Thursday, September 5, 2013

Beefsteaks; Not Just for Slicing!

This summer, I have mostly focused on our Amish Paste roma tomatoes, but I don't want anyone to think they are the king of the garden. Though they make great sauce because they contain few seeds and juice--mostly meat--that doesn't mean you have to disregard your other tomatoes when you are preserving your harvest.

Beefsteaks are known for their wonderful flavor and the way their copious juice dribble down your chin as you eat them, slice by slice. But how many beefsteaks can you really eat before they so bad?

I scored 15 pounds of beefsteaks from Uncle Loren (he is always so willing to share!). He also gave me 3 beefsteak tomato plants earlier in the spring that have been producing like crazy. I knew we wouldn't eat them all. So, we got the food mill out again, much to the delight of Simon, who had missed the opportunity to use it during our other tomato-squishing sessions.

Simon figuring out all the pieces of the food mill

This is what 15 pounds of tomatoes looks like

The squishing and cranking never gets old

A great job for two brothers!

Preserving stuff does take time. After the boys milled the tomatoes, I put the whole bowl of sauce/juice in the fridge to deal with the next day. Nothing wrong with dividing the process up to make it manageable!

Even though you will get a lot of juice when milling beefsteaks, the juice will boil down, given enough time, into a luscious sauce. Which is what we did. I decided to finally pay homage to the spaghetti sauce recipe in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle--one of the books that got me started on my whole gardening journey. The recipe can be found HERE: we cut it in half since we were dealing with 15 pounds of tomatoes, not 30. (We also did not add dried lemon peel as the recipe asked for. Oh, and we also cut the basil in seemed like so much!)

Love, juicy tomato puree, with a mountain of spices, pre-cooking

After hours of slowly cooking down-a delightful spaghetti sauce!

The flavor was great, but maybe a bit spicy. I think one of the reasons it turned out spicier than we expected is because we added all the ingredients prior to cooking the sauce down. Next time, we'll cook the sauce down a bit to get rid of some of the juice, then add the rest of the ingredients as it finishes cooking to the perfect thickness.We will also experiment with more sauce recipes, but for now we have 3 meals worth of delicious homemade sauce waiting for us in the freezer, and that is such a satisfying feeling!

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