20 Foods That You Can Make Yourself

by Miranda Marquit · 12 comments

One of the cornerstones of a frugal lifestyle is “do it yourself.” The truth is that we spend a great of money buying foods that we can actually make ourselves. These store-bought items often cost more than it would if you took the time to make it yourself. Indeed, one of the reasons our grandparents (and even some of our parents) were able to get by on one income was do to the practice of having someone prepare a lot of the food, rather than buy so much processed stuff from the grocery store. You know you can make bread on your own, but you might be surprised at what else you can make yourself.

If you have a little time, and if you are feeling adventurous, you can make a number of tasty foods in your own home. Some items can even be canned or bottled as food storage for use later. Here are 20 foods that you can make yourself, with links to the recipes online:

  1. Pasta Sauce: A staple at my house, it’s something I enjoy, and you can make as many varieties as you like, including Alfredo.
  2. Pesto: I love a good pesto sauce, which can add variety to your meals.
  3. Gravy: I was surprised when I found out that many people buy gravy in cans or powder packets. I’ve always made my own.
  4. Applesauce: Bonus points if you grow your own apples. You can bottle it for use in the winter.
  5. Salsa: No need to buy in a jar. Make your own and bottle it! For a fun twist, make mango salsa or peach salsa. You can make salsa with ingredient from your own garden.
  6. Mayonnaise: Make your own sandwich spread, rather than relying on store bought methods. You might even end up with a healthier mayonnaise.
  7. Jelly: My mom made all sorts of jellies and jams while we were growing up — including crab apple jelly. Another popular alternative is freezer jam.
  8. Peanut Butter: I was totally floored to learn that you could make your own peanut butter. Make your own bread and jam, and you are truly making everything for your kids’ sandwiches.
  9. Pancake Mix: Create a delicious breakfast using homemade pancake mix.
  10. Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is going to be sugary, no matter where you get it. But you can spend less and make it yourself.
  11. Potato Chips: Snack right with chips you’ve made yourself. I like to add pepper, or cheese powder, or other flavors on occasions to mix it up.
  12. Bagels: Create an array of great bagels using different recipes.
  13. English Muffins: I love English muffins, but good ones can be expensive at the store. I love that I can make my own now.
  14. Vanilla Extract: I use vanilla a lot, so being able to make my own extract is a definite plus.
  15. Guacamole: My husband likes my guacamole better than what we get at the store, and I like that it costs less! A healthy dip or sandwich spread.
  16. Pickles: I don’t like pickles, but my husband does. And we can use our own cucumbers.
  17. Root Beer: This is a little more complex than some of the other recipes, but if you have the time, and the adventurous spirit, you can make a delicious beverage for everyone to enjoy.
  18. Hummus: This Middle Eastern dip is a fun way to add variety to your meals and parties.
  19. Dog Treats: If one of the members of your family is a canine, you can make dog treats without buying them. Your furry friend will love them, and you can save money.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Clarissa McCulla October 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

freeze old bananas with peels. remove from freezer run under warm water then peel with knife chop up in blender add milk enjoy your banana shake

freeze leftovercooked chicken bones in a bag use later to make your own broth or gravy
you can do the same with fresh vegatables

Linda Joy December 8, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Making your own maple SYRUP requires about 40 liters of maple sap and a huge vat to boil it down to 1 lite of syrup.
What you are making is maple-FLAVORED syrup. A big difference!

Nycole February 1, 2011 at 6:51 am

I agree that there are many thing to make yourself instead of buy them and cost is definitely a factor, but for me so is time and taste. Could I make English Muffins, potato chips, bagels, peanut butter, mayonaise at home sure, but it’s not worth the time on the muffins, the correct process on the bagels, the effort on the peanut butter (plus it will never some out as creamy as Jif), as tasty as the chips and as shelf stable as the Hellmans.

GB February 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Salad Dressing – simple mix oil and vinegar or lemon juice and add flavors (dijon mustard, garlic, spices). Turns our different every time and you can make as much as you need so no more misc bottles of salad dressing sitting in the fridge until after their expiry dates.

Mary February 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

Cooking at home is the best thing for your healthy-I wish everyone knew how to cook

Philippe February 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

MAPLE SYRUP !!!!???!??!?

You can’t ”make” maple syrup just like you can’t ”make” honey (unless you’re a bee).

Maple syrup is a raw ingredient. It comes from a tree..the maple tree…

Rachael March 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I make banana ice cream by using frozen bananas. I just peel them and freeze them. then wizz them in the food processor with a bit of milk or cream and sugar to taste (you can leave out the sugar to be healthier) and the kids love it.

Lassie March 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I’m all for doing it yourself. I can make my own applesauce, salad dressing, pasta sauce. I am Especially proud of my own home-made bread, and that includes crusty ‘artisan’ loaves that cost $4-5 a loaf (a snap to make, really!) However, you still need the basic ingredients to make your own. You need flour for bread, peanuts for peanut butter, the ingredients to make hummus – unless you have all that stuff around anyway, or someone gives you loads of apples, tomatoes, herbs – it really doesn’t cost that much more to buy it already made. It’s fun to make your own food, but I don’t think you save that much money. (Oh, and is the family agreeable to home-made? I’ve made delectable macaroni and cheese, pasta sauce, and peanut butter and I heard whiiiinnninggg “I want the Kraft in the box! This spaghetti sauce tastes funny! This peanut butter is all sticky, I want Jif!”

Paula July 9, 2011 at 5:57 am

I have been making this homemade granola for several weeks, and it is easy and DELICIOUS. It would be best to get the ingredients from bulk bins at a health food store: there are lots of this-and-that! You can substitute if you like: some ingredients like cashews and pumpkin seeds are pricey, you can just double up on cheaper ingredients like the almonds and sunflower seeds!

Daisy August 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The “maple syrup” recipe is just flavored sugar water. It is no more maple syrup than a cat is an elephant.

don August 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

sheesh..give it up regarding the maple syrup comments. The author is obviously referring to maple flavored syrup which the majority of americans consume and enjoy. peace out

epic November 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm

and maple syrup, is essentially sugar water(sucrose and h2o) with tiny amts of other sugars and acids like malic acid and a few trace elements now maple syrup is unique in its flavor and nutrition, but lets not pretend that the small amount used is a contributing factor to you daily required needs for vitamins and minerals…its just sugar

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