Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not Always Scratchy

I love to make things from scratch whenever I can.  I like knowing what is in the foods or products I make and usually have a good time making taco seasoning mix, Ranch salad dressing, soap, window cleaner or whatever it is I'm making on a given day.  The extra effort is usually worth it to me in superior quality and/or peace of mind.

On the other hand, there are some things I just don't bother with.  Here is a short list of things I don't (or seldom) make from scratch along with my reason(s) why.  Remember, your mileage may vary.

1) Jams and Jellies - The reason why I don't make wholesome jams and jellies from our homegrown berries or local fruit is because....we don't eat them.  Between the three of us, we go through one or maybe two small jars of jam or jelly in a year.  It's just not our thing. Many people give jams as gifts, but for a number of reasons, that doesn't work for us, either.  So, instead of making jams and jellies, I just buy them homemade from someone at the farmers' market or spend a little extra and buy a quality brand of fruit spread from the store.

2) Yogurt - It's not that I don't ever make homemade yogurt, I just don't do it often.  The reason, again, is because we don't eat a lot of it.  To be more accurate, our yogurt eating is sporadic.  Kat and I go through phases where we eat it almost daily, then drop it like a hot potato for months.  So, I make it sometimes, when we're in a yogurt-eating phase.  When I start making a lot of yogurt cheese because I know we aren't going to eat it as plain yogurt, I know it's time to stop making it for a while.  We recently discovered dairy kefir, which is a yogurt-like probiotic drink.  I find it easier and quicker to make than yogurt, so sometimes make it instead.  Also, I have no problem buying the occasional tub of quality yogurt from the store.

3) Homemade Dishwasher Detergent - We make our own bath soap and laundry powder, so you'd think I'd be all over this idea. I've tried and tried to find a homemade dishwasher formula that I'm happy with, but I haven't found it yet.  Until I do (if ever), I buy commercial detergent and cut it with some baking soda and borax (ingredients in most homemade dishwasher detergents) to make it go farther.

4) Mayonnaise - I think knowing how to make homemade mayo is a good skill to have in a pinch, but for the cost of farm eggs and good oil (for me, that means not canola, soybean or corn oil), there is no savings to be had by making our own.  My family and I also find the homemade stuff a little too eggy for our tastes.  Since the oil is the only ingredient in commercial mayonnaise that I have a big problem with, we'll either just cut back on how much we use, or fork out the extra for mayonnaise made with better oils, like olive oil. 

5) Flour Tortillas - As with the yogurt, it's not that I won't make them, but I won't make them often.  We have some Hispanic markets in our town and I can usually find locally-made tortillas that are made with manteca (lard) instead of hydrogenated shortening.  When I'm busy (when am I not?), I'd prefer to buy good tortillas rather than roll out my own.

6) Hand Sanitizer and/or Disinfectant Wipes - I don't buy these products and don't see the need to make them, either.

7) Granola.  I've made homemade granola and it's great tasting stuff -- much tastier and healthier than boxed cereal. guessed it...we just don't eat it.  None of us really likes cold cereal; I found a box of cereal in the pantry last week that had a 2010 expiry date on it.  I don't eat it at all, and the other two lose interest after a bowl or two.   The same goes for granola, so after making two batches, I called it quits. 

Can you add to this list?  What do you NOT make from scratch that other DIY and homesteader-type folks seem to be making all the time?  Why?
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