10 Ways to Keep Farm Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for the Winter Months

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Garlic Bread (Photo by Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Butters: Compound and Fruit

Compound butter and fruit butter don’t have much in common aside from the word butter and the fact that you can spread them on things. The former, compound butter, is actual butter combined with fresh herbs. The latter, fruit butter, does not actually contain butter. It’s fruit that’s cooked so long it takes on the consistency of room-temperature butter.

There’s pretty much nothing easier to make than compound butter, unless you want to start by making your own butter. I don’t. Take a stick of butter and chop up some fresh herbs. Melt the butter. Stir in the herbs. Put the mixture into a container until it hardens. That’s it. Some chefs like to get all fancy and roll still-soft butter into a tube shape using plastic wrap. Then you can cut little butter coins to give away at Christmas and make all the children sad. A better idea is probably to melt the butter coins over hot steak, fish, vegetables or pasta. Even better: make garlic bread.

Fruit butter is more involved to make, but it is much healthier than a big log o’ butter. To make apple butter, you reduce down apples, sugar, some spices and either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, until it’s the consistency of icing. This can take up to 8 hours, but you can use a slow cooker, and leave it and forget it. For more details, see this apple butter recipe from the always-dependable Better Homes and Gardens. It includes instructions for canning, but you can ignore that if you just plan to freeze it.