to why rinsing fruit and storing it accelerates rotting, but it does. Store fruits in the freezer for up to one year.
Apples: Refrigeration – Avoid washing apples before storing them. Remove any spoiled apples, as they will ruin the rest. Put apples in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator, preferably the crisper, or store them in a cool place. Store them no longer than six weeks. Freezing – Sprinkle sugar on apple that will be served uncooked after freezing and mix gently. Mix a simple syrup of sugar and water and pour over fruits that will be cooked after freezing.
Vegetables: Blanch vegetables before freezing unless they’ll be used in one week. Store blanched vegetables in the freezer for up to nine months.
Meat: Freeze meat in the store packaging if you plan to eat it within a week. Rewrap meat if freezing it for longer than a week. Trim off excess fat. Wrap well with heavy plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Wrap tightly to remove air. Date all packages. Freeze lamb and beef steaks and roasts for up to one year. Freeze ground beef for up to four months. Freeze pork for up to eight months. Freeze whole poultry for up to one year. Freeze poultry parts and whole ducks for up to six months. Freeze leftover meat for up to two or three months.
So, from now on, I’m a devoted warehouse club shopper, and not just for food. I’m also finding that you can ask for, and sometimes they have displayed in the food section, great recipes. In addition, they have LOTS of other great things there. My only problem is keeping my wallet closed! Cheers!