Monday, August 11, 2008


And so it begins.

The time has come to drag out all the canning equipment. It will now stake its claim to a portion of my counter and become a permanent fixture till well into the Fall.

I have made my first batch of tomato sauce this season!

This year we tried to make the sauce a different way. Last year we cored and
blanched and peeled all the tomatoes and then just cooked them down and mashed them and mashed them till it was a consistency that we wanted for the sauce. It ended up having more seeds than we wanted.

This year, we had a new tool. The strainer for our kitchen aid mixer.

So, all we had to do was to core and quarter the tomatoes and then boil them for a little bit.

Then we ran them thru the strainer.
This is the part that is supposed to make this whole process easier. Supposed to, I say. The point being that it cuts out alot of steps. You just run the tomatoes thru the strainer and it "strains" out all the seeds and peeling and everything.

You are then left with the good, juicy stuff that you cook down and make into delicious sauce.

Let me just tell you. It makes a huge freakin mess. Huge.

First of all, me being, well, me....I had to use a stool just to operate the strainer. Who knew you had to be tall to make tomato sauce...I stand on the stool, add my tomatoes to the strainer and turn on my mixer. Then you have this little plunger device that you use to push the tomatoes thru the chute to get to the strainer. Push the plunger down.....push the tomatoes down. No. Push the plunger down, ever so gently, causing tomato juice to squirt up and spray all over everything. Me, the cabinets, the walls, the sink, the floor(which I had just mopped by the way). I attempt to clean as I go. I am a clean as I go cooker. So, it makes sense to be a cle
an as I go strainer. Actually, no, it doesnt. I gave up the whole cleaning thing very quickly into the process as I see tomato juice running down the counter and then feel it splash onto my foot.

I look at my foot, I look at the strainer, I look at my foot again. Stupid strainer, I say. Stupid, stool that my foot rests upon. Stupid tomatoes. Okay, you get the picture.

All in all the first experience the strainer and I had together was not ideal. It got the job done. It saved me time to a certain degree, till you factor in the cleaning issue. I will try it again. Im not sure what I can do differently. But there must be something. Maybe I can talk real nice to it. Maybe I can change things up and use apples next time. Maybe apples would be better....


Mim said...

I have to use a stool too. You could put painter's tarps down everywhere. Then just take them out and hose them down when you are done!

fearlesschef said...

Please do update if it works out better... I was considering purchasing that attachment, but cannot stand having tomato squirted all over the kitchen.

Jason said...

A lot of people use a food mill to accomplish the mash/strain process all in one easy (albeit tedious) step.

Erica said...

What a disappointment with the strainer. I was looking into a food mill for this year, it sure would make my life easier.........oh so I think.

My canner has taken up permanent residence on my stove also. Along with a basket of lids, bands, seasonings, and all the like haha!!

Beneath the Mask said...

What if you set the mixer in one side of the sink and the bowl in the other side so that most of the mess goes into the sink rather than all over everything. Combined with the tarp idea?

Country Girl said...

I was hoping to by one of those strainers as soon as the tomatoes are ripe. It is a little different set up and my neighbor wants to go half on it. Is it worth it or more of a hassle? ~Kim

frugalmom said...

mim: Yeah, and maybe I can wear a poncho next time.

fearlesschef: Yeah, it was a really big mess. I am gonna give it a few more tries and see if I can maybe get it done with less mess.

jason: I have thought about trying this route. Maybe I can borrow one and then decide which I like better.

erica: Yeah, all that stuff is on my counter as well. Doesnt it take up a huge amt of space? But I have to say that it is so worth it.

beneath the mask: It cant really work that way....the bowl has to be right under the mixer in order to catch the if I had one of those great apron sinks.....hmmm...

country girl: I cant really say if I feel it is worth it quite yet. I need to give it a few more chances! What other way were you planning on doing it?

Anonymous said...

Hey Marc... Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!! by the way.... What about wrapping that great stuff called plastic wrap around it(the strainer and such) so it doesn't splatter further than that?
Love ya sis, shelly

sugarcreekstuff said...

That post was a crack up. Sorry, I have no tips, I just wanted to let you know how funny your description was. :-0

sugarcreekstuff said...

Happy Birthday!

Ali B. said...

Holy moly. I can get an attachment to my kitchen aid mixer. Never considered that. I hear that it's not perfect, but it's gotta' work better than the disaster I had last summer when my canning experience went so terribly wrong.

Christy said...

I actually don't bother with all the peeling and stuff. I just use an immersion blender to get it all smooth like.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you need one of those floor-cleaner zamboni things? (I wish!)

Your post was a hoot, sorry the task was so challenging. I'm glad to hear the $2 Italian tomato strainer I bought at a tag sale performs nearly as well as the KA strainer which I was drooling over. Thanks for saving me the $$.

frugalmom said...

henbogle: Oh yeah, problem! Glad I could save you some money! Now excuse me while I get back to cleaning my kitchen(without a zambont thingie!)