Money-Saving Make-at-Home Foods
The past few years have seen a rise of the DIY movement, as urban homesteaders, hipsters and thrifty folks alike have taken to pickling and preserving produce from farmers' markets and CSA shares. Not only does making certain staples from scratch impress your friends, it also saves you money. Try making these five foods at home and see how the savings add up:
There are a few advantages to making your own granola. You get exactly the blend of dried fruit and nuts you prefer and can also control the added sugars and oils that can make granola a calorie bomb. Try Alton Brown’s Granola recipe (you can save even more money by swapping out the maple syrup for honey).
Making yogurt at home is actually a cinch. With just a little bit of starter yogurt and a bit of patience (you heat the milk, add the starter and let it sit overnight), you can transform a quart of milk into a quart of yogurt, saving you money and giving you a sense of accomplishment. Here’s a recipe to get you started: Homemade Yogurt.
Homemade tomato sauce is soooo much better than jarred. For one thing, most of the cheaper brands of jarred sauce are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and sodium. If you’re looking at a higher-quality sauce with less fillers, you could pay upwards of $8 for a 26-ounce jar. Mario Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce recipe, on the other hand, costs around $5.70 for 6 cups of sauce (48 ounces).
There’s no doubt canned beans can be a thrifty choice in a pinch. But for even more savings, consider cooking up a big batch of dried beans when you have the time (they take about 2 hours — 1 hour for soaking, 1 hour for cooking; if you have a pressure cooker, you can cook dried beans in about a half-hour). You can then freeze them in 2-cup servings in Ziploc bags, so they’ll be ready when you need them. For a gussied-up version of homemade beans, try Jamie Oliver’s Humble Home-Cooked Beans. No-salt added beans in BPA-free cans come at a premium: about $2.79 for a 15-ounce can. You can make at least 5 pounds of cooked beans for that price.
Homemade cost: .47 cents per 15 ounces, cooked (1 pound of dried beans yield about 4 pounds, cooked)
There’s nothing like homemade strawberry jam on a piping hot scone or piece of toast. Not only is the taste superior, it’ll save you money too. Click here for a recipe.
Homemade cost: $8 per 32 ounces (this is priced with out-of-season strawberries; you could make this for as cheap as $5 or $6 per 32 ounces if use in-season strawberries)