Lessons learned this year in homesteading.
• Baked goods: Grew sick of supplying family with all the bread we go through in a week; but with no knead and quick breads getting used to it. But muffins, scones, brownies: Bake, don’t buy. Our recipe for Cranberry nut scones prices out at 18 cents an ounce; a comparable Starbucks scone is 39 cents an ounce.
• Chicken stock: Tastes so much better if you make it. The messiness of the process can give cause but reluctantly make our own. At a cost of 25 cents a cup versus 75 cents for store-bought. Besides, nobody wants to waste perfectly good chicken carcasses. Must be pressure canned. Bone broth is healthier.
• Hot dog buns: At 17 cents a bun, cheaper than store-bought versus 37 cents to 55 cents per bun and so much better homemade.
• Mayonnaise: It’s just an egg, a squeeze of lemon, and some oil. Provided you have the time to mess with it. Our homemade mayo prices out at $1.60 a batch versus a jar of mayo for $1.75. I make mine in a canning jar that fits a blender. Make what you use no waste.
• Cucumber pickles: In the height of summer Kirby cukes are at the farmers’ market for 50 cents a pound; that’s enough for a couple of pints of pickles, comparing cheap-and-delicious ones to inferior jarred specimens at $1.25 and up. Growing your own cukes takes space and dedication, but taste is incomparable. My best pickles cost 1.95 a quart. A jar from Vlasic is almost $6.
•Popcorn: At 1.26 a pound for good GMO free varieties versus 1.00 a pound for pre-popped sugared, and tastes so much better homemade. I use a variety named Mushroom to get movie theater quality.
• Chicken and eggs: Unless you have all the time, space, and start up money to raise, protect, butcher, and store these products.
• Hamburger buns: They’re not like hot dog buns. Hamburgers ooze juice, and the buns are rather hard to make. I have invested time and a KAF recipe to make this work.
• Honey: Unless you have all the time, space, and start up money to raise, protect, and store these products.
• Jam: There is no way your homemade jam with organic fruit is going to be cheaper than Smucker’s. It will taste better. It will be fun to make. But it will not be cheap. If you have free fruit, by all means make jam. If you have jars already, pick (or grow) your own fruit, and go through enough jam in a year’s time; it is worth it.
• Lemonade: Homemade tastes so much better. But unless you have a lemon tree in your yard, it costs two to four times as much to make lemonade as to buy it.
• Yogurt: We make our own and find it tastes great and prices well compared to good store-bought, about $1.75 a quart compared with about $4. We live in an area with cheap milk available.
• Ketchup: We go through a lot of ketchup so it makes sense to make it and control the amount of sugar and corn syrup. Cheaper definitely not, it is a life style change.
• Bacon: Buy the cheapest pork belly you can find and your homemade bacon costs $3.50 a pound, even without taking into account hours of smoking and the amount of space a slab of belly takes up in the refrigerator. In contrast local butchers charge 4:50-5.00 for the really good stuff.
• Butter: So easy and fun to make at home! But if you make it with store-bought cream for $3.39 a pint, you will end up with an amount of butter you could buy for $1.75. Buy grass-fed for your toast and bake with the cheap stuff. In the end it is about moderation. Make your own spreadable butter with canola oil and a mixer.
• Pizza: The best crust requires 24 hours’ advance notice, and for $15 I can get an amazing pizza. The cost of homemade pizza is about half of one from a delivery joint and tastes wonderful. There is no delivery to my area so I make pizzas using a pita recipe.
- Homemade Butter, Whipped Cream & Buttermilk (planithealthier.wordpress.com)
- The Red, the White, And the Blue (suburbhomestead.wordpress.com)
- Homemade Jam (balanceandblueberries.wordpress.com)
- homesteading (pazzaragazza.wordpress.com)