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.