July 31, 2014

Store-bought condiments and seasonings are good examples of how we spend more money for the convenience of having something made and packaged for us. Flavors and simplicity aside, the price difference of making these products yourself is enough to encourage you to try it.

Why would you want to do this?

If you like to cook, these are quick and easy products to experiment with.

How is this different from the store-bought version?

The textures of the condiments can be a little different; for example, homemade mayonnaise is oilier, and homemade ketchup separates a bit. You may also notice a taste difference. I like the challenge of trying to figure out which flavors are missing from my versions and seeing how close I can get to the mass-produced stuff, but often some of the tastes come from preservatives or chemicals, which you don’t have in the homemade products.

Cost comparison:

Each of these recipes results in a lower cost per ounce than store-bought varieties; the biggest savings is with the vanilla extract.

We quickly and routinely deplete condiments in our house. Inevitably, a scant spoonful is all that the kids leave in the container. My eldest sister taught me years ago how easy condiments are to make, and the homemade versions are much healthier because they don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup and many of the preservatives needed to keep mass-produced products fresh on grocery-store shelves.

Homemade condiments will spoil faster than store-bought versions, but they are easy to make in smaller quantities. I can honestly say that making your own can save you both money and time—I once raced my husband and made a batch of mayonnaise before he could get to the nearest store and back.

This article was excerpted with permission from the book Urban Farm Projects: Making the Most of Your Money, Space, and Stuff, copyright 2014, I-5 Publishing, LLC. For more budget-friendly and environmentally conscience projects and recipes, pick up a copy today!

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