Homemade foods have become a luxury, an outdated practice for the rich and those with extra time on their hands; but before agriculture and food was industrialized, what we ate was made from scratch in kitchens, bakeries, and restaurants around the world. At-home and small scale production was commonplace, and everything was done by hand or with simple machines. A baker made bread with flour from a local mill, and farmers canned their vegetables in jars to save for later or share with neighbors. Unfortunately, as prices skyrocket due to inflation and we pick up more hours at our jobs, we lose the time to create everything for our families. However, we can reintroduce homemade foods a little bit at a time by prepping our ingredients, knowing our pantry, and having the right recipes and tools on hand.
Why would you want to spend your free time making food? It’s all the same, right? Not quite. Packaged foods, especially those meant to last months at a time on a warm grocery store shelf, tend to contain preservatives, colorants, and additives that otherwise wouldn’t be necessary when made at home. Less is more when it comes to things like that, and wherever possible, it’s best to cut them out. Store-bought food can also be lacking in flavour, texture, and personal preferences. By creating and packaging food for yourself, you have complete control over the flavour, quality, quantity, and the preservation methods you use. From start to finish, you get to decide what goes into your pantry, and your body. As companies continuously cut corners, you can supply your family with the best ingredients at a much cheaper price (compared to products of similar quality). Aside from your own household, you can potentially give the gift of fresh sauce, pasta, and more to those you love! Inspire your body by giving it handmade, home-packaged delights, even if it’s just a little bit at a time!
As a child, I adored spaghetti. I remember I asked my Nana how it was made, and it turned out to be a very simple process. All you need to make your noodles are a few ingredients and a pasta cutter with a stand or, you can roll your dough out as thin as you like and cut it into shapes (with tools like these or some knives) and allow it to dry flat. There are many pasta recipes to get started with, but I’ve found a few fun options to explore! In particular, I’m interested in learning how to make colourful two-toned pasta using vegetable powders! For some basic pasta recipes, check out “Homemade Pasta” by Gimme Some Oven and “How to Make 29 Handmade Pasta Shapes With 4 Types of Dough” by Bon Appétit (on YouTube)! The best part of making pasta is that it has a great shelf life. when dried and stored in an air-tight container, it can last between 2-6 months! This means you can set aside one day every few months to create pasta, and be supplied for a good while before you need to whip up a new batch!
Making your own sauce, for whatever meal you’ve prepared, can really help you explore flavours and get to know how different spices can transform a dish. There are thousands of recipes out there for a variety of dishes and food genres! You can also incorporate herbalism into your creations, adding a depth of healing to what you eat. They usually require only a few base ingredients and a small amount of herbs or other flavourful spices to put together. I recommend choosing a super simple dish where the sauce takes center stage as you learn to make your own; that way, you can really get to know your sauce and change things up as you need to. Things like spaghetti and meatballs or teriyaki chicken over rice are great options to start with. As you learn to make delicious sauces, consider learning how to can them for yourself! I have seen several recipes designed specifically for canning, such as this marinara sauce and this sauce! You can find a great review of canning using several different reusable rings here!
Salsa & Dips
Like sauce, salsas and dips can be very easy to make, and also don’t require a ton of ingredients. You can make your very own fresh pico de gallo, spinach artichoke dip, and many more delicious dips at home. While I haven’t tried to can my own salsa or dips yet, you are certainly able to! Until you learn exactly how canning works, and how to protect yourself and others from food poisoning, I recommend following easy, standard recipes! Once canned, you can keep your salsa and dips for a very long time before use!
I made an entire post last autumn dedicated to soups! I included links to recipes for the stovetop, instant pots, crockpots, and canning! When I first decided to make more of my own food, soup was my first choice. It’s hard to mess up soup, and you don’t really have to worry as much about texture or thickness, as long as it’s smooth and liquidy. I love meal prepping with soups because it’s so easy and takes very little time. I just throw everything together and wait for it to cook down! For my recipe recommendations, check out my post here!
If you like a particular blend of spices and herbs, try making it yourself when you run out! Many staple spice blends are extremely simple and easy to throw together. You may even have all of the ingredients on hand already! My fiancé just made a taco seasoning using dried chiles, dried minced garlic, salt, pepper, and onion powder. He loves it, and I noticed it looks much brighter and fresher than store bought blends of the same type. It’s nice to be able to customize blends to your taste, too, which can be a fun way to get to know yourself and your preferences better. Here are some basic blend ideas to get you started:
- “Homemade Seasoning Blends–9 DIY Recipes” by Tasty Thin
- “35 Spice Mixes and How to Use Them” by Whole New Mom
- “5 of the Best Dry Rub Recipes for Chicken” by Joyful Healthy Eats
Bread, Biscuits, Muffins
Baking bread is one of the most satisfying things. You get to mix, knead, cover, and watch as your dough rises, then bakes, before indulging in your creation. A simple type of bread you can make from scratch is sourdough sandwich bread! By making or acquiring a sourdough starter, you can experience this bread-baking ritual weekly (or more often if it suits you) without having to buy yeast ever again. You can use sourdough starters for other bread-based foods, too, such as herb seasoned crackers, naan bread, and muffins! Alternatively, you can get yourself a jar of active dry yeast and create bread that way, too! There are thousands of recipes online, and once you find your favourites, there’s no telling how many homemade baked goods you will produce! Here are a couple of recipes that use dry yeast to try out, too!
- “Homemade Soft French Bread Recipe” by The Kitchen Girl
- “Thrifty Homemade Sandwich Bread” by Chicken Scratch Diaries
- “Homemade English Muffins” by House of Nash Eats
Tortillas, Pita Bread
On the same thread as bread, biscuits and muffins, we have tortillas, pita bread, and other flat dough breads! I love using tortillas to make quick wraps for on-the-go lunch, and find them to be a great staple. To make your own tortillas, you can follow a simple, plain recipe like this one, or opt for something more flavourful, such as this recipe that uses masa harina (a corn-derived ingredient). To make your own pita bread, try out this recipe!
I hope these ideas inspire you to start making homemade food for yourself, one recipe at a time! Let me know what your favourite recipes are, and don’t forget to like, comment, and share this post so others can see it! Thanks for reading!