Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Freezer and the Cupboards

I'm thinking about writing a children's book titled "The Freezer and the Cupboards." I think it has a nice ring to it. And of course, to me it's a thrilling subject. Some two-year olds might beg to differ. Come to think of it, most people would beg to differ.

I bought my General Electric 7.0 cubic feet chest freezer with manual defrost this summer and it has been packed to the gills since September. Every time I try to pull something out, it seems that something else is eager to take it's place. It's filled with 40 pounds of chicken thighs from Murray's Chicken, about fifty pounds of a split steer from Moveable Beast that I scored with the help of Hudson Valley Food Network's Split and Share group, lots and lots of fruit, some vegetables, and some stock, both beef and apple! I love my freezer. Combined with the jars in the cupboard, and the Kingston Natural Foods Buying Club, I don't go to the store much any more.

One of the things I freeze with great success is fruit, which I can then make into preserves when it's cold outside and the sun sets at 4:30 and it's dark, really dark, by 5 p.m. In my last post about Paradise Jelly, I mentioned to save all of the pulp leftover from your jelly making in order to make fruit butter. It's not a secret that fruit butter is super easy and has less sugar in it than jams and jellies. The fact that I get to make a beautiful jelly, and some fruit butter from the same batch of fruit tickles my frugal bone. Some may say that after extracting the juices from a fruit that the leftovers are sapped of flavor. I don't particularly notice that it does. I like to eat fruit butter, but I don't always want to lay out the fresh fruit for it. But the leftovers? Why not? It's great on yogurt, and in cakes (both mixed and layered in).

From rhubarb juice I made back in spring, I had frozen a quart of rhubarb pulp. The other day I took it out and mixed it with my quince and crabapple leftovers, following Food In Jars' slow cooker recipe, which I always use now. I just can't get over how easy it is to produce five or six half-pints of fruit butter. And because it seems like a bonus, you can experiment with interesting combos that you might not otherwise try.

25 comments:

  1. Love your pantries full of jars! And I LOVE to see what's in everyone's freezers! The first thing I'll get after I buy a house (one day) is a giant chest freezer. My regular freezer in my side-by-side fridge is packed with tons of soup, a few veggies, a bit of cooked wild rice, at least 30 cups of various types of tomato sauce, maybe 5 pounds total of meat, a few miscellaneous other things... I want some fruit butter right now!

    It might be fun to do some kind of freezer clean-out challenge in Jan/Feb/March to make room for new stuff come spring.

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  2. I love this, Jules. We are in line to buy a little chest freezer like yours, and I can't wait for it. Also, after making apple-quince butter from my jelly leftovers, I have 100% come around on that practice. It was wonderful and not at all flavorless.

    Like Monica, I had hoped we would have a Can Jam freezer challenge. It would have been a fun roundup!

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  3. They will pry my chest freezer from my cold, dead hands - I am totally in love with that thing. Sausage, chicken, pumpkin, kale, peppers & grilled corn galore, strawberries, blueberries, flour, corn meal, bread, scones, soup, stock, and yes, leftover juice & pulp from when I just didn't have time. I'd be lost without it.

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  4. I love me my chest freezer! fruit, stocks, pestos, candied tomatoes and tomato sauces, breads and tea cakes, flours, ETC.. and I love seeing the photo of your cellar with freezer & larder shelves. it looks oddly like mine, even the walls.

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  5. I love your store room. My freezer gets on my nerves. It doesn't seem to hold enough and what is in there operates in an 'out of sight out of mind' way. So stuff gets dumped in there for God knows how long and forgotten about, adding cost to the contents all the time. Obviously my fault, not the freezers. Now jars on shelves, that is sheer delight.

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  6. We're getting a chest freezer as a gift this season and we are SO excited. I'm hoping to be able to use it to save some of the summer/fall veggies for the winter and early spring, when they are harder to come by. Love the photos.

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  7. Meg - Isn't it?

    Monica - Thank you!! I must admit, I do love looking in people's kitchens, pantries, freezers. I love the freezer challenge idea. I'm game!

    Shae - You know, when I got it I thought it was going to be too big! Little did I know. And the freezer round up still may happen: I do believe there will be a Tigress' Can Jam 2011.

    Kaela - Lost, absolutely lost! Especially when you want to go local. It's so true. Can't believe it took me so long to get with the times.

    Tigress - Oh, do you have those nice cinder block walls, too? Gosh, I love that everyone's divulging their freezer contents. I want more!

    Gloria - That's a new twist on the genre. Freezer dislike, instead of freezer lust. I'm a mad rotate-er. I like to just paw through my stuff. My jars? I sort of just stare at them, buff the glass. Really nerdy stuff.

    Emily - Thanks! What a GREAT present. Make sure it's big enough!

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  8. One would think if you just had a bigger freezer you would have more room. Nope, just more food. I have two monster freezers packed to the top. I might have a problem.

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  9. I LONG for a chest freezer, but have no space for one (1,100 square feet on the 20th floor doesn't really lend itself to such things). And I love, love, love the peek at your cupboards and preserves!

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  10. I started doing that (using fruit pulp after juicing) with grapes a few years back. I can taste a small difference. However, I make low sugar jam with it and it tastes great, still. Even "leftovers" of homemade tastes better than store bought, imo. ;)

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  11. The beauty of all those jars in the cabinets gave me goosebumps. :P I think I'm losing it. :)
    Will have to give fruit butter a try next time too.

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  12. Leah - Ha! I'm sure that would happen to me, too. It's the hoarding instinct. A friend has a freezer and has a tough time filling it. It's weird.

    Marisa - I would love to see what you had in your freezer, if you had one! Now, how can we get to work on the invention of a space-saving urban freezer?

    Cindy - I agree, homemade is always better! I really like how the pulp becomes a more 'day to day' spread.

    Mindy - Thanks! I must admit, I get pretty happy looking at them, too!

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  13. Love the look inside. Like you I like getting ideas. I do have a chest freezer and I will say, it's tooooo small! It's full of my ice cream machine parts, grinder parts, cookie doughs, breads and so on. I'm game for all round ups. Makes me think of things other then the same old, same old.

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  14. I have pantry cupboard envy! Mine are stacked all over the basement or squirreled away. It must be so fun to see it all in one place!

    My freezer is stuffed to the gills as well which is not good since I have a 1/4 cow coming in 2 weeks! I took out all the pork belly and loin to cure and the sausage to stuff which is thawing in the fridge and then I look and see room in the freezer and it makes me happy. Then I remember that after I smoke and stuff everything it has to go back in the freezer again. Derp!

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  15. Wow, what an impressive stash. You just might have more food stashed than my dad, and I thought he had more than anyone I knew.

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  16. We always had chest freezers when growing up. I hated them seems like I always was the one going out to dig out whatever my mom was looking for. Shortly after getting married my hubby and I did a food plan and bought the 21cf commercial upright that came with the program. 22 years and several military moves later it's still trucking. I love the fact I can organize and find things without pulling half the freezer stuff out because I forgot where I put something. I looked at getting our son's family a small upright before they left for AZ but, they needed financial help so was unable to get them one.

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  17. Your freezer looks like mine, only it's got the benefit of 2 extra sq.cu.ft...

    It's a good feeling to have food stashed and stored, isn't it? My Mom and I both have the same problem, since we share beef and pork from sources local to her. I ended up not cooking the turkey on Thanksgiving, so I've got a mighty big bird, 4 chickens, and half of the quarter steer in my freezer - with puerco on the way, my Mom jokes that some people need to rent storage units for their stuff, and we need to rent a meat locker! It's no joke. Unless I turn rabidly carnivorous for 3 meals a day, I'll never have room for a quarter pig.

    Oh, and I'm totally envious of your very clean looking basement. You inspire me to clean up mine and take pics!!

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  18. Jane - Yes, sometimes we all need a little inspiration, don't we?

    Annette - I love seeing all my little goodies! But I do my fair share of squirreling, too. Man, I'm still not up to speed on my meat curing. You've made me realize. I didn't know you could take the meat out, cure it, then put it back in the freezer. Did I get that right?

    Rebecca - Yes, it does feel so good to have food stashed away. Your mom sounds so cool! I'm sure your freezer is one to be envious of. I wish I had gotten a 1/4 of a pig, but I don't know if I could fit it in.
    And, the basement just looks that way for it's photo op. Not always that neat!

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  19. Oops! Sorry you guys, don't know what happened but my responses didn't come through...

    Denise - Your Dad sounds like a very interesting fellow!

    Anon. - Wow! That's amazing that it's lasted that long. We looked into uprights, but they were too expensive. You must have gotten a real commercial one.

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  20. I LOVE your canning cabinets. They look gorgeous with those sparkling jewels inside. I wish I had something like that for storing my jars instead of utilitarian plastic shelves. However, I do wonder if the light exposure reduces the longevity of the products?

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  21. Ms. Marie H - Thank you! And thanks for the comment! These cabinets are down in the basement with no direct light coming in on them. I placed them specifically with that in mind! They would be much prettier in my living room (am I crazy?) but as you point out, light and heat are detrimental to the goods inside the jars.

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  22. Wow, the picture of your beautiful jars filling the china cabinets seriously brought tears to my eyes. I am a sap. Nice work!

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