Last year I read a blog post from Rachel over at Grafix Muse's Garden Spot about her tomato harvest and how she loved her food strainer. At the time I didn't even know what a food strainer was or why I would use it. We didn't really grow a lot of tomatoes last year so I didn't really care, but I could tell from her post that this thing sounded cool.
Fast forward to this year and I have an abundance of tomatoes and a new found love for eating them. I decided a few months ago to look up her post and find out which strainer she had. It was the Victorio Model 250, so a quick amazon purchase later, and now I am the proud owner of one.
For those that don't know what a food strainer is, it is a device that allows you to make tomato sauce or apple sauce by dropping in whole fruits and it automatically discards the skin, seeds, and pulp. You are left with pristine 100% pure tomato or apple sauce that is ready to be cooked. You can also use it with other fruits like strawberries and blackberries by purchasing different sized screens.
The reviews of this tool on Amazon were mixed so I was a little skeptical, but this thing is freaking awesome! I used it once last week to do a small batch to make home made spaghetti sauce. Today I did a huge batch to make enough sauce to freeze, and both times it worked great!
The way this thing works is you drop whole tomatoes into this hopper. They only need to be cut in half or quartered, you can leave skin and all on it. You turn this hand crank and it feeds the tomato through a chamber and screen mesh. Out of one end of the screen comes all the skin, seeds, and pulp, and out of the screen itself comes the pure tomato sauce. I figured out it is better to only drop in a few tomatoes at a time and turn, instead of trying to fill up the hopper. Cleanup and assembly is pretty easy too, the only thing that is a pain is cleaning the screen because the holes are so tiny.
This strainer costs around $50 dollars on amazon.com, and to me that seems like a deal. My time is worth the cost, and today it only took me 25 minutes to produce enough sauce to fill up a huge sauce pan. I don't know what the alternative would be if you didn't have one of these strainers, but this is the only way for me.
Thanks Rachel for posting about it, otherwise I would have never known.
Here are my tomatoes ready to be processed.
Here is the food strainer. It has a vise on the bottom that allows you to mount it to a table or counter top. The pulp comes out of the glass tube where the brown bowl is, and the tomato sauce is extracted through the screen and down that white chute into the clear bowl. You feed the tomatoes into that top hopper and just turn the handle.
This was the pulp I was left with after using it today. It leaves no waste.
Here is my huge pot of pure sauce ready to be cooked.