A few weeks ago, Billy Ray sent me a yummy article, 29 Delicious Asian-Inspired Soups. Number 18, Spicy Chickpea, Coconut, and Tomato Soup, caught my eye. We made a date to cook it at his place. I had many of the ingredients at home already—chickpeas, canned tomatoes, garlic, etc. However, we were missing all of the spices—turmeric, cumin and cardamon pods. Specialty ingredients can get pricey, especially if you must buy a whole jar when you only need one teaspoon. So, I suggested a thrifty trip to Whole Foods.
What? Never heard those two words uttered in the same sentence? Here’s a tip—not everything at Whole Foods requires your whole paycheck. For example in the bulk spice section, you can purchase a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of cumin and four cardamon pods for about 65¢. That’s right 65¢. Very thrifty! The soup was really delicious. And, we didn’t have 100 cardamon pods left over!
Bulk is more than just herbs and spices, there is real food—rice, nuts, dried fruit, coffee, chocolate. It’s the perfect setup for trying something new like candied ginger, tamari pumpkin seeds or black rice. You can buy whatever amount you want so you’re not stuck with a whole bag of something you dislike. Bulk items are priced by the pound and it’s generally the same price per pound as purchasing a whole bag. For example, organic brown rice $1.99 a pound in bulk or $3.98 for a two pound bag three aisles over. When I get home, I transfer my bulk goods to former pasta sauce or salsa jars for storing.
Whole Foods allow you to sample before you buy in many departments. Find something interesting on sale in the cheese department? Ask for a taste. Same thing for anything in the deli. If the prices are too steep, head to Trader Joe’s for your new-found favorite cheese or something similar. Mine? Triple cream brie.
365, Whole Foods generic brand is much cheaper than most name brand items in the store and is likely to have higher standards than most grocery store generics. 365 foods contain no chemicals or pesticides. And, 365 cans are BPA free.
Just like any other grocery store, there is always stuff on sale. Take a spin around produce and you’ll probably see something organic for the same price or even less than another store’s non-organic version. Last week I picked up organic carrots for 89¢/pound and organic Honey Crisp apples for $1.99/pound.
If you bring your own bag, you save an additional 10¢. Wow!