Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tomato processing

Every spring, when I get ready to plant tomatoes, I promise myself that this time around I will only plant a few. Maybe two, at most three plants. But then I get to the nursery and of course I have to get the Romas because we need them for sauce, and the Beefsteaks because Kostadis likes them, and the Early Girls because we want tomatoes ASAP, and the cherries because I like them, and then maybe some more Romas because what if we run out. So every year we end up with the tomato jungle.
About half of the tomato jungle.

Inside the jungle. Every time I stick my hand
inside the tomato bush I briefly wonder if I will
get it back. It's dark and scary inside there.

The only problem with having so many tomatoes is that eventually your friends, co-workers, and random strangers on the street refuse to take them. Which brings us to the annual tomato-processing ritual, where the tomatoes are picked, ground up, and turned into ketchup. Ketchup preparation takes about four hours, most of which is spent running tomatoes through the food processor and then through a food mill to remove seeds. In fact, I believe at some point I said that it was worse than labor.

And then, one of my friends recommended that I get this:

This is a Velox Tomato Press. It changed my life. Tomatoes go in the top, and de-skinned, de-seeded tomato pulp comes out one side, and skins and seeds out the other. Processing about 15 lbs of tomatoes takes all of 40 minutes. Here we go.

The inputs. These are my Beefsteaks and Early Girls. I didn't weigh them (Nick was sleeping and the scale is in his room), but it should be about 15 lbs.

Washed and de-stemmed.

Err, what? No comment.

Blanched quickly in boiling water to split the skins.

Run through the tomato press. Pulp on the left, peels in front. I tend to run the peels though another time to get more pulp out.

Now you can do whatever you want with the crushed tomato pulp. Ketchup, sauce, whatever. Since I have a small demanding creature at home who can self-entertain for at most 20 minutes, I just put the pulp in ziplock bags and freeze it.

Done! Total time at most an hour. Velox Tomato Press, I love you.

P.S. You can get one of these from Amazon

1 comment:

  1. p.p.s I made sauce from this recently. I would argue it was the best sauce I've ever made. To get a fully unbiased opinion I think we should make you some more lasagna incorporating this sauce.