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The Pantry: Store-Bought vs. Homemade

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One of the secrets of delicious home-cooked meals is having a well-stocked pantry of spices, oils, vinegars and sauces. But before heading off to replenish that bottle of salad dressing, have you given thought to try making it from scratch? We looked at a couple of popular pantry items that are easily (and healthily) replicated in the home kitchen.

Salad Dressing

The occasional salad of my childhood was always dressed in a creamy white dressing squirted out of a Heinz Thousand Island bottle. It wasn’t until much later in life that I discovered how easy and delicious it was to whip up my own dressing.

Danielle Tsi

Store-bought:
An eight-ounce bottle of vinaigrette at Trader Joe’s ranges from $1.99 (for a basic balsamic vinaigrette) to $3.99 or more for fancier combinations (raspberry, cranberry-gorgonzola, etc.), or a 16-ounce bottle of “365” brand organic salad dressing at Whole Foods.

Number of ingredients listed: Usually between 11 to 14, featuring ingredients like soybean oil, xanthan gum and corn syrup. There are exceptions: Whole Foods’ 365 brand of organic Caesar dressing has 19 ingredients, including “natural anchovy flavor” and “citric acid.”

Homemade:
Cost: negligible. All you really need for a basic salad dressing is olive oil, a vinegar or citrus juice, and salt and pepper. Whisk them together and you’re ready to go. To dress things up, add a spoonful of chopped fresh herbs, a dash of mustard or a handful of toasted nuts.

To try: Fava Bean Salad with Lemon Mustard Dressing;  Spring Salad with Chive Blossoms and Squash SeedsScallop and Potato Salad.

Granola

Granola is the perfect pre-yoga snack and the only topping I add to my morning bowl of yogurt. The problem is, grocery store granola is excessively sweet and somewhat lacking in personality. And if you eat it everyday, it starts to add up, too.

Danielle Tsi

Store-bought:
A 16-ounce box of granola at Trader Joe’s ranges in price from $2.99-$5.00. Granola from the bulk section at Whole Foods costs anywhere from $3.99/lb (non-organic) to $8.49/lb for local organic options.

Number of ingredients listed: Anywhere from 10 to 20, including items like “ascorbic acid”, “juice concentrate” and “natural flavor.”

Homemade:
It depends on what’s already in your pantry. The initial cost for your first batch of granola is likely to be high if you need to buy all the ingredients and is also influenced by whether you use organic or conventional olive oil or vegetable oil. I based my calculations on ingredients bought from the bulk section.

Number of ingredients: As little as eight, and as many as your imagination allows! Begin with the basics: oats, a sweetener of your choice, an oil, and a spice, before selecting your nuts and/or seeds and dried fruit. I like to add salt to my variations, too, and I also stir in dried cranberries. Inspired? Be sure to read these tips and tricks for perfect granola before diving in.

To try: Olive Oil and Maple GranolaChocolate Crunch Granola.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

Also known as Nutella (or everyone’s favorite all-day snack). If you’re looking for more ways to put your food processor to use, here’s a condiment that you’ll enjoy.

Danielle Tsi

Store-bought:
Nutella costs about $5 for a 16-ounce jar; other brands range in price from $5.99 for 10 ounces to $8.99 for eight ounces.

Number of ingredients listed: Across all brands, there were about eight to 10, all of them featuring soy lecithin.

Homemade:
Does a basic chocolate spread really need upwards of eight ingredients? Here’s a breakdown of the basic ingredients and their prices. Tip: to save on the price of hazelnuts, check out an ethnic grocery store.

To try: “Grown-up” Nutella with Espresso and Cocoa Nibs;  The Kitchn’s Homemade Nutella.

  

Pesto

Having a jar of pesto on hand makes for quick and delicious meals. Stir it into a bowl of quinoa. Slather it over a piece of white fish or chicken breast. Drizzle it over an egg: the possibilities are endless. And don’t limit yourself to just basil pesto — you can literally turn anything into a pesto with a few cloves of garlic, olive oil, some nuts, shredded cheese and a food processor.

Danielle Tsi

Store-bought:
A 6.7-ounce jar of basil pesto at Trader Joe’s retails for $2.49, while freshly made pesto at Whole Foods costs around $8.00 for an eight ounce pack.

Number of ingredients: Eight to 11, including potatoes and lactic acid (in Trader Joe’s product); spinach, miso and ascorbic acid (in the pestos at Whole Foods).

Homemade:
Pesto is one condiment where the store-bought version is undoubtedly more cost-effective, unless you have a herb garden that needs trimming.

To try: Broccoli pestoCilantro pestoRamp pesto.

The abundance of the grocery store aisle has lulled us into the notion that making food “from scratch” is time-consuming and expensive. Here’s the thing: there is a cost involved in each of our actions, financial or otherwise. The challenge is to find the sweet spot between our pocketbooks and our schedules where we can start building a pantry that enables us to eat a healthier diet and choose what we consume.

Have you every tried making pantry staples from scratch? Do you think it’s worth it?

Danielle Tsi grew up in Singapore, a tiny, food-obsessed island on the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, where every waking minute was spent thinking about what her next meal was going to be. Landing in the United States with her well-traveled Nikon, she turned her lifelong love affair with food into images and words on her blog, Beyond the Plate. When not behind the lens or at the stove, Danielle can be found on her yoga mat perfecting the headstand.

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery says:

    I absolutely agree 100% that everything should be as homemade as possible! I'm doing my first CSA this year, and even growing my own vegetables! My mom makes her own peanut butter and even her own toothpaste! One can assume that's where I got handmade fever from :)

    2 years ago

  • LucyRoseDesigns

    Kelly from LucyRoseDesigns says:

    Some great information there, would love to try making my own nutella, looks delicious!!!

    2 years ago

  • busterandboo

    Buster and boo from busterandboo says:

    yes! I haven't bought salad dressing in years, it is so simple to make your own. I don't want to know what all those other ingredients are!!

    2 years ago

  • freesoul

    Semira from freesoul says:

    Awesome post! I love making pesto and granola, must try homemade cocoa hazelnut spread, hmmm!!

    2 years ago

  • NaturalBodyBoutique

    NaturalBodyBoutique from NaturalBodyBoutique says:

    Great reading! EVerything looks yummy and I agree; natural is the only way to go.

    2 years ago

  • PinesVintageClothing

    Pine from GoodOldVintageOnline says:

    Totally agree..homemade is the way to go. Cheaper and more delicious. I like using grapeseed oil and rice wine vinegar as a base for a really yummy and light salad dressing. Something different.

    2 years ago

  • MeshuMaSH

    Irit from MeshuMaSH says:

    I can eat the photos, awesome :)

    2 years ago

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose says:

    Also, I never buy salad dressing.... Or bread..... I make them. The best gifty I ever bought myself was my bread maker. Even candy.... I make from organic all natural scratch in my kitchen. Some of this organic deliciousness is even in my shop. I love making my own pantry items and food items. It is crucial for living a healthy life. I even dress up the water as an herb and vegie salad. It's really quite fun to try to find out what you can create in your kitchen next. I don't stop at making traditional american pantry items and yummies. I made some delicious Finnish Salmiakki the other day. I can't wait to start offering that here as well.

    2 years ago

  • misscharlottejewelry

    Joyce Davies from JewelryByCarlotta says:

    If everyone complains that they are so stressed with their hectic lifestyles, how can they find time to make food from scratch, too?

    2 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering says:

    I love homemade salsa, all of the fresh ingredients! I could almost drink it by itself!

    2 years ago

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits from OuterKnits says:

    Pantry always wins, and tastes better too! Yum.

    2 years ago

  • ReleafPaper

    Heather from ReleafPaper says:

    I loved this. Your right that it always tastes better. I couldn't agree more!

    2 years ago

  • lphen1

    lphen1 says:

    Wow! I love Nutella-Just think of the flavored batches you could create. I have a sudden urge to can or jar something... thinking a Port wine- nutella sauce...very inspiring article.

    2 years ago

  • ShereesAtelier

    Sheree Schattenmann from ShereesAtelier says:

    Oh, my pantry is brimming with homemade goodies. I make granola and granola bars as well as Kind-bar inspired bars. I make our salad dressings and I make all of our jams/preserves. Last year I canned 200 bottles of various fruit preserves and pickled onions as well as some chutneys. I am hoping to do about 300 jars this year. I use alot of the ingredients that I grown in my backyard garden, which is organic. And then the fruits are picked locally at the pick your own berry farms or purchased at a local market that sells Michigan grown produce. Last year I bought a half bushel of Michigan peaches for $13. There were 30 pounds of fruit in that half bushel. The peach jam, marmalade and chutney I made was delicious. I want to try some homemade tomato sauce this year. I make most things from scratch, not so much for the cost savings, but more for the taste and the avoidance of chemicals. Yes, I am a chemist, but I don't want my food bogged down with chemicals! Sheree

    2 years ago

  • MerCurios

    MerCurios from MerCurios says:

    Every year my family would spend a few days in the summer jarring bushels of tomatoes for the winter. This was a family affair and aunts, uncles, cousins would all take part. Nothing compares to homemade tomato sauce, nothing! What a great time, especially the family bonding. Unfortunately, the tradition died out with the grandparents and so we don't get together to do this anymore. But, I do still make sauce from fresh tomatoes and am looking forward to the day when I can invest in the equipment we used (the machine to separate the seeds& skin from the pulp & the HUGE boiling tubs) and start the tradition all over again. We also love our salads and I'm always making fresh dressings with my bullet! A simple recipe: Evoo, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, shallots & herbs (parsley, basil, tyme, oregeno & rosemary -- all or just a few) blend it all up! xo, MJ

    2 years ago

  • avesattic

    Avis Carty from AvesAttic says:

    Not only is homemade food delicious, but it's the satisfaction you get when you know what ingredients are in it and that you made it with your own hands. You really don't have to make everything from scratch, just start with an easy homemade bread recipe. Did you know that kneading a lump of dough can help with stress too :-)

    2 years ago

  • Xenotees

    Xenotees from Xenotees says:

    Awesome article!

    2 years ago

  • cutiepiecompany

    milly from cutiepiecompany says:

    Homemade pesto is infinitely tastier than any store bought brand! Very simple to make too. My favorite pesto recipes are from Martha Stewart. Love making salad dressing too. I will have to try making some homemade granola as well!

    2 years ago

  • faeriejane

    Valerie says:

    I adore this post! I have yet to make my own Nutella, but everything else on the list I love making and enjoying from scratch.

    2 years ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    When I can I LOVE to make homemade things....my kids just loved homemade hot cocoa! It's amazing when you actually have the ingredients on hand, how fun it is to make something from scratch, and tastes better, too, just cause you made it!

    2 years ago

  • rivahside

    rivahside says:

    Thank you for this!

    2 years ago

  • jmayoriginals

    jean from jmayoriginals says:

    fantastic article! i want to start filling my pantry shelves with jars of homemade goodness.

    2 years ago

  • likekittysville

    likekittysville from likekittysville says:

    Handmade granola is fun to make. I include barley flakes, which look just like rolled oats and are just as cheap in the bulk food section. Coconut flakes add richness. And my favorite ingredient is overripe bananas as a binder and sweetener. It feels delicious to squeeze the bananas through your fingers as you hand-mix the crunchy sticky mess!

    2 years ago

  • TreasureBoxJewels

    Natalie Shawver from TreasureBoxJewels says:

    Makes me want to make a homemade pot of sauce with home grown tomatoes. Yum:) Thanks for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny says:

    Fantastic article! I had thought of making granola before, but hadn't actually attempted it. My favorite pantry staple is a chai latte mix. It's pretty simple, and really cheap. Dry instant tea, powdered creamer, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ginger. I could bring a whole canister of it to work and make myself fresh chai lattes any time! Definitely worth the try (although the nutmeg will cost you a bit if you don't already have it)

    2 years ago

  • LittleFirebird

    LittleFirebird from LittleFirebird says:

    Oh how wonderful ! Thanks so much for sharing. I am off to make one (or three) of these recipes now. A great blog. Thankyou.

    2 years ago

  • needlenerd

    Bonnie from needlenerd says:

    mmm can't wait to try all of these. thank you!

    2 years ago

  • OncleHope

    Oncle Hope from OncleHope says:

    Wonderfull! Love the photos - mouth watering! I love just one pesto and that is the home made one. The one in the jar is too....I dont know but just too fake maybe. Pesto for me should be chunky. I should be able to feel each of the 4-5 ingredients while having my pasta. And sometimes i just mix with some fresh tomato sauce and ricotta and i have the sicilian version. Yummi! Also I learned one thing from a swedish book called: whats on your plate. Never buy a product with a lot of ingredients and so small a text you need your glasses to read them. And if you dont know what it is - dont buy it!

    2 years ago

  • JunkStoreAddict

    Joy from JunkStoreAddict says:

    Oh! What a great post, with great ideas! Cant wait to try them. Thanks for sharing :)

    2 years ago

  • flammefatale

    Sylvie Langlois from flammefatale says:

    I've been making my own granola (from the recipe posted a while back on this very site!) and my own yogurt for a while now, and not only is it tastier than anything bought at the store, but I know exactly what I am eating! Cost-wise, I think it all depends on the quality of the store-bought items you are comparing. You can buy amazing food items at the store that are made by smaller manufacturers and feature a very healthy list of ingredients, but these do come at a price (which they are worth!). Thanks for this great post!

    2 years ago

  • BlueRoseRetro

    BlueRoseRetro from BlueRoseRetro says:

    Grown up Nutella.... Mmmmm! I am going to have to give that one a try.

    2 years ago

  • mgebreab

    mgebreab from mgebreab says:

    Must try the Nutella and granola.....I love this post thank you for sharing. I grew up on olive oil vinger salt and pepper dressing for salad and never buy any but it is good to try some of the restaurant style dressing too :)

    2 years ago

  • fineartstoneware
  • bibbbo

    Bo Bibb from LayersDesign says:

    I love the process of making my own jams, bread, pickles, and canning anything fresh. I've also started making my own butter and cheese now, so easy! My mema would be proud of me.

    2 years ago

  • CTCosta

    Chris Costa from CTCostaPhotography says:

    Extremely informative post, thanks for sharing!

    2 years ago

  • DeathByVintage

    Jypyse from DeathByVintage says:

    I have been looking for granola recipes. I do pesto. I do homemade dressings but the granola....can't wait to try this one! and the nut spread. I am such a foodie.

    2 years ago

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop says:

    Thanks for sharing this!

    2 years ago

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons from TigersandDragons says:

    I have a winter pesto recipe that uses mainly spinach with some basil, it is less expensive and yummy. Just put it in an ice cube tray and freeze little cubes of pesto for later use.

    2 years ago

  • windycitynovelties

    Windy City Novelties says:

    Handmade most definitely tastes better than store bought!

    2 years ago

  • yomarismillan

    YMillan MILLAN from AgapeArts says:

    NOTHING BETTER THAN HOMEMADE!!!!

    2 years ago

  • glusk

    Tara Galuska from GluskDesigns says:

    Yummy and home made always has that special and priceless ingredient called love.

    2 years ago

  • satellitedaisy

    satellitedaisy from satellitedaisy says:

    I have made my own salad dressing since I was a kid. I found the recipes in the Betty Crocker cookbook & was put in charge of making it when I was about 10 years old. I have been making granola for 3 years now & it is completely worth it. Delicious, nutritious & I know exactly what I'm eating.

    2 years ago

  • steffd

    stephanie davis says:

    Homemade is the way to go and even if it is not more cost effective the quality far surpasses anything from the store. If you do it enough and can join a bulk buying club and grow food or invest in CSA your cost will decrease even more. Sticking to homemade, homegrown has totally revolutionized my diet. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your prerogative and your dining partner) it has also transformed my experiences when eating out. I don't like to spend money on sub-par restaurant fare and am always thinking about how I could do this at home. I love to consider the impact this mindset has on a community. It makes people more conscientious about where their money is going and really consider what they are investing in.

    2 years ago

  • mollysm130

    Molly from JerseysFreshest says:

    OH YES YES YES! It baffles me when I see the amount of prepared foods that are sold in the supermarket. I refuse to buy that stuff. I avoid prepared foods because prepared foods have loads of things in them that I can't pronounce...not to mention preservatives and who knows what else. I like to know that what I put into my family's tummies is good for them. And, I agree that homemade is cheaper when it comes to food--it baffles me when people say that they can't afford healthy foods--It is those prepared, unhealthy foods that are expensive. What people don't realize is that although the upfront cost of the ingredients may be more, if you break it down like above, it turns out to be way cheaper in the long run. Another thing I hear a lot is lack of time--I have frozen foods in my freezer for those emergencies, when I have no energy to cook....but I MADE THEM ALL (pizzas, burritos, and veggie burgers..All it takes is one day dedicated to cooking). Even when it comes to staples, I make a lot of that too--vegetable broth--which is better than any store bought broth (yes even chicken broth), granola, and pesto (with fresh basil from the garden when it's in season....(tip for pesto: freeze pesto in ice-cube trays, then you have individual pesto sauce to defrost!!)...I make as much as a can from scratch--and all of my meals are homemade...I have my mom to thank for this value of good home cooked meals :) Thanks MOM! And thank you, Danielle, for this post...Now I have more yummy ideas to try out in my kitchen :)

    2 years ago

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop says:

    I never buy salad dressing because it is sort of silly to pay so much for inferior product but that Nutella recipe is new to me and looks just amazing. I have to add here, that the picture of those shelves just sagging with jars of canned food is SCARY looking. I really hope those shelves are sturdy and bolted to the wall because that would be one hell of a mess.

    2 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    Homemade is the best! Since summer is almost here I am so excited about the fresh fruits that grow in the garden. The flavor is just so much better than what you can buy in the store! Mmmmm =)

    2 years ago

  • tonyakehler

    Tonya from oohlaya says:

    My mouth is watering just reading about this blog! Everything looks so yummy! Homemade is so much better, that's one thing I remember about my grandma when I was younger everything she made was so good, and her homemade strawberry jelly was to die for! Now I am the one trying to make the jelly, and trying to can more things!

    2 years ago

  • ToCreateJoy

    Debbie from ToCreateJoy says:

    I've been married 34 years and never bought a jar of jam. I make about 11 jars a year for us and gifts. I am currently off gluten and a bunch of other things (including garlic, cane sugar, artificial sweeteners and black pepper) for health issues so cannot buy salad dressings. I'm excited to try some of these ideas. thanks!

    2 years ago

  • ToCreateJoy

    Debbie from ToCreateJoy says:

    sorry - typo on the last comment - I make 100 jars of jam a year, not 11...

    2 years ago

  • BayoulandBeads

    Peggy Calahan from BayoulandBeads says:

    Great article, and so encouraged to see so many singing the praises of homemade!! I too, grow my own tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, herbs, etc. and have put up jars of pickles, sauce, pesto, and other things. All are far superior to store bought, and you know what ingredients you are using. It is so much more healthy and delicious. Happy eating to all!

    2 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    Oh, I want to make something tasty now...

    2 years ago

  • PlumPixy

    PlumPixy from PlumPixy says:

    Wow! This is great! love love love homemade everything...yummy pesto, granola and spreads fill the pantry.

    2 years ago

  • AllThatJazzbyJAZ

    Helen from AllThatJazzbyJAZ says:

    I love homemade staples - I started with lemon chutney a few years ago, then ramped up to all sorts of chutneys, jams, and curds. And nothing is nicer than going to a BBQ and handing over a bottle of chutney - my friends were thrilled and have been talking about my chutney ever since! :)

    2 years ago

  • suzyLOVESscott

    suzy lanza from suzyLOVESscott says:

    great article. there is so much pleasure in homemade food, in cooking with loved ones, sharing the good quality food with others-- i think we should all aspire to make more time to it:)

    2 years ago

  • AlpineGypsy

    Heidi from AlpineGypsy says:

    WOOOHOOOOO!!! I just love this post - not only are these things so much yummier when you make them yourself, but you get the added pleasure of reveling in the aromas, and the sensuous activities of chopping and mincing. And it's cheaper, or the same price - bonus! SO FUN - especially with a good song on the radio, and perhaps a yummy glass of red. PS: That picture of the loaded pantry completely made my day - thank you. ♥ Heidi

    2 years ago

  • CountrySquirrelsRUS

    Annette Bailey from CountrySquirrelsRUS says:

    I love to read articles such as these, it's certainly food for the soul. Being a country squirrel, I so enjoy growing my own organic heirloom vegetables and as a vendor/visitor at farmers' markets, it's a great way to meet new people who share the same love. Nearly everywhere has a farmers' market to check out, http://www.localharvest.org/ is a place to find one near you along with your state's department of agriculture. Do get to know the farmer(s) that you buy from, even ask to visit their farm. This way you can trust them when they say organic heirloom or certified natural fed free-range chickens, you can relax knowing that what you are buying is actually good for you to eat. Oh, and do learn how to can your food and if you know how to can, please, teach someone....it's knowledge worth sharing!

    2 years ago

  • ExLibrisJournals

    Meaghan from ExLibrisJournals says:

    great information! I'm always trying to eat healthier and eat less processed foods. The closer you can get to homemade, the better, even if it costs a little bit more!

    2 years ago

  • VintageFairRetroRare

    Karen from VintageFairRetroRare says:

    Wonderful & Inspiring article! Thank you. We too grow our own organic veggies & herbs. We can stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, pickled baby corn, salsa, hot sauce, jams & jellies........etc. We don't raise our own free range chickens now, but have, & growers. Now we get eggs & chickens for eating from the place up the road. I don't buy salad dressing, we make it.........the family that cooks together, has fun in the kitchen, has delicious food to eat & that teaches our younger generations innovation, creativity, economy and in some cases, survival in these harsh times.

    2 years ago

  • fbstudiovt

    Laura Hale from FoundBeautyStudioArt says:

    I'm a DIY pantry girl all the way. It's therapeutic for me to carve time out of my insane schedule to cook. I have one piece of advice for those who are used to prepared food and are thinking of moving over to homemade versions: don't expect it to taste exactly the same. It doesn't. And it takes a while for your palate to readjust to new flavors. Homemade bread doesn't taste like wonder bread (and it shouldn't!). Ketchup you make from your own tomatoes sure as heck doesn't take like Heinz. All the preservatives and chemicals that go into those grocery store shelf staples change the flavor of the products. Once you readjust your taste buds, all the stuff that comes in bags, bottles, and tubes will taste so artificial. Biology is awesome!

    2 years ago

  • winnieryan

    Winnie Ryan says:

    First thing I notice is that you're griping about 10 components in your market's granola. I make granola with about 6 or 8 (oats, honey, oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, then variable fruits maybe touch of brown sugar if I don't have enough honey), and one of the ones added in the market version is ascorbic acid - that's vitamin C, and probably on the fruit in it if you buy it with fruit. Besides, I expect it helps preserve slightly any oils since there are some in whole grains. I do a good amount of home made and preserving, but it really does help if you understand what the ingredients are. That means you need to know - not that they threw in a chemical. Just because you make it at home doesn't always make it good or necessarily better. If the makings are store bought is it necessarily that big a difference? Is the ingredient better because it was transformed into jam or jelly or whatever in your kitchen? (I'm being a pain because you fussed above, but don't seem to know what basic cooking chemistry is.) I grow a good bit of berries, and every so often the fruit trees give me a big batch of pears. To be honest, though, I buy the cukes for pickles - I don't have great luck growing those, and of course I buy the sugar and the vinegar. I make things at home because I do make a better batch of jam at a better price. Ultimately though, I enjoy what I do (and my friends like the preserves, pickles, etc, too). Sometimes that's enough! BTW - have to agree with Marcia Lacher on the sagging shelves. The upper sagging shelves look dangerous. Messy is bad enough but if they cut loose and someone gets clonked on the head with a full quart or larger jar, it could be a disaster for him/her.

    2 years ago

  • jewelrybyamyt

    AmyT and mom from JewelryByAmyT says:

    Great article! I would love the granola recipe in more detail :-)

    2 years ago

  • VintageFairRetroRare

    Karen from VintageFairRetroRare says:

    Well of course some things need to be bought retail to make our recipes with our home grown / raised. That's a given. We can't grow everything & do buy some. Yeah, the laden shelves photo looks like my FIL's way back when!

    2 years ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says:

    It helps when you live near a farmers' market that sells less expensive produce to begin with. If you have time on the weekend, I think it can be very relaxing to make these staples.

    2 years ago

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom says:

    Homemade pesto is great for someone who grows a lot of basil in their garden, because basil is an annual in temperate regions. You are going to have to cut it down anyway; you may as well find a use for it. With the salad dressing, watch out on that olive oil. I've been hearing horror stories about adulterated olive oil--not necessarily with anything outright toxic but definitely diluted with inferior oils. From what I understand, Costco olive oil is good quality, and so are a lot of the California oils. I wouldn't do homemade granola on a bet, but then I don't eat granola at all. If it's a grain and processed to any degree beyond the whole seed, like as not it's rancid, which is terrible for you. And grains carry their own health hazards. I gave them up and my GI tract's never been happier, and neither have my joints. (It took giving up casein to fully get rid of my headaches, though I suspect I'll still be predicting bad weather for a while.) You want to know what works great for homemade, though? Gluten-free baking recipes. No lie. I can spend an arm and a leg on store-bought GF muffins or I can make my own at home and they're a lot less starchy, too. :)

    2 years ago

  • karilu

    Karissa Mohr from KariLuJewelry says:

    I just love this. I'm slowly learning how to make things for myself, and this has given me lots of new ideas. Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • ChocolateBayouShop

    Evelyn Bonner from ChocolateBayouShop says:

    Love this post! Danielle is so on point when she says..." there is a cost to everything, financial or otherwise." In this case, the most expensive cost of consuming the stuff from the store is often one's health and quality of life. Some things do take a bit of time...like making homemade ketchup. But the taste is so worth it, and it can be made without salt which often helps out our family and friends with high blood pressure on sodium restricted diets. I don't do as much homemade as I would like...but I'm trying to get there!!

    2 years ago

  • KoyoDesigns

    Koyo from KoyoDesigns says:

    Most excellent post! I make a lot of our own staples. And yes it does take more time, but in the long run it is worth it! In my younger years we ate a lot of prepackaged foods -- now we eat none. We are much healthier for it. Love these recipes. Can't wait to give them a try. If you've never tried gardening, try it -- you might like it. Even if you live in an apartment you can grow herbs and few tomatoes in planter boxes. We live in town, but our yard is a garden instead of a lawn. It is great fun for the whole family!

    2 years ago

  • sermengtk

    STK from hollandvstk says:

    An interesting post! A ton of fantastic ideas to chew on. And great comments and ideas from everyone.

    2 years ago

  • personTen

    Sylvia from personTen says:

    Thank you for sharing! I'm constantly looking for things I can make myself to save money and to save my health...I hate all of those extra ingredients.

    2 years ago

  • lauralynn

    Laura from mairseedotes says:

    my favorite make-ahead frozen meal is individual-sized pizza crusts! I freeze them in individual baggies and always have pasta sauce (not homemade... I'm not that good yet!) and shredded mozzarella on hand. Whenever the hubby is stuck on his own or we're feeling lazy and want to just order a pizza, it's just as easy to pull out two of the crusts, top them with sauce, cheese and whatever veggies or other toppings we can find in the fridge, and bake for 11 minutes. much less greasy but still as satisfying as delivery/Digiornio! :)

    2 years ago

  • sapphireandmore

    Renayle Fink from sapphireandmore says:

    My mouth was watering! I love to make my own dressings, and want to kick it up a notch with pesto and nut butters. Thank you so much for this!

    2 years ago

  • PatternsAndPlans

    PatternsAndPlans from PatternsAndPlans says:

    Mmmmm! Thanks for such wonderful recipes and cost-saving comparisons! Very tasty & economical too!

    2 years ago

  • papercraftersnook

    Rachael Caskey from papercraftersnook says:

    Homemade Nutella...I'm on it! Thanks so much for sharing!!! :)

    2 years ago

  • meganrosepedals

    Megan Rose from RosePedalsJewelry says:

    The best thing about having a home based business is having time to do this stuff. Working less gives you more time to do things that save you money, such as growing and making delicious food and stocking your pantry!

    2 years ago

  • PoconoPrincessJewels

    PoconoPrincessJewels from PoconoPrincessJewels says:

    Homemade Nutella...Wow....sounds easy and delicious. Store bought just can't compare in no way, shape, or form, to store homemade. I love making my own preserves and strawberry pies from our annual strawberry picking every June. Making homemade is good as you know every ingredient in it.

    2 years ago

  • PureLoveShop

    PureLoveShop from PureLoveShop says:

    Love this! Great job on doing the math on this! It's home-made all the way for me ;)

    2 years ago

  • KSInspirations

    Kayla Graves-Sparacino from KSInspirations says:

    Home made pesto is best! I like to freeze some in ice cube portions for flavor boosts. Home made salsa is awesome too.

    2 years ago

  • astarteearthart

    astarteearthart from astarteearthart says:

    one of my favorite subjects...food! Thanks!

    2 years ago

  • purplehipposews

    purplehipposews from purplehipposews says:

    what a great post. specially like the nutella one. Homemade is good!!

    2 years ago

  • andichrisman

    Andi Chrisman from acpaintedpages says:

    mmm, those photos alone are making me hungry!

    2 years ago

  • CRAZYCOOLSTUFF

    Dawn Beckwith from CRAZYCOOLSTUFF says:

    I'm so excited about the rest of the world finally catching on to Organic and Local! I just closed my art and jewelry store to start a plant business on our farm with my hubby and I am looking forward to canning and making as much of our food as possible. Thank you for the great ideas and the easy "how-tos".

    2 years ago

  • BabyCakesSinfulsweet

    Marissa Swailes says:

    Oh my goodness that cocoa hazelnut spread looks wonderful! A definite must try! Homemade is 100% the way to go. I make a lot of these items already. Probably my favorite thing to make is guacamole. So good! Awesome article! Thanks for additional ideas/tips :)

    2 years ago

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage says:

    Awesome recipes! I still can pickle Tomatoes.

    2 years ago

  • starlyt99

    starlyt99 from starlyt99 says:

    Everything sounds so good, my mouth is watering....I have a question on the granola bars. I have to watch the sugar so I would use the sugar free maple syrup. Will this change anything on texture etc.? Also on the Nutella, would there be a sugar substitute for the powdered sugar? Any help is appreciated.

    2 years ago

  • KimberlyEstrada

    Kimberly Estrada from KimberlyEstrada says:

    love this! I totally support making things from scratch and it's a fun activity :)

    2 years ago

  • starlyt99

    starlyt99 from starlyt99 says:

    Everything sounds so good..... Question on replacing substituting sugar free for regular sugar. On the granola bars I will use sugar free maple syrup. Will this matter on the texture etc? Also on the Nutella, what could I use in place of real powdered sugar....some kind of sugar free product? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I just love all these ideas and tips.

    2 years ago

  • greekhousewife

    Estelle Stone from greekhousewife says:

    I've been wanting to jar tomatoes. MerCurious: Any suggestions? Thanks for the recipes. I agree with everyone. Homemade is So much better. I also make my own cleaning products too. Way too many chemicals out there in everything. :-(

    2 years ago

  • starlyt99

    starlyt99 from starlyt99 says:

    So sorry for the multiple posts.... :}

    2 years ago

  • taterrounds

    Tater Rounds from TaterRoundsBeauty says:

    Wow wonderful post I agree !!!

    2 years ago

  • madamtartarsauce

    madamtartarsauce from FrostBrite says:

    excellent, and thanks for the extra recipes, too! i love making salad dressing. lots of experimentation! :)

    2 years ago

  • aoisart

    Kia from aoisart says:

    DIY, even in the kitchen!! Loved this article!!

    2 years ago

  • papernickle

    Brandy and Tyler from BrandyCupcakesStudio says:

    That first photo is gorgeous and inspiring. Homemade stuff is just the best!

    2 years ago

  • HappyWhoos

    Jessie Friedman from HappyWhoos says:

    Great article! Loved it! Homemade is the BEST! For the past year or so, I have been buying less processed and making my favorite foods myself... Like coconut milk, granola, nut butters, tomato sauce, jams, salad dressings, bread, tortillas, vanilla extract, etc. I also stopped buying cleaning products and started putting together my own with vinegar, baking soda, etc. I would love to get into pickling! My goal is to be able to have EVERYTHING homemade and buy 0 processed. Homemade is better, eco-friendly, less expensive, and just awesome! :)

    2 years ago

  • ShabbyNChic

    ShabbyNChic from ShabbyNChic says:

    Love this! Thank you so much for sharing these great recipes! I will be making the granola for sure.

    2 years ago

  • HappyWhoos

    Jessie Friedman from HappyWhoos says:

    Great article! Loved it! Homemade is the BEST! For the past year or so, I have been buying less processed foods and making my own... Like coconut milk, granola, nut butters, jams, tomato sauce, salad dressings, bread, tortilla, vanilla extract, etc. I have also stopped buying cleaning products and started to put together my own with vinegar, baking soda, etc. I would love to try pickling! My goal in the future is to buy 0 processed foods and have EVERYTHING homemade. Homemade is better, healthier, eco-friendly, inexpensive, and just awesome! :)

    2 years ago

  • LadyInTheWood

    LadyInTheWood from LadyInTheWood says:

    This is fantastic. I really like this.

    2 years ago

  • LadyInTheWood

    LadyInTheWood from LadyInTheWood says:

    This is fantastic. I really like this. Thank you for the recipes, especially the Chocolate one.

    2 years ago

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight says:

    Ack! Or more broadly: Uck! It's odd, because you mentioned eating thousand island dressing, and then gave a recipe for a completely different kind of dressing? WTF? Where's the thousand island recipe that I'm supposed to be able to whip up in 5 minutes? Why the disconnect? I eat salad every day, and I must admit I don't understand why people think it's okay for oil to come from olives but don't understand the same property when you refer to lecithin (which comes from either sunflowers or soybeans) and is used in food mostly as an emulsifier to keep the ingredients in suspension so that they don't separate in the jar. For how much etsy "loves" ceramics - maybe ask the slip casters about the point of emulsifiers and chemical properties, because this idea that all "chemicals are bad" is just total bull----. If you don't get enough potassium from your diet, then you're staring at a heart attack; potassium is a chemical, it can be found in bananas. You might want to also keep up on your Phytomenadione consumption. You know, vitamin K. You can find it in your leafy green veggies - it's a component of clotting factor, and it's important. But, GASP! it has a chemical name. Chemical phobia is based in fear, not knowledge. Leading people to a wikipedia page is pretty irresponsible, particularly with lecithin - which is virtually always from soy beans or sunflowers. It's not a chemical that is mined or completely created from substrates in a laboratory. So, why the junk science in a cooking article? I'm not a fan of vinaigrette. I like to drown the salad I eat daily with either thousand island, creamy poppyseed or Girard's raspberry salad dressing - to make any of them something has to be cooked. All salad dressing isn't as simple as dumping olive oil in a cruet. So, when I began reading this article, I was dismayed and disappointed to see that the pie in the sky statement about the ease of cooking was totally misleading. Gimme a ranch recipe; something that doesn't taste like acid. Granola has long been debunked by any dietician as having any real value, so I'll pass on that one. Get some oatmeal or grapenuts and throw some fruit in there - you'll get your fiber. Nutella? I have no desire to make nutella. I buy maybe 1 jar of it a year, and as a savvy shopper I can generally get it on sale for $2.50. You guys should be better omnivores, defy marketing, and shop at places less branded than Trader Joes or Whole Foods or whatever Chain was being casually referenced in this article as though no one shops at a local grocery store and interacts with their fellow townspeople. Because your organic chain stores are totally price gouging you, congrats. If I have to own a food processor to make fake nutella, then it's already too complicated. Pesto? Meh. Lemme know when you write an article about meatloaf, chicken paprikash, or Stroganoff because your food choices speak to a particular mindset, and it isn't as broad as you think it is. And really, if you talk about thousand island dressing and how simple it is to make salad dressing, then the recipe ought not to be for something completely different. The bait and switch was predictable; hence my reaction as a person who eats salad 5 days a week was predictable.... perhaps you didn't tell us how to make thousand island because we'd need to buy Miracle Whip or alternately - mayonnaise, which, yes, Virginia, involves chemicals, as does pickle relish. Plus it has sugar. Of course, really, everything you eat is a chemical. Its understanding what those chemicals do and why they're in food that you buy because it is so much simpler to not stand around a kitchen for five hours a day refusing to let society intervene in your meals that really is a huge time suck. It takes knowledge to know when it is natural and when it is useful.

    2 years ago

  • rattriffic

    Heather says:

    its not cheaper if you use coupons, you can get tons and tons and tons of brand name fabulous stockpile items for next to nothing by being smart and planning just like what you are saying here with a quarter of the effort

    2 years ago

  • HappyWhoos

    Jessie Friedman from HappyWhoos says:

    Sorry for the multiple posts... For some weird reason my post showed up 30 minutes later.

    2 years ago

  • goldaddict

    Victoria from RandomlyChic says:

    I try to make as much from scratch as time allows. I can jams every summer, make my own pestos, sauces, and dressings. Initially, getting some of the ingredients can seem more costly but it balances out.

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    Interesting, I think what appeals to me most about homemade over store bought is the control - you know what's in it from the ingredients you use and theres more flexibility to experiment with flavour!

    2 years ago

  • Melyshoney

    Pam Powell from Melyshoney says:

    I work full time, have 4 children and run 2 etsy shops and have always made meals etc from scratch you know exactly what you are eating all of the time and tastes far better than any convienience food you can buy. Great article re instating homemade is best!! We all have a choice to buy or to make - if you really dont have time then buy from someone who does and not from the grocery /supermarket store. Just taste the difference!!

    2 years ago

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose says:

    I agree with Pam, in a world where they are polluting our food, it is critical to be putting natural foods into our systems and that of our families. It is really important to know where our food comes from. It is a day later, and I am still loving this blog post.

    2 years ago

  • krize

    Kristina Sabaite from krize says:

    Natural and homemade foods are always better! Thanks for the article!

    2 years ago

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop says:

    Interesting!

    2 years ago

  • dellcovespices

    David and Patricia from dellcovespices says:

    Homemade foods are great. They can make fantastic gifts -- whether to you and your family, or other loved ones. However, please remember that with many home-made foods, storage is key. Sterilize your containers prior to using them. And for heaven's sake, please don't reuse canning jar lids. The rings? They're fine to reuse, as long as they're in good shape and not rusty. But we've seen too many people try to re-use the flat lids -- and that's a bad case of food-poisoning and contamination waiting to happen.

    2 years ago

  • misspoppys1

    Marie Allen from misspoppys1 says:

    I make homemade jam every year and it really is the best and makes great presents - its my mothers birthday tomorrow and along with her little bundle of gifts is - my jam! I go foraging in the local hedgerows with the kids every autumn and pick wild blackberries and we eat the resulting jam all year. I also pickle lots of the veg I grow too - chillis, peppers etc. Its great!

    2 years ago

  • thechimingkind

    the chiming kind says:

    I guess trader joe's sponsored this? I can think of a dozen stores within the same area as TJ in my area which are less expensive and have more selection. I'd prefer to read about generic ingredients that see the name TJ in every list. Anyway I roast red peppers and store them in olive oil year round; giradinera; sweet pickles; dill pickles; cherry peppers; tomato sauce from scratch with no canned ingredients; all salad dressings. Hummus; various soups. I bake my breads; granola. I never use preservatives and buy as much as I can at local farmer's markets.

    2 years ago

  • SenoritaJoya

    Dorottya from SenoritaJoya says:

    Home made always more delicious! :) Good news that it can be done at lower price. :))) Have a lovely day! ♥ D

    2 years ago

  • KPlager

    Kate Plager from BombyxBotanica says:

    I quit my job last year to stay home with my kids. Now I have time to cook and make things from scratch. It is definitely better and healthier. People aren't supposed to eat preservatives for every meal. Last summer I made fresh apple cider and hard cider. This summer it will be strawberry and blueberry jam! I also would like to experiment making beer and limoncello.

    2 years ago

  • FranceGallery
  • minouette

    Ele from minouette says:

    Nifty article, thanks. I'm going to repeat a request: Etsy is an international site and most of the world uses metric units. It would make all food articles easier to read and friendlier to international users if you also included metric units.

    2 years ago

  • MurumuruArt

    Peter Foti from MurumuruArt says:

    Nice post! ;) I love pesto!!! <3

    2 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comments referring to "chemical fear" in relation to actually KNOWING about what's in your food. I've always made meusli (the nearest Europeans generally get to the sickly sweet rubbish called granola) with plenty of fruit & nuts & no added sugar, & I make most of our meals from fresh ingredients, but really, where do you draw the line? I've always made what I call "sandwich onions" which are pickled onions chopped small enough to go into a sandwich, but do I really have to brew my own vinegar & grow my own spices? As for fake nutella, it's way easier to simply stop eating such an unnecessary item of diet than to fiddle about making your own. And yes, you SHOULD include metric measurments, rather than the ancient & non-sensical system Americans seem so fond of.

    2 years ago

  • unendingjourney

    Heather and Andrew from unendingjourney says:

    We make a great deal of our food from scratch, especially muesli (which we eat every morning!) I do home canning, and thanks to a food processor we just bought I'll be able to make pesto from my homegrown basil. Yay!

    2 years ago

  • alancrusinbery

    Big Al from TALLPINESTRADINGPOST says:

    As city people now living on 10 acres in the country it allows me and my wife to grow, can and freeze our vegetables. We couldn't do this living in an apartment in the city. We grow tomatoes, summer and winter squash, green beans, shelling beans, okra, eggplant, cabbage, carrots, spinach, lettuce, potatoes, onions, blackberries, blueberries, peaches and all kinds of herbs and hot peppers. My wife makes jams, jellies, salsa, pesto, pasta sauce, pickles and relishes . She also dries the herbs for winter use. Yes, it's work but it is so much cheaper than store bought. We want to plant apple, pear, paw paw and wild plum trees next year. Now she wants chickens for fresh eggs. I can't agree more! The difference in taste from store bought eggs is unbelievable. We have been semi-retired for 4 yrs. now, but still learning new things about a self-sustaining lifestyle and getting back to nature like we started to learn in the 60s. Back then city mindset and careers got in the way. It's never too late to start living a simpler more healthy lifestyle no matter what age you begin....and the sooner the better!

    2 years ago

  • sharonplante

    Sharon Plante from sharonplante says:

    What a great post. I love making home-made everything as much as possible. Thanks for the useful info!

    2 years ago

  • sarantos

    sarantos from SARANTOS says:

    I make almost everything from scratch including yogurt, bread, flour tortillas,granola and biscotti. Also, grow my own sprouts, veggies and herbs. I've got about 200 tomato seedlings coming up now. Decided to do different varieties of cherry tomatoes this year. :)

    2 years ago

  • SteamBathFactory

    Gin Shakespear from SteamBathFactory says:

    LOVE the home made granola!

    2 years ago

  • jewelrybyamyt

    AmyT and mom from JewelryByAmyT says:

    We make homemade meals most every day. Not only does it taste better but like mentioned above one has control over the ingredients - both quality and quantity. Something i have not yet figured out is why does canned red kidney beans always have sugar listed as an ingredient? Do we really need to have sugar in cooked legumes? I cook legumes without sugar and they are great.

    2 years ago

  • Tessarj

    Tessa Jones from WidowsWalk says:

    I've been meaning to make granola for a long time but like you said, buying all the ingredients seems expensive so, thanks for all the info and math! I will make granola this weekend!

    2 years ago

  • ShereesAtelier

    Sheree Schattenmann from ShereesAtelier says:

    Well, as a chemist, Sarah, I can say that potassium is not a chemical. And I think the author of this article is referring to synthetic additives to foods to make them shelf stable for long periods of time. Many of the chemical additives put in packaged foods today are added in small amounts but it is the accumulation of these chemicals in our bodies that can cause harm. Plus, the bulk of the time, homemade foods using fresh ingredients just plain taste better. Our bodies digest them better and we excrete the waste products better. Alot of the soy lecithin put into foods today has been taken through an amazing chemical process and is often made with genetically modified soy beans, which is just a whole new can of worms. I agree, it is not always cheaper to make homemade foods. I just started making my own butter sometimes, and it is more expensive then buying it. But I know it is fresh, and I get fresh butter milk, which I usually need at the same time that I want the fresh butter. And it tastes sooooo much better! And my kids were so amazed the first time that I made it, that it was worth the effort. I love that my kids get to see how much you can make at home and gain that appreciation now.

    2 years ago

  • riorita

    Irith Mashiah from rioritajewelry says:

    I never buy ready made salad dresings!!! Am going to try some of the ones mentioned here! Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight says:

    Potassium is a chemical, Sheree, try checking your periodic table of elements. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium In fact, our beloved wikipedia defines Potassium as a chemical, so I hesitate to wonder where you learned chemistry. I learned about Potassium in public school science class around the age of 12... leaving out ingredients that others use to manufacture foodstuffs is risky, particularly when it's being done for less than scrupulous reasons like a "chemical sounding name."

    2 years ago

  • BabyOzClothing

    Dan and Ronda Osuldsen from BabyOzClothing says:

    Not only is it a great feeling making things from scratch but think how much safer it is. None of those added chemicals that our bodies don't need. My pantry is stocked with apple juice, apple sauce, plum sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, green beans, carrots, pickles and ketchup just to name a few. I love when my kids come home and raid the pantry.

    2 years ago

  • FireIslandSoap

    Billy Bubbles from FireIslandSoap says:

    HOME-MADEEEE BABY!! I loved the pics and the breakdown!

    2 years ago

  • archaicdesign

    Susan from archaicdesign says:

    lol. EVERYTHING is a chemical. so where does the electricity come form when using the food processor? how are the hazelnuts shipped to your local store? what kind of a carbon footprint does it leave before making it to your local food coop? people need to expand their thinking a bit.

    2 years ago

  • smcgeever

    Susie Kate from ArtGallerie says:

    Love this! I really love to make homemade dressing, pesto and hummus. They are so good, fresh, and quick...and it is fun to experiment with different ingredients! :)

    2 years ago

  • VintageJanie

    Janie Gagne from VintageJanieG says:

    Totally agree, so much better than store bought!!

    2 years ago

  • MoonDanceTextiles

    Victoria Vallieres from MoonDanceTextiles says:

    homegrown/homemade food is nutritionally superior, tastier, and less costly...it's very satisfying for me to pull a jar of tomato sauce out of my pantry that was made from the heirloom tomatoes that I grew and then canned and then make pasta sauce from it...btw, canning parties are really fun...

    2 years ago

  • ToosDetectiveAgency

    Sara Schroeder from ToosDetectiveAgency says:

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    2 years ago

  • EartCraft

    Grace and Travis Phillips from EarthCraftSerenity says:

    Since becoming veg and learning what all those obscure ingredients that companies add to our food actually are I make nearly everything homemade! I've grown into such a deep appreciation for my food and that attitude spills out into the rest of my life. Great post! Thank you so much.

    2 years ago

  • happybdaytome

    happybdaytome from happybdaytome says:

    Wonderful post ,yum yum !

    2 years ago

  • jewelryrage

    Aaron Kish from JewelryRage says:

    Great post, pesto is one of my favorite things to make it allows me to use all the basil I have growing in my garden.

    2 years ago

  • genisepark

    Genise Park from genisepark says:

    I love making things from scratch! Cheaper and taste is supreme.

    2 years ago

  • BirdEnergy

    Genise Park from GeniseParkArts says:

    I eat salads a lot and have great fun making my own.

    2 years ago

  • localevintage

    localevintage from localevintage says:

    I totally agree! Making fresh salad dressing makes your salads taste so much more yummy and there is nothing like a freshly made pesto. After spooning fresh pesto from my food processor I never fail to remark that pesto is a gift from the Gods!

    2 years ago

  • Emeraldtree

    Julia from Emeraldtree says:

    Such a great post! Homemade is always so much better!

    2 years ago

  • sharonkayscloset

    sharon kane from sharonkayscloset says:

    I make my own gluten-free sourdough bread and old fashioned salt-brine pickles. I'll never go back to store bought!

    2 years ago

  • VeryCarey

    Carey from VeryCarey says:

    Love this, great article. I make many homemade meals from scratch and appreciate the health and financial benefits of doing so. My guests love it too!

    2 years ago

  • lecrochetart

    Lecrochet Art from LecrochetArt says:

    Conclusion, came to Spain and eat a lot of cheap salads and olive oil! ^_^ just joking Interesting post, thanks!

    2 years ago

  • everythingok

    everythingok from everythingok says:

    I am forever torn between loving making my own homemade things, and being naturally lazy. As such, I always keep a jar of red curry paste in the fridge, but it literally does take like ten seconds to make salad dressing and it's brilliant. Homemade nutella, though? That's dangerously amazing.

    2 years ago

  • BlackStar

    Katie McClanahan from BlackStar says:

    I make everything from scratch and yes, it is worth it. We grow and put up all of our vegetables and herbs. Fruits, we buy in bulk from local farms. Grains and beans and any herbs we don't grow get bought in bulk and stored in the freezer. We just purchased a meat grinder and food dehydrator. I couldn't imagine living any other way.

    2 years ago

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami says:

    Great article!

    2 years ago

  • Proserpia

    Proserpia from Proserpia says:

    Danielle, Thank you for this article. I wrote a response piece to your article on my blog, and would love to know what you think! Store Bought Versus Homemade: Who Will Win? http://www.markethawker.com/2012/05/store-bought-versus-homemade-who-will.html Have a good weekend, Kim

    2 years ago

  • ShereesAtelier

    Sheree Schattenmann from ShereesAtelier says:

    Sarah, Potassium is an element, a chemical element, but not a chemical in the sense that I believe th author was referring. Potassium compounds are chemicals. And while forms of potassium are natural, others are synthetic...they are made in the lab. They are not the same as those found naturally in vegetables, fruits, etc. And I think that is the point that the author of this post was making. This article did not come across to me atleast as one making it sound like chemicals are all bad and everyone should be banning their use. It is simple providing some recipes for those to try that may help them save money or make things that have less unwanted ingredients. You can look here for more about it if you'd like. http://chemistry.about.com/od/elementfacts/a/potassium.htm And I am sorry...but maybe my first response to you read wrong? I did not intend to be offensive, which I assume it may have come across to you based on your last response. Just for your information, I have a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from MIT. I received a pretty good education there. But don't intend to throught that out like a miss know it all or anything. I honestly just wante to point out that potassium was likely not the kind of "chemicals" that the author was referring to. Atleast I did not read it that way. I think it makes a lot of sense to avoid unneccessary exposure to all chemicals that are reactive and can affect your body and your health. There is a place for chemistry. I love being a chemist! I just don't think we need to eat as much of these chemicals as many of us are. Have a great weekend, and again, I do apologize if my response hit a bad chord with you. That was not my intention. :) Sheree

    2 years ago

  • ShereesAtelier

    Sheree Schattenmann from ShereesAtelier says:

    My rushed response is fille with typos. I do apologize! Note to self to proof read before hitting the post button. :)

    2 years ago

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight says:

    Yup, potassium is a chemical, Sheree. Science backs me up. Let it go. Arguing semantics is not making a case. Danielle makes food that subtracts ingredients with chemical names based not on their actual properties or functions (like lecithin) but based on the fact that the ingredients have chemical names. It's a strange and not necessarily healthy thing to do, since it's based on conjecture, not fact. Lecithin is an emulsifier - it's used in nutella so that nutella has a consistent texture and the ingredients don't separate. Lecithin is not the root of all evil or a necessary or legitimate subtraction to executing homemade cooking. Not bothering to actually know what the ingredients are or why they're there is pretty lazy.

    2 years ago

  • DreamOutLoudArt

    Carla from DreamOutLoudArt says:

    Great article - I love to make homemade dressings, sauces, all kinds of things, because I can. I think they taste better and I know what's in it. Thanks!

    2 years ago

  • jewelrybyamyt

    AmyT and mom from JewelryByAmyT says:

    Sheree thank you for all your great information.

    2 years ago

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle says:

    I love the side by side comparisons! I almost always make my own salad dressing now days- it is so easy and tasty :3 (and know that you've done the cost analysis - cheap too! ) There was a granola recipe on Etsy a while back that was delicious - for me these days time seems to be the biggest impediment to homemade but I like knowing what goes into my food :) Thanks for a great article!

    2 years ago

  • UpsideDownFrowns

    UpsideDownFrowns from UpsideDownFrowns says:

    Home made. YUM!! It is always better.

    2 years ago

  • GrowingUpWild

    Kelly Engel from GrowingUpWild says:

    So delicious! I have some new things that I want to try this weekend! Thank you for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • Vamperstein

    Kristin Frøyland Jørgensen from Vamperstein says:

    This article brought back memories from my childhood helping my grandmother to make blackcurrant jam and plum jam. As my grandparents had a farm (and a BIG fruit and berry garden), I was often helping my sweet grandmother in the late summer/early autumn to preserve all the goodness. As I've now grown up, I try to balance the homemade vs. storebought stuff. At least I make some of the stuff myself, like lentil paté, bread and pesto. Though I know I could be better in making the staples myself.

    2 years ago

  • kimberlywyse

    Kimberly Wyse says:

    I'm a modern woman who really appreciates the ease of buying things pre-made and heating them up. HOWEVER... I've recently developed a nasty soy allergy, making it almost impossible to eat anything pre-packaged or refined. Even non-organic apples have a coating on them that contains soy! Due to the allergy, I've begun making my own bread, granola, sauces, baked goods, etc. I'm amazed at how easy and fun it is to experiment with recipes. I've also lost weight and stopped retaining water from all the sodium in pre-packaged foods. Thanks for the tips on homemade things. I'm about to harvest my basil and make pesto. Your granola recipe closely matches the one I got from my elderly aunt whose been making her own delicious granola for years. I can't wait to try homemade nutella! YUM.

    2 years ago

  • Lyla79

    Ionelia Liliana Balan from Victoar says:

    great, healty food, everything looks yummy

    2 years ago

  • neulanen

    sylvi from sylvitaimi says:

    made pesto just today from fresh nettles, ground up almonds, olive oil, garlic and a dash of sea salt. super good with rye pasta. thanks for the further inspirations!

    2 years ago

  • quincebaked

    quincebaked from quincebaked says:

    LOVE this post! We're big on baking and keeping food fresh and healthy. Not only does making your own "store bought" foods save money, but it saves your health too and usually tastes better too.

    2 years ago

  • quincebaked

    quincebaked from quincebaked says:

    BTW. The problem is not chemicals. The problem is ARTIFICIAL chemicals. Vitamins and minerals ARE chemicals, but they are also nutrients needed by our bodies to properly function and they are natural.

    2 years ago

  • rinnyc

    Erin says:

    We made homemade salsa last summer from fresh vegetables from our garden last summer. It was delicious! I would snack and salsa alot, and for when our family and friends came over it was a good appetizer to put out. I am looking forward to this summer when we'll make it again. Also last year we, for the first time made homemade pickles. They were amazing! As we ate them we kept on thinking of better ways we could make them!

    2 years ago

  • sandstormcreations

    sandstormcreations from sandstormcreations says:

    I totally agree, homemade is definatly better. I love canning, cooking, baking you name it. If I can make it from scratch instead of buying it at the store I definetly will. Right now I'm on a homemade nuts and bolts mix kick. Add whatever you want to it and it costs less then buying it in the store and you get more off it. Hmmm think I'll go get some out of the cupboard again.

    2 years ago

  • kizzyrayan123

    Rachael from VintagetothePeople says:

    What a beautifully written and informative article! I've always been for the homeade and handmade versus the store bought and machine made. It's nice to see the comparisons and logic to set it in stone.

    2 years ago

  • myvintagecrush

    Kathleen from myvintagecrush says:

    Loved this post!! ..and homemade alternatives!

    2 years ago

  • VictoriaChartCo

    Victoria Ballard from VictoriaChartCo says:

    I agree and LOVE this post! Thank you for sharing.

    2 years ago

  • MapleCreekShop

    Shawna Woodson from MapleCreekShop says:

    I just bought this book and it has all kinds of recipes for homemade pantry staples! Yogurt, cheese, cereal, granola, etc. It's called "The Homemade Pantry." I highly recommend it. http://www.amazon.com/The-Homemade-Pantry-Buying-Making/dp/030788726X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337524611&sr=8-1

    2 years ago

  • rinnyc

    Erin says:

    I just made the salad dressing! It was good. I also added a little bit of light mayo and some parsely flakes (sorry for wrong spelling :) I wished i couldve added paprika but we ran out :(

    2 years ago

  • shshhshop

    cara livermore from sewindieshop says:

    I've been making my own Nutella for years now - not only is it way cheaper, but it tastes so much better AND it's not filled with unsavory ingredients. I use it most often on top of pancakes...soooo good.

    2 years ago

  • urastarhouse

    urastarhouse from urastarhouse says:

    I love food/handmade economics! Thank-you for creating this. I would add that if you grow your own ingredients it is even cheaper and likely better quality. I think olive oil is not a high heat cooking oil and is not the healthiest choice for baking, I use coconut oil for baking and love it!

    2 years ago

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas says:

    love, love, love this.

    2 years ago

  • Caheez

    Carla Helene' from Caheez says:

    OMG I'm so inspired to get in the kitchen and start making my own snacks for my family! We always go apple picking every year and we make our own applesauce and such. I love cooking and creating new things to eat, wear, smell (perfumes and oil mixes) so this is a no brainer! Whenever we have salads, I always make my own dressings. They are far less expensive, take only a few seconds to whip up and are much fresher than the bottled stuff on a store shelf that has been sitting there for a year or more! My favorite one is a little olive oil, some fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) juice, sea salt, ground pepper, dried cranberries, a little bit of minced garlic and dill weed all shaken together then drizzled over a spinach based salad. You have no idea how yummy this is and best of all, it's totally healthy! Hard to believe it is perfect for whatever diet you might be struggling with too. Who knew dieting could be so fun?! Thank you for posting this wonderful blog. I'm off to make some granola for a pre-yoga breakfast treat! Yum!

    2 years ago

  • CreativeTherapy

    Stefanie van den Brandt from CreativeTherapy says:

    I wish I had more time to make and grow my own food (or at least a small part of it, let's be realistic). Unfortunately life (sucking up all my time) and living in a flat without outdoor space or even the possibility of a window box doesn't allow me those pleasures. As well as the various health reasons mentioned, a large part of this renewed interest of homemade lies in the satisfaction and connection you get from making something yourself, I guess that's why most people are here on Etsy in the first place! One day maybe! I'm glad that someone pointed out the larger picture of carbon footprint and embodied energy (sorry in the many many comments I've lost your name!). I work in a restaurant in London that prides itself on making pretty much everything from scratch, even its ketchup. However, we often have customers asking for 'real' ketchup, meaning Heinz ketchup. Always makes me giggle a little bit, it's what people are used to.

    2 years ago

  • GraysonDesigns11

    GraysonDesigns11 from GraysonDesigns11 says:

    Homemade pantries do take time and money to start up but in the end the resources invested are worthwhile. Most people could shave a few unnecessary tasks from their day to whip something up from scratch- if it is truely something we desire to do.

    2 years ago

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections from KettleConfections says:

    There's so much more that should be taken into account besides cost. There is a level of satisfaction and independence that comes from making something oneself with your hands, and if you are making it with others, a sense of camaraderie that comes from working together. We all feel like we're time crunched but at the same time, studies show we all spend a number hours each day watching tv or going online- so if we do less of that, we can maybe spend more time creating things instead of consuming them.

    2 years ago

  • AAngels

    Kathleen W. from AAngelsSoyCandles says:

    I so love this article! Makes me hungry!

    2 years ago

  • spiderbunny

    Jessa Cady from Spiderbunny says:

    This is WONDERFUL! I can't wait to try some of these ^ . ^

    2 years ago

  • FickleGal

    FickleGal from FickleGal says:

    How about a home-made pantry swap. Each friend makes something and then you trade around... I am proposing it to my friends tonight! You could go crazy with home canning at the end of summer and have a pantry like the one in the picture at the top!!!

    2 years ago

  • ysmeine

    Bonnie Fowler from ysmeine says:

    I love gardening so not only do I have fresh herbs for pesto, but I like using radish greens as well. You can beat the fresh taste of homemade pesto. I also make my own bread. We prefer the taste to store bought and it is inexpensive to make. I also make wine out of foraged fruit. I also forage cattail shoots for salads. Nothing goes better with a wild salad than homemade dressing. I probably would not make nutella from scratch as the commercial has a nice consistency for spreading on cookies and cakes.

    2 years ago

  • rosebudsvintage

    rosebudsvintage from RelivedMemories says:

    Wow, I find it so interesting to read all, most, of these comments and the length of the debate. The thing that surprises me, I love to go to the store, socialize with people, talk "face to face" with others and enjoy the ambiance which I feel people are losing. I grew up with homemade food, which I, to the most part, still do. We have always found time to sit down and eat together and Share the day. This is what most are missing, it doesn't matter how the meal is made, it matters can we bow our heads and be thankful for what we have. Sure it is better to make from "scratch" but there is no place on earth now that is Organic, we have polluted everywhere so much over the years. Nothing, unfortunately will ever be able to change the damage we have done with chemicals on the ground, in the air etc. The recipes in the article are Wonderful and have been a blessing for everyone to find enough time to tap their fingers and comment. Not me I'm going out and take a walk, socialize with my neighbors, and enjoy THE OUTSIDE then I will worry about what to eat, Let's all stop worrying so much about what to eat and get up and MOVE Outside please

    2 years ago

  • rosebudsvintage

    rosebudsvintage from RelivedMemories says:

    Just another note the shelves do look unstable. I believe in reusing and repurposing but when it comes to food we have to know about Safety. The picture shows the canned tomatoes in the bright light on unsafe shelves which I feel are not real jars. I have done my fair share of canning over the years and tomatoes are very tricky to can safely. Sometimes we have to weigh the safety first. Canning is not only good and healthy, but is an ego thing which takes serious commitment with food safety.

    2 years ago

  • TwirlyWorld

    Elizabeth Grenz from TwirlyWorld says:

    Just got finished making two gallons of raspberry-rhubarb jam...bliss in a jar! Won't go back to store-bought, simply because the homemade version is yummy, easy to make, and uses up a wealth of produce in my own backyard!

    2 years ago

  • littlegoatsoaps

    Karly from LittleGoatSoaps says:

    Love this! I try to do a lo from scratch... Nutella was a fail though. I guess my food processor is weak...the stuff never got smooth. Oh well...

    2 years ago

  • togascorner

    Toga Corner says:

    You're my hero!

    2 years ago