Unlike packaged bulk food, bulk produce has a much shorter shelf life. You can generally tell when produce is starting to turn, but one week is a good rule of thumb when it comes to most produce. Heartier root vegetables, like potatoes and onions, will keep for a few weeks if you store them somewhere cold and dry, like your refrigerator's produce drawer.
If you do find produce in bulk that has a shorter shelf life, you can still make it last by preserving it yourself! You can extend the life of bulk veggies in the freezer. You'll just want to blanch them in boiling water, seal in an air tight freezer bag once they cool, and freeze.
Chopped fruit will also keep well in the freezer. If you're freezing more delicate fruit, like berries, and you don't want them to come out in a frozen berry clump, you can freeze them first on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper for a few hours, then transfer them to a freezer bag or other air tight container once they're frozen.
For bulk herbs, you can chop them up, wrap them in a paper towel, and freeze them in a Tupperware container or dry them yourself.
More ambitious homemakers can also pickle or can bulk produce to make it last far longer than it would fresh. Just make sure you carefully follow trustworthy canning recipes. It's important to make sure you're using the right containers and method and maintaining the right balance of acids to keep your home-canned foods from spoiling.
Up next, we'll talk about how to protect your bulk food from pantry pests.