It seems everywhere you turn there is more information available on the hazards of processed foods. Most of us now look at labels on the foods we buy at the grocery store, and opt to buy organic produce instead of conventional when we can. We look for gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free options depending on any allergies. And we look for “farm to table” options. But healthy eating can be costly.

One way of keeping costs down is to do it yourself!

Spices

Making your own spices is easy, for example. If you grow your own herbs, like dill, oregano, and basil, you can dry them and grind them—and voila!  To make onion powder, slice onions and dry them in the oven or food dryer. Once they are dry enough you can crumble them, place them in a coffee grinder, spice mill, or food  processor to grind them to a fine consistency. You can do the same with garlic and celery.

Sauces & Condiments

It’s easy to find recipes to make your own ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, pesto, chocolate syrup, cocktail sauce, and hot fudge sauce.

This mayonnaise recipe is simple to make and versatile.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup oil, peanut or corn
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place egg, mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar in a blender or processor container.
  2. Process 5 seconds in the blender; 15 seconds in the processor.
  3. With the motor running, add the oil, first in a drizzle, then in a thin, steady stream.
  4. When all the oil has been added, stop the motor and taste.
  5. Add lemon juice to your taste.
  6. If the sauce is too thick, thin with hot water or lemon juice. If too thin, process a little longer.

Add other ingredients to your mayonnaise to make condiments like aioli, horseradish, or thousand islands dressing.

Butter

Did you know that with heavy cream and a jar you can make a delicious, creamy butter? Simply put the cream in the jar and start shaking until the cream starts to thicken. Once it has formed a ball, keep shaking until it separates from the liquid. This may take some time but stick with it. Pour the liquid into another container (this is buttermilk) and the remaining solid is your butter! Feel free to add salt to taste. And if you are not going to use it right away, rinse it in cold water to wash away the rest of the buttermilk so it won’t spoil.

For more DIY kitchen ideas, check out this article from About.com.