Pantry staples that tend to sit on the shelf longer also tend to be more processed. It just so happens that many of these things you can easily (and cheaply!) make at home yourself. Check it:
Save your veggie scraps in ziplock bags in the freezer. (It helps if you chop them into 1-inch-ish pieces before freezing.) The core of veggie broth is onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, but you can add practically anything else, too.
To make veggie broth, heat olive oil in a large stock pot, add an onion and a few cloves of garlic (chopped, of course, because more surface area = more flavor), and sauté for a few minutes. Add your frozen veggies, purified water (about the same amount of water as veggies), some salt, and any fresh or dried herbs you’d like. Simmer for 45-60 minutes. Cool to not scalding. Strain out veggies. Store your broth in large glass jars– freeze for up to 3 months, or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Get some bread (sourdough works great) and cut it into chunks the size you want your croutons to be. Put in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil, stir to coat. Season with herb blends (Italian would be a good option), garlic powder, and a little salt and pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Store in an air-tight container, unrefrigerated, for up to two weeks.
See Homemade Salad Dressings for a curated list of DIY salad dressing recipes.
Pesto is incredibly quick to make at home in a food processor, and if you make a large batch you can store it in the freezer to keep that summer goodness all year long. You can make traditional basil pesto, or whip it up out of almost any leafy green. For example: Kale Pesto by The Roasted Root.
Oh, kimchi isn’t a pantry staple? Well, whatever, maybe it should be. And it’s surprisingly easy to make at home. This recipe by My New Roots comes complete with a lovely introduction to “Why Bacteria is Your Buddy,” as well as a “Troubleshooting” section!
There are a bunch of great recipes out there for homemade granola and muesli. Here’s a standard Gluten-Free/Paleo Granola by The Roasted Root. Add whatever other yummies you want in there! And here’s a Toasted Muesli recipe from Hortus.
Likewise, granola bars are easy to make at home and there is no shortage of healthy homemade granola bar recipes online like:
Bars are pretty easy, but granola bites are even easier because you don’t have to wait for them to firm to cut them! Try these:
Pancake mix is hella simple to make from scratch without preservatives; it’s amazing there’s even a market for the boxed stuff. Definitely worth making it from scratch, whether you prefer the traditional or gluten-free variety.
Kombucha is a healthy probiotic drink that some sources recommend drinking daily- definitely worth making quantities that significant at home. Check out the post on brewing homemade kombucha for details and recipes.