Adventures in Homemade...

This fall has definitely about getting into the homemade versions of things we never contemplated making in the past. Sometimes for fun, sometimes to more completely use what we already have, sometimes to just plain save money! Here are the highlights of the last

* Homemade grenadine! I love a Shirley Temple yet the gross Rose's stuff at the store is just corn syrup and red dye, not actually made from pomegranates! So I found the recipe, picked up some POM from the grocery store and organic sugar from the bulk aisle, and... bam!

* Homemade pear liqueur! Wanting something in time for the holidays, I used up the last of our pears with spices and the remainder of the bottle of bourbon we had on hand and...voila! The pears just finished soaking in the whiskey with the spices and strained out, and it's now mellowing out in the liquor cabinet, waiting for Solstice. It smells DIVINE!

* Homemade red pepper hummus using dried garbanzo beans and ground sesame seeds for tahini! (note: the final project is not pictured above, as I couldn't seem to snap the shot in a super appealing way, haha). I had both ingredients in our pantry (WAY cheaper to buy garbanzos in the bulk aisle than in cans) and had just oven roasted some red peppers from our garden's harvest and was pretty stoked as this was so good. I also learned a few things along the way:

  • The fastest way to prepare garbanzo beans don't involve pre-soaking! Through the magic of baking soda and salt, it's a way quicker process I learned! Simply boil the dried beans in a pot of water with 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, add a teaspoon of salt, then reduce to low and simmer, covered, for just under 90 minutes. Perfection!

  • While I've made hummus with tahini from the aisle, I literally learned this week at the ripe old age of 46 that tahini is simply sesame seeds! So I tossed a quarter cup into the spice grinder to make them into powder and added them to the hummus recipe and it was awesome! Considering the jar of tahini is like $9 at the grocery store, this was pretty rad.

* Homemade pear wine! This was never in the plans but with all the pears we got this year, we had a few extra that were going soft and decided to experiment, as my husband works across the street from a homebrew supply shop, it was simply the cost of a tiny packet of champagne yeast and some golden raisins from the bulk aisle. Thanks to a coworker of his, he was able to borrow a wine corker and some extra corks, and after sanitizing the bottles ourselves, it was not that hard!

* Homemade hot sauce - I've been making this for several years now and this year we had SO many serranos that were taking their own sweet time turning red that we just mixed them in green...and it's still hotter than a mofo, let me tell you.

Next up? Husband is using our hops we grew this summer to make his first batch of beer and we've got some organic malt and barley and other goodies on order for next week's project.

What are some things you've usually bought and tried making from scratch? Please share!

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