3 Things You Should Never Buy in a Bottle

3 things you should never buy in a bottleCanned and bottled foods have been a boon to home cooks all over time and space. The ability to buy shelf-stable, prepared food is a luxury that our ancestors probably never even dreamed of.

But, unfortunately, the quality and taste of many of these items pales in comparison to the real deal. Often, the cost of convenience isn’t always there. That’s why it behooves you to make your own, especially these three things.

Don’t ever buy these in a bottle when you can make them yourself.

1. Salsa

I started making salsa about 17 years ago. Back then I bought a $3 container of Santa Barbara salsa each week. Once I got the hang of it, I realized that I could make twice as much salsa for less than a dollar. Total money saver, not to mention better tasting and healthier.

Check out these great salsa recipes so that you can make your own.

bolognese pasta sauce with spaghetti squash

2. Pasta Sauce

The same goes for spaghetti sauce. When we were newlyweds we bought Classico pasta sauce in jars. Often we wouldn’t use the full jar before it started to grow fuzz and so we wasted quite a bit of it. Around the same time as the salsa discovery, I learned that I could make homemade pasta sauce for a few pennies on the dollar.

Here are some of our favorites:

Salad dressing

3. Salad Dressings

Salad dressings are so remarkably easy, it’s ridiculous to buy them in a bottle. The bottled variety contains a lot of dubious ingredients and an inordinate amount of sugar — often in the form of corn syrup — and salt.

Vinaigrette-style salad dressing is just vinegar and spices mixed with some olive oil. Voila! Here are some faves:

What do YOU shun in bottled form?

diy-convenience-150This is part of the DIY Convenience Foods series.

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Comments

  1. Not going to lie, I buy all of these things.
    But I don’t buy bottled coffee! I make double-triple concentrate, chill it, then mix half and half with milk.

  2. Barbeque sauce and mayo,

  3. Packaged taco seasoning. So easy to find a recipe, quadruple it and keep it in a labeled glass jar with your spices.

  4. Okay, so store bought taco seasoning doesn’t actually come in a bottle, buy hey.

  5. mayo, and salad dressing

  6. I can’t agree with you more!

    Can I suggest 2 things that aren’t in a bottle also? Boxed Mac and Cheese (so easy & better tasting) and if people must use Cream of Whatever soup – don’t buy it, make it yourself. If one wants an easy method search on the internet for SOS mix (Soup or Sauce)- it works great!

  7. Your red sauce recipe, is that 10 oz of crushed tomatoes or 10 cans? I’m confused with how it was typed. Thanks!

  8. Pizza sauce. Easy peasy.

    I do buy jarred salsa; I make my own and jar it, but we get tired of that one flavor (and the batches I make always seem to have yields beyond those predicted). So a few times a year we get something else.

  9. I do buy salsa and salad dressing. We don’t go through them fast enough and the homemade goes to waste. I tried making smaller batches, but had the same problem.

  10. Garlic in a jar?
    (shudders!)

    Never, never, never!

  11. We do make our own pasta sauce and dressings. Great money saver. Plus no NB e of those added nasty ingredients.

    Salsa, um…no :-(

    With Summer over it may not taste as good. Hubby is always a skiing me to make it.

  12. sauerkraut- The stuff from the store tastes nothing like making it at home.

  13. I do make a lot of things from scratch, but haven’t done salsa. Pico a few times, but not full-on salsa. Those Pace and Old El Paso things are not very good. The kid quite likes Costco’s organic salsa, so that’s what we have done for the past few years. Before we found Costco’s salsa, we just rarely bothered using salsa at home. I don’t have any at the moment, so I might consider making some using your recipe, but I greatly disagree with your cost breakdown (even understanding that the post is 3 years old). I’m glad you can get things that cheaply, but it definitely costs more over here on the east coast.

  14. How true! I make my own of all three, and fully agree how much more one can make if going homemade and for so much less :)

  15. I use minced garlic from a jar 99% of the time. Its easy, inexpensive, and tastes fine. The only time I buy fresh garlic is when I’m roasting the cloves with grape tomatoes.

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