February 1, 2024

Things I no longer buy from the supermarket

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.


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  1. Ali February 1, 2024 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    I’m definitely buying less and making more from scratch as I’m reducing UPFs from my diet. I make my own sourdough bread, butter, cakes, biscuits, scones, jams, chutneys, pasta sauce, soups, pastry and pizza. I’m growing even more fruit and veg in my garden and allotment this year. I was ridiculously thrilled last week when I found a tub of home grown tomatoes and strawberries at the bottom of my freezer!! It was like finding gold! :-)

    • ToniG February 3, 2024 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      It is so satisfying making and growing your own food, isn’t it? Yes it worries me what is in our food. Well done and thanks for commenting

  2. Gilly February 1, 2024 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    I’m new to your blog so I may have missed your easy bread recipe.Is it possible for you to give the recipe or tell me where to find it? Thank you. Your list of what you make for your family is inspiring! I live on a tight budget ( like so many people ) so I’m always looking for new ideas to help me stretch my budget as well as learning how to eat in a much healthier way. Many thanks.

    • Corrina February 2, 2024 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      Under Recipe tab, scroll down to the ‘Baking section’ you will find the recipe for Quick Cheap Bread.

      • ToniG February 3, 2024 at 5:06 pm - Reply

        There is also a link in the text on the section about bread in this article but for some reason the link is not highlighted unless the cursor is on top of it. Thanks for helping Gilly. You can also search for what you want on the site by clicking on the 3 lines at the top which brings up a search

    • ToniG February 3, 2024 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      There are 3 horizontal lines at the top of the page and if you click there you will see that there is a search bar and you can search for what ever you want, or you can go into the categories that you want to search eg baking. Sorry for the late reply. I have had a busy week

  3. Nelliegrace February 2, 2024 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    That is an impressive list. It avoids so many of the dodgy additives, tastes a lot better, and saves money.
    I can tick off quite a few from your list of home made foods, bread, cakes, pastry, butter, jam, marmalade, lemon curd, soups, stock, tomato sauce for beans on toast, and some fruit and herbs.
    I cook all of our meals, and we have Leftovers, that tasty, precious resource, instead of plastic packed ready meals.
    We make kefir every day for just the price of the milk, the original teaspoon of “grains” have kept on growing for over three years.
    We are still using up the honey from when we kept bees. A friend took over the hives when I couldn’t continue, and we sold the equipment at a good price. That was an interesting hobby, well supported by the local Beekeepers’ Association with courses, study days and lectures, and exams. We had two hives on the allotments and members commented on the improved fruit crops.
    The chickens have been well worth keeping in our small garden. The original Eglu Classic is over 16 years old and is still in good order, we have two of them with two hybrid hens in each, under clear tarpaulin covers because of the avian flu regulations, and where they are safe from the local foxes. We had 20 eggs last week, and we sell the surplus to friends at £1 for six, which covers the cost of the good quality layers pellets.
    We have kept ducks and quail in the past, quail Scotch eggs are a treat.

    • ToniG February 3, 2024 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      I wish we were allowed to keep chickens but our house deeds say that we cannot. It sounds like you are avoiding lots of additives too. It frightens me what is put in supermarket food now. Afterwards I could think of so many more things that we make like baked beans and granola. We try to add new things every year. Thanks for sharing and commenting. I really need to try Kefir

  4. Jan February 2, 2024 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Have you tried Lemon & Elderflower Curd, trust me it is delicious!! I couldn’t live without an elder tree. New reader here but have caught up on all of your previous postings and love everything you do. Thanx from Jan in Castle Gresley.

    • ToniG February 3, 2024 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Yes I tried it for the first time last year. It is lovely. Glad that you like the site.

  5. Gilly February 2, 2024 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Corina! My only previous attempt at bread making was a disaster….I needed two strong hands to lift my ‘brick’ out of the oven! Gilly

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