What to Buy at Costco

It's like a not-so-secret, secret society. The devotion it inspires may even be cult-like at times. Folks who shop at Costco love shopping at Costco. And they love talking about how wonderful shopping at Costco is. The selection! The samples! The sizes!

If you've never set foot inside the warehouse door, it's fair that you feel Costco skepticism. But while a Costco membership isn't for everyone -- a basic plan costs $50 annually -- anyone who cooks or eats at home regularly will likely benefit from its high-quality, incredibly reasonably priced products. Should you have a large family, or feed lots of people on a regular basis (or write a food blog...), Costco can be a real godsend.

Consider, too, that if you can coordinate your shopping trips with a friend, it's easy to split the membership dues. They will most likely pay for themselves in a the course of a few months. Featured here are some food-related bargains Costco has to offer. Bear in mind that availability may vary depending on location and time of year.

Pantry staples: 2 liters of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($9.99) 6 pack of Pacific Organic Chicken broth, 32 ounces each ($9.99) 4 pounds of organic quinoa ($9.99) 3 pack of mayonnaise, 22 ounces each ($8.89) 12 pack of tuna, 7 ounces each ($9.99) 8 cans of Rotel tomatoes ($6.39) 8 cans of black beans ($5.65)

For the fridge: 2 pounds hummus ($5.69) Giant jar -- 65 ounces -- of marinated artichoke hearts ($7.99) Organic chicken: whole fryers ($2.29/pound) Organic chicken: thigh meat ($3.99/pound) Organic chicken: boneless, skinless breasts ($5.99/pound)

For baking: 2 pounds of pecan halves ($10.49) 3 pounds whole almonds ($9.69) 10 pounds of organic, fair-trade evaporated cane sugar ($7.79) 4 pounds of salted, sweet cream butter ($7.72)

For the freezer: 3 pounds Panko-breaded tilapia ($13.99) 3 pounds Alaskan wild-caught salmon ($22.99) 4 pounds frozen, organic blackberries ($8.59) 6 pounds frozen, whole, hulled strawberries ($8.89)

Normally expensive things that are very cheap in bulk: 26 ou nces Almond Butter ($5.99) Twin pack of Nutella ($8.95) 16 ounces Marcona almonds ($7.99) 24-pack of Cliff bars ($19.95) Dubliner cheese ($5.79/pound) 2 pounds Tillamook extra-extra sharp cheddar ($7.79)

Not to mention the mango ginger habañero sauce, roasted raspberry chipotle sauce, all number of frozen appetizers, from cream puffs to mini-quiches, large quantities of Columbus brand sandwich meat, big bags of produce, ice cream, soft drinks, beer and wine.

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