We’ve all heard it: “You are what you eat,” and healthy eating starts at home. But it helps to be stocked up on the essentials so you can easily prep meals. Food Network offers a handy list for healthy pantry essentials, but we have our own list of several healthy pantry items you can make yourself. Homemade butter? Yes, please. Check it out here.
Back in the day, butter was churned by hand. Today, all you need is cream, salt and a stand mixer to churn your own butter.
Do you buy Greek yogurt weekly by the 12-pack? Making yogurt at home instead will help you save money while reducing your carbon footprint (think of all that plastic!). You can also do a lot with the whey that is a byproduct of the yogurt-making process.
Fresh greens like kale, mustard, turnip and chard lend a lot of vitamins, especially to your winter diet. But they don’t last long in the fridge. Luckily, it’s easy to freeze greens and preserve them for future use in smoothies, casseroles and any recipe you like. Got more room in the freezer? See what other vegetables you can freeze.
Sure, almond butter, cashew butter and walnut butter are all now more readily available than ever before, but have you checked the prices? Wow. You can make all of these at home pretty easily and cheaply using your food processor. See how to make nut butters.
Coffee is a morning ritual for many people, and thankfully, it’s generally considered healthy enough in moderation. A cup made using freshly roasted beans will tantalize even the most discerning palate. Try roasting your own coffee beans to keep on hand.
DIY your cheese? Yes, it’s totally possible, and making your own ricotta is a great place to start.
Though not edible, homemade dishwasher detergent is a healthy addition to your kitchen pantry. Make your own using simple ingredients: borax, washing soda, salt and citric acid.
I know what you’re thinking: bacon, healthy? Well, sort of. Again, it’s all about moderation. And when you make your own bacon, you control what additives are included.
Jam, Jelly and Marmalade
This one’s a homemade pantry classic. Whether you go for jelly, jam or preserves and whatever fruit you use, it’s always better homemade. Look at recipes for homemade kumquat marmalade and muscadine jam.
Revive an American tradition espoused by Benjamin Franklin and many other Founding Fathers and make your own hard cider. Hard cider is great for home brewing, and bonus, (unlike beer) it’s gluten-free.
While full of sugar, marshmallows are a fat-free treat that usually centers around family time — think homemade S’mores and hot chocolate. Make your own marshmallows to make those family moments extra sweet.
Mayo is really a simple concoction of eggs, vinegar and oil, so making your own mayonnaise is a snap. It’s also useful for more than just your tuna salad — you can use mayonnaise for everything from conditioning hair to fixing creaky hinges.
Finally, you can make your own hand soap to clean up after making all these other awesome essentials!
Most of these pantry items were made by our own homesteading expert, Mick Telkamp. Granted, some of them belong in the fridge, but now that you’ve made your pantry essentials, you can organize them. Here are 20 organized pantries to get you inspired.