Recently, I’ve been buying a lot more non-durable goods when they are on sale. Whereas previously I might have purchased the normal amount plus one or two units, now I’m buying like 3x or 4x the normal amount.
What initially led me here was the nagging thought that a 50%-off sale is a superb investment – especially if I was going to purchase a bunch eventually anyway. I like to think that I’m relatively dispassionate about investing and finances. But I realized that I wasn’t thinking that way about my groceries. The implication is that I’ve been living sub-optimally. And I can’t have that!
If someone told me that I could pay 50% more on my mortgage this month and get a full credit on my mortgage payment next month, then I would jump at the opportunity. That would be a 100% monthly return. Why not with groceries? Obviously, some groceries go bad. Produce will wilt, dairy will spoil, and the fridge space is limited. But what about non-perishables? This includes pantry items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.
Typically, there are two challenges for investing in inventory: 1) Will the discount now be adequate to compensate for the opportunity cost of resources over time? 2) Is there are opportunity cost to the storage space?
For the moment, I will ignore challenge 2). On the relevant margins, my shelf will be full or empty. I’ve got excess capacity in my house that I can’t easily adjust it nor lend out. That leaves challenge 1) only.
This post doesn’t have a darn thing to do with economics, statistics, or finance. This is a post about citrus storage.
There are problems with buying citrus.
If you get a big Sam’s Club size bag of limes, then they start going hard and thin-skinned by the end of a week.
A bag of grapefruit? There’s usually one in the bag that’s goes moldy almost immediately and you know what they say about one bad grapefruit spoiling the bunch.
Mandarins shrink and get hard to peel.
Lemons – even if you refrigerate them – get soft and un-zest-worthy.
There is a solution. Now, our lemons and limes last upwards of 6-8 weeks with hardly a symptom of age. Mandarins don’t shrivel and grapefruits remain edible. No, silly goose, the answer isn’t free markets and the price system.
Maybe it’s all of the additional vitamin C that I’m getting. Maybe it’s the warm and fuzzy feeling of money well spent. But I’m now excited each time that we purchase citrus. And I get a cozy feeling of satisfaction whenever I see a nice lemon that definitely should not still be any good.
The answer is really simple. You too can achieve such amazing results. All you have to do is:
Rinse your citrus under water, rubbing gently to remove any invisible bad-guy germs. In reality, you’re probably getting rid of mold spores.
Place the wet citrus into a ziploc bag, seal, and refrigerate. The refrigeration further retards the growth of any unwanted spores. The sealed bag prevents too much air flow and drying.( I don’t bother refrigerating grapefruit and oranges because I eat them quickly enough).
That’s it. You too can have 8 week old limes and lemons that you bought on sale or in bulk that are nearly as fresh as the day that you purchased them.