With the economy in a long slump and the price of everything rising at rapid rates, even something as mundane as going to the grocery store can wear you out. If you feel like you’re spending way more at the grocery store than you used to, that’s because you are.
There are ways to alleviate the costs and it doesn’t require giving up your favorite things. Did you know you can make homemade versions of things you might buy in jars for a much lower price? Not to mention, almost everything tastes better that way. It’s not as hard as you think.
If you are constantly buying bottled salad dressing, you’re missing out. Making your own is as simple as putting 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar in a jar with a lid and shaking it up. Add mustard or mayonnaise to help emulsify and add flavor. You can add anything you want to add flavor: garlic, honey, shallots, citrus zest, fresh or dried herbs; the possibilities are endless. Only make as much as you can use at once for best results, but you can store homemade dressing for a few days in the fridge; just shake to re-emulsify. Caution: If you use garlic in your dressing, throw it out when you’re done; storing raw garlic and oil can cause food poisoning.
You can make your own mayonnaise either by hand or in a mixer or food processor. The basic ratio is 1 egg yolk to 1 cup of oil. Beat your yolks until frothy and slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified. Add flavorings such as vinegar, lemon juice or cayenne pepper, and you’re good to go.
Rather than buying cool whip or even whipped cream in a can, making your own is a cinch if you have a stand mixer. Simply put a pint of chilled whipping cream in a bowl, add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract and whip at high speed until creamy and thick. While it won’t last nearly as long as the store bought stuff, the flavor is far superior.
If you whip your cream past the whipped cream stage, you’ll end up with butter. So simply omit the sugar and vanilla and add some salt and you’ll have just that. Real, homemade butter. It’s that easy.
Before you buy a can of superfine breadcrumbs that have been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long, you should seriously consider making your own. Simply put couple slices of crust-less bread in a food processor and pulse until the grind you want. Tip: For a breading for fish or chicken, make them coarse for a crisper crust.
There are many, many more things you will find that are not that hard to make and are far better than store bought: Applesauce, roasted peppers, nut butters, caramel sauce, salsa, guacamole…..you get the idea. You’ll find some things may not be worth the trouble, but if you’re serious about eating well, and saving money to boot, making your own pantry staples is definitely worth the effort.
What do you make at home instead of buying that the grocery store?
Photo by paulswansen