Five reasons why you should consider making your own food

homemade food

Be more self-sufficient

One big part of our off-grid-adventure is to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle rather than having to dependent on companies or big industries. That’s why we’re trying to produce as many things as possible ourselves. This includes harvesting our own energy, e.g. from the sun, growing our own vegetable and also making our own food. While it’s understood that not everyone can just move to the countryside to go off grid, eating healthy and well is achievable! Here is why you should consider it.  

Don’t eat chemicals

I’m not an overly picky person, the food I eat doesn’t have to be bio-dynamic but it is a fact that it’s getting harder and harder to identify ingredients in store bought food. These days food can be genetically modified and we don’t even know it. Most of the times our favourite food contains a confusing list of additives, hidden sugars and artificial colours. I don’t want to eat those!

Organic labels can be an alternative but unfortunately, they’re not always reliable either. Organic can mean a lot of things, and sadly this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product was produced naturally and without pesticides.

This is quite frustrating, don’t you think? When did food become so complicated? But there is hope! My answer to this issue is to cook and bake my own food. This way I know exactly what’s in it, where the produce came from and I don’t have to worry about poisoning myself. On top of that it that tastes better too!

It’s easy

Don’t worry, it’s easy! I started off with simple dishes like pasta sauces, dips, pestos and soups and then worked my way up to more complicated things like pizza dough, bread, mustard and homemade gnocchi.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to make your own food once you find out how. I for example always thought mustard and sauerkraut are complicated to make. But they’re the easiest foods ever and so good for you! Once you’ve started making your own food you don’t even want to go back to supermarket products.

Live healthy

I think that we’re just so used to going to the shop and buying everything off the shelf that it doesn’t occur to us that we could make this at home. It’s a convenient world we live in. Don’t get me wrong, I like the convenience but I like to live a healthy life more!

For what it’s worth, cooking is not an inconvenience for me. I enjoy it because it relaxes me. I like learning how to make different foods. Trying something new and mastering it is very rewarding, you know. And it’s healthier too. Even if it doesn’t work out right away, just try it again later. My nemesis at the moment is cheese….

It’s cheaper

You gonna like this one! Making your own food can work out to be cheaper. I buy all of our “dry” food like flours, legumes, seeds, etc., at a wholefoods shop where I bring my own containers, save plastic and only get the amount I need. That way I’m buying smaller quantities and use them up quicker before they go stale.

Let’s have a look at a concrete example of making mustard. I never considered making my own mustard until I gave it a go one day. Apart from the fact that it’s incredibly easy to make, it turned out to be cheaper too! I bought two cups of mustard seed from our local wholefoods shop for about AUD$2. However, I ended up not paying anything for them because I still had a few dollars left on my customer’s rewards card. From those two cups of mustard seeds, I produced 700 ml of mustard! In comparison, the cheapest mustard at Coles costs AUD$1 per 100 g which amounts to AUD$7 for 700 ml. I spent AUD$2 (actually zero)!!! Isn’t that great? And my mustard doesn’t contain any additives and tastes amazing. For full disclosure, I should add that I also used 100 ml of apple cider vinegar which costs around AUD$0.80. Still much cheaper than store-bought mustard.

Be efficient

I know that a lot of people think that it takes too long to cook every meal from scratch. I disagree. Most meals don’t even take longer than 30 minutes to prepare and cook. There are so many easy and quick recipes out there these days that “time” should not be an issue anymore.

But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that makes cooking life even more time-effective. Try to be efficient with your time and precook lunches/dinners for the whole week. Fill them in airtight containers, put them in the freezer and take them out and heat them up when needed.

Another way to be efficient is by starting with the product that takes the longest cooking time and prepares everything else while this one is cooking. For example, the other day I made bread, sauerkraut, tomato sauce and carrot greens pesto. I started with the dough for the bread first because it takes 50 min to bake. While the bread was doing its thing in the oven, I started boiling the tomatoes for the sauce. While the tomatoes were boiling I made a quick pesto from carrot greens. Then I skinned the tomatoes and put them back into the pot to simmer away. In the meantime, I chopped the cabbage and made sauerkraut. By the time I filled the sauerkraut into jars, the tomato sauce and the bread were done. It took me around 2.5 hours to make all that food. Not bad, aye?  

Try it for yourself

Just give it a go. Take a recipe you always wanted to make and try it. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t get it right the first time (damn you stupid cheese). Just try it again, eventually, you get the hang of it. I can only highly recommend it!

Cooking your own food is healthy, easy, cost-effective, rewarding and a lot of fun!  

Make a tasty pesto from carrot greens and reduce organic waste at the same time!!!

carrot greens pesto
Keep your carrot greens – reduce your organic waste

If you buy your fresh produce from the local farmer’s market like we do, you probably end up with a nice bunch of carrot greens every week!. If you usually throw them out, please stop that right now!! Carrot greens are edible, taste great and are very versatile. On top of that, they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals.What a winner! So instead of adding to your waste pile, make something delicious with them!

Carrot greens are NOT toxic

Carrot greens are often overlooked because there is a common believe that they are toxic. But this is not true! It is true, however, that carrot greens contain alkaloids and nitrates which are common for nightshade plants. Some people might be sensitive to that but then they’re most likely also sensitive to other nightshade plants like potatoes, eggplants or peppers. Long story short, in order to poison yourself with carrot greens you would have to eat several kilos of them, which is highly unlikely. Right? Right!

Be creative

So instead of tossing them out, let’s be creative and incorporate carrot greens in our daily cooking. It’s easy. They are mild flavour and can most likely be compared to parsley.

There really are countless ways of using carrot greens in the kitchen. Chop them finely and add them to salads, curries, pasta sauces and hearty soups. Or use fresh leaves as a garnish to give your meals some colourful finishing touches.

If I don’t have time to deal with the greens straight away. I chop them finely, place them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer. That way they keep for weeks and I can use them whenever I want to. My favourite carrot greens recipe though is an easy and incredibly tasty pesto! 

What you need:

Food processor or stick mixer (plus tall container)

Chopping board

Knife

Ingredients: 

Approx. 2 cups  The greens from one bunch of carrots. 

1 cup  Grated parmesan

2 cloves of garlic 

½ cup  Chopped cashew nuts

1 cup Olive oil

Juice of half a lemon 

Salt and pepper

How to make it:

Cut off the carrot greens from your bunch of carrots. Put the carrots aside and wash the greens thoroughly. They can be quite sandy sometimes, so I usually rinse them two or three times to make sure that all sand is gone.

Chop the greens into smaller pieces and put them into a food processor or a tall container if you’re using a stick mixer.

Add the finely grated parmesan, garlic cloves, chopped cashew nuts, lemon juice and start mix everything. Slowly add olive oil and continue mixing until the pesto is smooth. Add more olive oil if needed (or less).

Once you’re satisfied with the texture, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Enjoy over pasta or vegetables. Or spread on fresh bread. Sooo good!

Keep it flexible

carrot greens basil pesto

To be honest with you, I’m not very precise with this recipe and you don’t have to be either. Add some basil, use as much Parmesan as you like. The more the better, right? Also, use less garlic if you’re not a fan. Most of the times I leave out the cashews and it still tastes great. You can be as creative and flexible as you want. That’s the beauty of this recipe. I love it!!