Decanting Bulk Foods

How to decant bulk foods into glass jars, for a zero waste kitchen | Litterless

This is a story about how I own three funnels and need them all.

Let’s back up.

Circa 2015, I was working towards zero waste (still am) and trying not to buy anything I didn’t need. That included funnels.

How to decant bulk foods into glass jars, for a zero waste kitchen | Litterless

Also at the time, the closest store where I bought bulk foods didn't allow me to bring glass jars to fill up; instead, I washed and reused the plastic containers they provided. Every grocery run ended with decanting a cloth produce bag or a plastic container of dry goods into their eventual home in a glass jar. Without a funnel, beans bounced, quinoa jumped, herb leaves fluttered. Inevitably, some things would make their way from plastic container to countertop to floor. In an effort not to buy a funnel, I was wasting food.

How to decant bulk foods into glass jars, for a zero waste kitchen | Litterless

So I bought some. First a narrow-mouth funnel for decanting liquids and (I thought) dry goods. When even fine flours got stuck in its neck, I added a wide-mouth funnel for pouring beans and grains and really anything larger than a liquid. When the mouth of my narrow-neck funnel didn't fit into a few of my smaller jars, like the one I've saved for storing bulk vanilla extract, I kept an eye out for an even smaller version and finally snagged one at Muji in London in April. A set of three is just right for anything I may need to pour, decant, or re-home.

How to decant bulk foods into glass jars, for a zero waste kitchen | Litterless

Much as I hate to suggest that we might need new things when going zero waste (more on that here), I found I really needed these. Wasting food, even a few beans at a time, is something I'm trying to halt entirely, and these help. This recent article on food waste in The Washington Post outlines some of the reasons why zero food waste is such an important thing to work toward.

You may not need funnels: maybe you can fill your jars directly with bulk foods at the store, maybe you don't have access to bulk foods at all, or maybe you've mastered the knack of pouring, not spilling. Regardless: this is my current set-up, and it's exactly what I needed. 

Other resources:

(Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means Litterless may make a small commission on items purchased).

-Big, medium, and small funnels. (Or a set).
-Learning how to buy just the right amount.
-Any jar will do. (For liquids, too).

(Photos by Anna Zajac for Litterless).