These pre-sliced, pre-chopped, and pre-made items might seem like convenient kitchen shortcuts–but they’re less tasty and more expensive than when you do the prep work yourself. Here’s the list of which pre-sliced, pre-chopped, pre-made items you should probably ignore at the supermarket.
The stone-cold truth is that pre-minced garlic tastes really different from the fresh stuff. Often it’s much more pungent, too. Consider, too, that the nature of garlic’s taste changes depending on whether it’s whole, sliced, crushed, minced, or micro-planed. Each preparation entails a different use. Jarred garlic is a different animal than the fresh stuff, so buy your garlic in whole heads, and use a clove—or a bunch of cloves—at a time.
Any fan of mushrooms on pizza can tell when the local pizzeria has switched to pre-sliced (or worse, started buying the jarred, watery kind). Pre-sliced Mushrooms dry out, so on a pizza, you’ll notice papery little skins rather than plump, bodacious slices. Mushrooms also have a way of getting wonky over time in the refrigerator. Don’t add to the problem by buying them pre-sliced. Yes, it’s a time-saver, but those tend to go bad faster.
Lemons, limes, and oranges are persnickety and want to be squeezed pretty much to order. Pre-squeezed juice just doesn’t tend to hold up very well, its flavor changes over time, and—if you’re buying it—it often comes with preservatives and sulfites.
Unlike yogurt, granola is a food absolutely worth making on your own. You can cook it on a baking sheet, control the amount of sugar and salt you add and make enough at one go to top your yogurt for a week or two.
Store bought chopped kale is nothing but regrets. Most companies chop their kale haphazardly. Unlike lettuce, you really can’t do anything with those heavy ribs leftover from the rough chop. You end up de-ribbing each piece of kale, generally hating your life, and wishing you’d simply run your fingers down each leaf to remove the green stuff.
There’s some great salad dressing on the market. But many tend to prefer the stuff they can easily make at home, usually haphazardly, adding a 2:1 ratio of olive oil and vinegar to the tablespoon of mustard left at the bottom of the mustard bottle. Add salt and pepper and maybe minced the shallot, and shake it all up.
Pre-made packages of mashed potatoes are really the worst and not recommended at all to be bought from the store. There’s just a very slim chance that they’ll be great. Why mess with one of the best foods there is (Potatoes)?