Sam Schipani strains cooked blackberries when making homemade simple syrup in this May 2021 photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The grocery store has all sorts of products available in cans and containers. Sometimes, though, it is better — and cheaper — to resist the temptation of packaged products and make a homemade version instead.

Here are 6 things that are almost always better and cheaper when you make them yourself than when you purchase them at the store.

Simple syrup

Sam Schipani shows how to make homemade simple syrup in this May 2021 photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

True to its name, simple syrup is incredibly easy to make at home in any flavor that you could possibly imagine. Whether you like using simple syrup for cocktails or baked goods, these basic steps to making simple syrup will make it so that you never have to waste money on the premade product again.


Shawn Williams prepares tubs of hummus at Trillium Catering in Belfast in this July 2020 photo. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

Hummus is deceptively easy to make at home as long as you keep a few key things in mind. Plus, once you have the basics down, you can add all sorts of mix-ins and flavors. Here is what you need to know about making homemade hummus and all the ways you can keep it fresh and fun.


Homemade pesto is a great way to use fresh herbs. Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

Pesto is so much more delicious made fresh, especially if you have a bunch of basil from your garden. You can also make pesto with whatever green herb or leafy green you have lying around. Here’s what you need to know about making pesto, and a simple recipe for basil pecan pesto to get started.


Cynthia Finnemore Simonds boils broth filled with turkey bones, cilantro and other herbs and vegetables in her Newcastle kitchen in this January 2008 photo. Credit: Bridget Brown / BDN

If you save chicken bones and vegetable scraps, homemade broth is basically free. Plus, you get all that tasty gelatin and homemade flavor that you don’t get from the boxed stuff. Learning how to make broth will help you to reduce food waste, save money and instantly up your home cooking game.

Nut butter

Homemade nut butters made by Natalie Williams and Sam Schipani. Credit: Sam Schipani / BDN

You can make all sorts of nut butters easily at home. A benefit is that they will be healthier and more delicious than the store bought counterparts. Here’s what you need to know about making homemade nut butters.

Vanilla extract

Homemade vanilla extract gives a much richer flavor than store-bought vanilla extract does. Credit: Sarah Walker Caron / BDN

Making homemade vanilla extract is a time commitment, but it’s worth it. Making homemade vanilla extract takes a few months, but the flavor is much better than most of the store bought stuff, and it is much cheaper to make because you do so in bulk.

A little bit of elbow grease and a few simple ingredients are all you need to make these kitchen staples at home. Once you do, you’ll never want to spend money on their store bought counterparts ever again.