For the second year running my cousin Alex and I took a stab at mass-producing tomato sauce. We changed two things this year: we upped the ante to two and a half bushels and called my grandmother’s grinder-style tomato mill into service.
Last year I remember the two rotary food mills we used to separate the tomato juice and pulp being the choke points that pushed the event well into overtime despite all the helping hands we had. (Alex remembers differently.)
This year, even with a bunch of greatly-appreciated help from friends and family (including an indefatigable seven-year old) the grinding still took at least four hours. I also don’t think our yield–twelve litres per bushel–was very good.
I wonder, was there a flaw in our technique? I started by adapting Joel’s idea of holding my hand over the output nozzle that spits out the seeds and skins but this seemed to really slow things down. We also had problems with tomato juice backing up into the and making it difficult to aim with the wooden reamer.
With help from many hands we cut each tomato in two and then each half into six before grinding. Was this not enough? Do the pieces need to be smaller? Should we have cooked them first?
The other consideration is that this style of tomato press just isn’t made for these sorts of quantities. Rather it would be the sort of thing that a nonna would have permanently affixed to her counter for grinding a basket or so at a time, as needed. Or maybe it’s better for apple saucee.
The unit’s hopper has the words “lo spremi trita” and “ETERNO” embossed on it. According to Google Translate the former means “squeezer minced” in Italian and no one will be surprised that the latter means “forever”. Not much new information there, right?
Has anyone used one of these tomato crushers for a bushel-plus of tomatoes? Are we doing something wrong or just wussies? I’m thinking next year might be time for one of these motorised beauties.