Over the last few years I have become more and more aware of the chemicals and rubbish that is in the food that we buy from the supermarket. I used to think that I was eating healthily, unaware of the hidden chemicals inside what looked like healthy food. Even fruit and vegetables are covered in preservatives and fertilisers. Every year I try to learn new skills so that I can make more of my own food from scratch and therefore do not have to touch this ultra processed food. Many studies show that there is a link between this kind of food and high blood pressure and heart disease. As well as knowing what is in my food, this often saves me money as well. Here are some of the things that I no longer buy from the supermarket. There are probably many more, but these are just off the top of my head.
Bread. Have you ever read the back of the bread packet and seen the list of ingredients in it? It is much cheaper and healthier to make your own. I do not have the patience to be proving and kneading it twice and so make an easy bread recipe. This year I want to master sour dough as it is good for the gut but also will mean that I will no longer need to buy yeast.
Butter. When ever we find reduced cream (which is usually after festivals and bank holidays) we make butter and store it in the freezer in small blocks.
Sausages. This has been the latest skill that we have learned. Bought sausages are full of nitrates, phosphates and other chemicals. They are so expensive to buy with out them and so we have started making our own.
Pasta sauce. We make our own from ingredients grown in the garden and there is no added sugar or preservatives
Pesto. We grow lots of herbs and also forage for wild garlic and so make lots of pesto at a fraction of the price and with no additives. I use peanuts to keep the cost down rather than pine nuts. My grandson loves it with pasta and it is great to put on pizza or to make garlic bread. We usually preserve it by freezing.
Hummus. This is easy to make with tahini, oil and chick peas and different ingredients can be added to change the flavour. I love hummus on toast but it can be used in lots of ways
Jam. Every year we grow and forage lots of fruit and make lots of jam for baking or having on toast. It is just sugar and fruit. We don’t even add pectin. We use recycled jam jars and so the only cost is the sugar. We also love to make lemon or orange curd.
Pickles. We make fridge pickles from our home grown cucumbers but also pickles to store. Our favourites are piccalilli and caramalised onion chutney.
Chocolate spread. I make this with nuts, oil, icing sugar and cocoa
Condiments. We make a lot of our own condiments, including tomato sauce, chilli sauce, BBQ sauce and sweet chilli sauce. I need to learn to make brown sauce for my sausage and bacon sandwiches.
Peanut butter. This is basically peanuts, oil and a bit of salt.
Mayonnaise. This is easy to make and is just egg yolks, oil, mustard and lemon juice. The shop bought stuff has stabiliser and flavouring in.
Pastry. I used to buy supermarket pastry to save time when I worked. A lot of it is made with palm oil or other ingredients that I would not want in my body and so I make my own now. I will often batch make pastry and freeze it raw to save time. The only ingredients needed are flour, fat and water.
Cakes and baked goods. We love baking, and cakes and other baked items that are home made are much more filling and tasty than shop bought. A lot of supermarket baked goods are made with palm oil and filled with preservatives. A basic sponge is made with flour, sugar, home made butter, and eggs.
Smoked fish pate. This is made from butter, yoghurt, spices and smoked fish. This smoked fish pate reminds us of being on holiday.
Chicken nuggets. We make these with chicken, flour, egg, and homemade bread crumbs and then cook them in the air fryer. I prefer to know what my grandson is eating.
Coleslaw. This is made from vegetables, mayonnaise and spices and is simple to make but expensive to buy.
Burgers. We make our burgers out of beef that we have minced ourselves and add some grated onion. Some times we add spices. There is nothing hidden in them.
Meatballs. I was really shocked when I read the ingredients on some supermarket fresh meat balls. I had thought that they were just mince. We grate onion, carrots and sometimes courgettes into our meatballs to make them healthier. Some times we add spices and sometimes we stuff meatballs with cheese in the middle.
Tins of soup. A pan full of soup is so cheap to make and is full of goodness without the chemicals or as much salt. It can be made out of almost anything, including a bones, vegetables or pulses. It will feed you for a lunch for a week for the same cost of a can of soup. Here are some ingredients I make soup from
Scotch eggs. Mr S makes these from eggs, homemade sausage meat and home made bread crumbs
Quiches. These are easy to make out of pastry, eggs, a drop of milk and any anything else you have in. Sometimes I will add things like cheese, ham, tomato, tuna, salmon, broccoli or peas. Quiche is great for using up the bits in the fridge.
Pork pies. Mr S loves a pork pie and makes ours with hot water pastry and meat that he prepares and seasons himself. His pork pie tastes amazing and is not too difficult to make.
Pizza. We make our pizza base with home made yoghurt and flour but it is easy to make a bread base or a scone base. Toppings can be made with anything that you have in the fridge or freezer and covered in cheese. Pizza is quick and easy to make
Yoghurt. We make our yoghurt in the slow cooker. It is just made with milk and the last of the previous batch of yoghurt. It comes out like a thick Greek yoghurt.
Wraps. Wraps are so versatile and it did take me a while to get the hang of making these so that they are soft and pliable. My recipe has lots of hints and tips
Berries. We eat a lot of berries and love them in compote, puddings and in smoothies. We grow most of them but also forage for black berries.
Most of our vegetables and salad. We don’t have a big garden and most of it is paved, but we grow a lot of vegetables and salad in tubs and containers We do buy some vegetables around Christmas time when they are very cheap.
Bread crumbs. These are so easy to make. I just grate or whiz stale bread in a food processor and spread it out on a tray on a low oven to dry out. If you want it to be coloured then just add a bit of turmeric powder or paprika before you put it in the oven (I got this tip from Nancy Birtwhistle). We often get bread from a food waste project (or you could get it free from Olio) and so they cost pennies to make.
Apples. We tend to forage for apples in the parks and countryside which we then add to compote, make cider, and make desserts and sauce from. We also grow a few ourselves, too.
Are you buying less at the supermarket? I find that the less times that I visit them, the less money that I spend on food. Making my own food, and knowing what is in it also gives me a sense of control over what I eat and a sense of pride. I love not being reliant on a supermarket and learning new skills.