Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Heirloom Tomatoes & Squeezo Machine
My Favorite tomatoes for slicing and eating plain are the heirloom varieties. They are flavorful and come in so many unusual colors. Aren't these green ones gorgeous? They are fully ripe and this beautiful bright green color. The best tasting though, this year, was the dark ones that had a purple/black skin with a reddish pink flesh called Pierce's Pride. It's pictured here on the plate with the green variety and a delicious yellow tomato.
We also like the big tomato varieties for sandwiches, such as Big Boy or Beefsteak.
And the best for cooking into a sauce are the Roma varieties. This year I found an Amish tomato that was like the Roma only much bigger. The reason the Roma tomato is good for making sauce is because it is a fleshier tomato with less juice and so it thickens beautifully. With the amount of tomatoes we grow though almost every variety ends up in my tomato sauce.
I use this squeezo strainer to remove skins and seeds from the pulp. Mine is very old (at least 50 years). One can buy them new for over $200 new, but I did see quite a few up for auction today on ebay starting for a lot less money. It's a very handy machine for making tomato sauces as well as apple sauce. There is a crank on one side. Out the other side of the squeezo comes the skins and seeds, which we toss into the compost. The large funnel at the top is where the blanched product goes in, and then there is a spout out the front where the pulp comes out. We attach it to our picnic table because it can be quite a juicy mess.
Nothing can be simpler than cooking down this sauce and processing it up for winter storage. Every modern canning book will have picture instuctions for how to can or process tomato sauce. These books can be purchased any place where canning jars and other canning products sold.
Here the the girls and Noah are helping to make applesauce last fall. We get our apples from one of the many orchards just south of the Missouri River. We usually combine a juicy sweet Gala or similar type apple with some tart Jonathon's for our applesauce, which I also process for winter use. Look here to see my canning recipes for the best salsa and old fashioned cucumber relish.