“Phineas, I know what we’re going to do today!”—(just Google it if you don’t get that cultural reference!) While my garden hasn’t exactly flourished this year, I’ve been blessed by several sisters in Christ whose garden HAVE done beautifully and so, it’s been a canning marathon here at our country house. Look at these big beautiful tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, several varieties of hot peppers, cucumbers, green beans and more…and I’ve never been so thankful!
For the next few weeks, tomatoes are going to be on the top of my priority list. As my children have grown older and we’ve moved towards whole, homegrown foods, our tomato consumption has gone through the roof! We eat those babies juiced for soups, canned whole for stews, sauced, as salsa, stewed with celery and sweet peppers, stewed with okra, dehydrated. As my goal is a minimum of 100qts of tomato products, not counting salsa, anything that will expedite the preservation process is a huge plus!
With 3 bushels of tomatoes in the mudroom waiting to be juiced this morning, I tried several different tools to see which would produce the quickest, best quality product with the least amount of waste and this was my favorite:
It’s a Victorio Food Strainer….
and you can find them online all day long in the $50-75 range, depending on the model you go with. Mine was a lucky yard sale find for $5. Whoot! Can’t beat that! Anyway, here’s what I liked best about this particular model: it has a huge hopper for holding produce, it clamps down securely on your countertop, simple assembly and it squeezes the last drop of pulp and juice out of the veggies without a seed anywhere! It makes thick, pulpy tomato juice, sauces apples without peeling, and it also has interchangeable screens for grapes, salsa, etc. To be fair, I tried 2 other strainer/juicers I had laying around the house…and ended up throwing one away. A good quality, name brand electric juicer was a total mess and the old-style food mill passed seeds without fully straining the peels. I’ll let you figure out which one went straight into the garbage.
While food preservation doesn’t require TOO many specialty items, it will save you both time and frustration if you use the correct tool for the job. In my opinion, if you’re going to bother with juicing or saucing fruits and veggies, you’re either going to HAVE a Victorio food strainer or you’re going to NEED one. Give it some thought, do some research and let me know what you decide! Til next time—