Our family has been growing a large patch of tomatoes for a few years now, and bottling our own tomato sauce for pizza sauce, pasta, and everything else. When you are processing a large quantity of tomatoes you quickly realise that pressig them through a sieve, or even using a food mill, is going to take an awful long time.
We got around this problem by ‘borrowing’ a tomato press from a relly – I say ‘borrow’ because they haven’t asked for it back yet, and it’s far too useful to get rid of it unless we have to!
This machine is a pretty simple design, consisting of a large suction cap mounted base (very useful, pasta machine manufacturers please take note) with a funnel for the tomatoes, a tray to catch the pulp, and a spring loaded handle.
It all hinges on the white part of the handle that you can see, which sits under the funnel. There are two small spring loaded paddles protruding from the side, and these press the tomatoes against a wire screen which is just fine enough that seeds and skin slide past while the pulp and juice pass through. Here’s the tomato mill in all it’s glory (excuse the photo) together with a shot of the inside with the handle/scraper mounted:
To start processing tomatoes, you just briefly simmer them in boiling water to loosen the skins, and start dropping them into the funnel. It’s not a bad idea to cut larger tomatoes in half once they have been simmered, but mind your fingers – they are hot. Alternatively, squish them down into the machine with the handle of a wooden spoon as you go. A word of warning – remove any protruding stems as they will block the machine up.
Here’s the tomato strainer in action, you can see a bunch of skins being pushed out the side and lovely tomato sauce being produced. Don’t throw the skins out straight away though – I have found a good quantity of extra tomato pulp can be produced by running the skins through the machine a second or even third time. My one criticism, at least with the machine we have, there is a bowl supplied to catch the pulp but nothing to catch the skins. You can manage with any bowl though.
The good news is that a tomato machine like this one can be found cheaply online, Amazon have the exact model here for under $50 last time I checked. I highly recommend a similar version if you’re planning on processing any amount of tomatoes.