what do you use to grind your tomatoes?

ncage(z5 IL)August 1, 2005

What does everyone use to grind their tomatoes for sauce? I bought a food mill from wally world but it doesn't seem to work that well. I was thinking on maybe getting a meat grinder for my kitchaid mixer..would this work good for processing tomatoes too? Some advice would be appreciated.



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readinglady(z8 OR)

I don't grind tomatoes for sauce. I cut them into big chunks, cook until most of the liquid has been exuded, pour off the majority of the liquid (can be canned like juice to add to soups, etc.) and then run the pulp through a food mill. Once the pulp is puréed I cook it down to the desired point, add appropriate additions, i.e. citric acid, herbs, salt, etc. and process.

The reason I pour off most of the liquid is because I like a thick sauce but a fresher tasting one. This way I reduce the cooking time.

The only tomatoes I grind are green ones for relish.

I hope this helps. I'm sure others on the forum will have their own suggestions as well.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 1:57AM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

I'm a little different than most in that I don't bother peeling tomatoes destined for sauce. Instead, I quarter (sometimes cut smaller) the tomatoes; remove the core and seeds, and put them in a blender.

The liquified stuff then gets boiled down to the thickness I want before canning.

No reason not to use the blender with peeled tomatoes if that's your preference, though. I think this would be less messy than running them through a meat grinder.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 7:30AM
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beckyishere(6 IL)

I also use a blender, but I remove the peels first. In fact I cooked down some the other day, then blended it.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 7:43AM
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ben_950(5b West MI)

I cut my tomatoes into chunks and use a hand cranked strainer that removes the skin, core, and seeds. The one I use is my dad's, and is over forty years old. But you can buy a new VillaWare Strainer, which looks to be the same thing, from Amazon for about $40.

I'd be interested to hear comments from others on this strainer, as I'm thinking of getting one myself.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 10:58AM
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malonanddonna(z7 NC)


I use the Fruit and Vegetable Strainer and Grinder attachment for my KitchenAid. I couldn't imagine canning without it. We jsut did 7 quarts of tomato sauce yesterday in no time. Also used it for 2 gallons of blackberries on Saturday to make seedless jam. There's no need to peel or seed the tomatoes beforehand - just run them through the machine (usually twice) and your left with all of the juice and pulp and no seeds.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 11:49AM
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I used to use the hand crank strainer. That's what my mother used when I was growing up. Now, I make at least one bushel into sauce, to save time I bought the fruit and vegtable attachment for my KA. I still have to cut the plum tomatoes in half, but it sure does save a lot of time.. Money well spent.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 2:39PM
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I use the attachment for the Kitchen Aid too. I bought it last year. It sure was a good investment.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 3:02PM
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ncage(z5 IL)

For those of you who use a blender to process their tomatoes: doesn't this add a lot of air into the sauce? I have tried to make pizza sauce before with store bought romas and a blender and there was so much air in the resulting sauce that it wasn't very good. Is there something i did wrong or is this how you like your sauce?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 4:53PM
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lexilani(Paw Paw WV)

I just started this year, the other years I've just canned plain tomatoes with tomatoe juice. Those I peel, cored and cut in half and can.
This year I've been trying to make sauce and I have peeled, cored, and put in the processor to make a sort of puree before cooking down. Seems to be working pretty good.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:46PM
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leesa_b(zn 5 NE)

I use the kitchen aid attachment, too. Really love mine. I use it for the tomatoes--I usually can a spicy V-8 juice and this makes it extremely easy. I also use it for applesauce. I just quarter the apples, cook them and run them thru this. It was a very worthwhile investment. Just make sure if you do tomatoes that you take it apart and throw it in some dishwater as soon as you are done--makes clean up a lot easier.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 5:50PM
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A question for those who have used both...Is there any appreciable difference in the consistency of the tomato puree from a Victorio/Villaware type strainer and the Kitchenaid attachment ? Also, is the Kitchenaid faster or slower than the Victorio type (normal cranking speed on the Vic). Thanks !

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 8:45PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

>doesn't this add a lot of air into the sauce? Not that I've ever noticed, particularly.

Keep in mind that the blended tomatoes are being cooked down afterwards. So any entrapped air is likely to be cooked out.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 9:20PM
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O.k. got to ask..I have a Champion Juicer a food processor and an industrial grade blender. I do have a Kitchen aide but not the attachment. Which one do I use for making Tomatoe sauce? I'm gonna have a lot of toms, soon!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 6:22PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Groundhog, some things to consider:

1. Does the juicer include pulp? I've never used one so don't know. If all you get is juice, than use that to make tomato juice.

2. Blender vs food processor. This shouldn't make too much difference. Depends a lot on the capacity of the hoppers, and the configuration of the blades. In general, I think the blender will be faster. On my Hamilton Beach processor I have to first remove the blades to empty the hopper. Then fit them back in place for the next batch. Obviously, this is not a problem with the blender.

3. Seeding. While you _can_ leave the skins on, as I do, you want to remove the seeds, because they can make the sauce bitter. So, if the quantity you'll be processing makes it economical, you might want to purchase the Kitchen Aid attachment.

The skins, btw, result in a somewhat courser sauce than you'd get, say, from a can of tomato sauce or jar of Ragu. If you want that smoothness then remove the skins. To me the trade-off is worthwhile, because there's a lot of flavor in those skins, and they help thicken up the sauce with less boiling down.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 9:42PM
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I haven't used the KitcheAid strainer attachment, but I've used a Victorio now Villaware strainer for umpteen years. It works really well for sauce (and apples if you do apple sauce or butter), but mostly I use the salsa screen and can plain chopped tomatoes and tomatoes with vegies. I heat the tomatoes until they start to soften... makes them easier to crank and most of them don't have to be cut...they squish right down. I do think if I had a KitchenAid I'd try their attachment... motorized might be nice.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:55AM
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I use a Squeezo I inherited from a friend,. Similar to Victoria/Villaware. Just quarter tomatoes, feed into hopper and turn handle. Pulp comes out the apron, seeds and skins at the end. I use this for tomato juice but could cook it down for sauce. For canning tomatoes I just peel ad put in jars. That makes good sauce too but it does include seeds..

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 1:52PM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

When you use the salsa attachment do you seed the tomatoes first? It seems like the holes on that one would be big enough for the seeds to go through.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 4:18PM
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I have the Squeezo-matic and love it. I cut the tomatoes and cook them with onion, celery, green pepper, chopped carrot, celery seed and whatever fresh veggies I have on hand. Spinach and broccoli are also good. I add hot peppers for my Snappy Tom. I cook this for about 30 minutes before putting through the squeezo. Everything goes through very easily after the cooking. The only thing coming through besides the juice are the celery seeds and it adds a wonderful flavor. Plus salt and lemon juice. I pressure can this.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 7:24PM
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Tommyc(Mich 5-6)

I use the blender... Then Run them through the de-seeder I bought from Williams Sonoma. After that I take the skins and pulverize them in the blender till they turn into paste. Great thickener them skins.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 7:49PM
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Melly, the seeds do come through with the salsa screen, but that's OK with me for crushed tomatoes. If I want a nice smooth sauce I use the finer screen and it puts the seeds out with the skins and cores.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 8:14PM
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ncage(z5 IL)

Well guys/gals i started canning this week. My procedure was a little different than everyone elses in here. I used regular tomatoes that the "roma" type because i wanted the "roma" types for canned whole tomatoes. I was thinking back to what i usually use for canning..and i usally go with crushed tomatoes so why not make crushed tomatoes. I heated a big thing of bowling water. Threw the tomatoes in there for 60 seconds. Put them into cold water after that. I removed the seeds and the core. I then put a small part of the tomatoes into a baking dish and crushed them with a potato masher. I then cut up the rest of the tomatoes and threw them in. I added a little salt & pepper. I put them into a 450 oven for an hour and it made a perfect consistency. The crushed tomatoes were very good (maybe a little to peppery but not bad). I left the seeds in the tomatoes. I think the seeds give your finished product a nice rustic look which i like. The one thing i will change next time is i will use pint jars rather than quart. After i was done i had only had a one quart jar full with a little left over. Usually when i am going to make something its usually the quantity where quart would be way to much. Putting them in pint jars would have been much better. It wasn't a loss though because i was also canning whole tomatoes.

I have one of those hand crank tomato things but i really don't like it use it that much. It does a good job with the sauce but its quite messy and a hastle to use. Maybe the kitchenaid thing would work good that everyone is talking about..or maybe one time i will try my blender.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 2:44PM
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Are you going to use your Champion? My Mom gave me one and I have been wondering about using it for tomatoes. I've never used it and don't know what to expect.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 5:21PM
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plantersvilletx(z8 TX)

I use both a Kitchen Aide chopper which really does some fine chopping and I use a food strainer and sauce maker made by VICTORIO BACK TO BASICS. You can buy the kit or just buy single items you need. This thing really makes great tomato juice.
Hope this helps
Chuck B

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 8:07PM
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katykelly- Used the champion juicer last year and made 28qts apple juice!! The tomatoe juice I made was my sisters V8 style. The mistake I made-I put all veges/toms thru raw and then cooked. The green pepper-taste after I canned (pressure) was overpowering. No one drank it. BUT it makes a great soup base. I was trying to figure out how to do it right This thread has been informative. I think I'll try the blender. I make alot of pasta sauce and freeze each year.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 9:06PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

I use a slightly different method. I cut out the stem part and then squeeze the tomato over a bowl. That gets much of the liquid and seeds out. Then I roughly chop or whup the tomatoes in the food processor briefly. The liquid I strain to make tomato juice. The tomatoes are cooked down to make sauce, but it doesn't take very long because I already removed much of the liquid. That makes them more tomato-y.

Years ago we used to peel the tomatoes, but there doesn't seem to be any point to that. I don't mind some seeds, either. Depends if you are going for a puree type thing or you like chunky, I guess. My method was arrived at both because I like the chunky tomato sauce, and I am lazy, and I hate to waste anything. Only some seeds get thrown out (composted) in mine. The food processor chops more than whips, so air getting mixed in isn't an issue.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 1:17AM
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hey groundhog...(sis)...look at the recipe again....it says 2-1/2 oz green pepper juice or about one large pepper (for 22 lbs of tomatoes). When you make this recipe its important to follow the ounces of other juices to tomato (cooked down and sieved) ratio. Sometimes the peppers can be stronger tasting if so, adjust.
I have 2 jars of a "special" batch left from last year that I have been saving. Somehow we got more onion and less parsley in this one (probably the end batch). Its the best one. I should re-adjust the recipe for you. I haven't been on this forum much this year as I don't have a garden (moving) I've missed it!
Anyway the fun part of a recipe is to play around with it to suit your tastes. Just remember the ratio of juice to pounds of tomatoes and you should be alright.

we should do a coffee chat...its been awhile!
signed, kayrae or sometimes known as groundhog2

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 10:49PM
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afeisty1(St. Louis)

This year I borrowed a Jack LaLane (sp?) juicer. In fact, I used it to grind up the veggies for Katie's roasted garlic tomato soup. Also ran tomatoes thru it for V8 juice. It cuts the time significantly and I see them now for around a hundred bucks. I may need to invest in my own. Cleans up easy or gets tossed in the dishwasher if it's going to be ran right away.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 12:01PM
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athagan(z9a N/C Fl)

I freeze them whole, thaw, then dump them into my Victorio and crank them out. Freezing and thawing makes them mush and very easy to run through the strainer.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 12:25PM
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theisler(z5 IL)

For the people using the KitchenAid, is the puree too fine for salsa? Or, is the a way to make it more coarse, like another screen or just using the grinder?

I have about 50 pounds of tomatoes sitting on my counter right now and I want to make lots of salsa, spaghetti sauce, etc. and I need to buy something to help (either the KitchenAid or the Victorio)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 10:25AM
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gamecock_girl(7 ~ Raleigh, NC)

I have a KA and food grinder attachment already, so I'm trying to decide whether it would be more economical/beneficial for me to get the KA strainer attachment over the Villaware. I've read all threads that mention the two and really can't see a big difference for what I would be using them to do.

I am a fan of chunky tomato sauces, salsas and apple sauce. I'm thinking that neither of these is going to accomplish that AND get the seeds out, so I'm going to have to de-seed and hand chop for the chunky parts. I am also not going to be making jam for people that have to have all seeds removed from the jam. Therefore, really for me as a small time canner, I think going w/ the strainer attachment is a fine choice. However, I just wanted to see if anyone has a different opinion.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 12:41PM
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gamecock girl, I also like chunky salsa. I don't have a KA, but I do have an old Squeezo, which would translate into today's Victorio or VillaWare strainer.

It definitely squashes the tomatoes up too much for chunky salsa. Nothing works as well as chopping the tomatoes by hand. I dunk them into boiling water, cool in cold water, peel and cut in half. I take my thumb and scoop out the seeds and "goo", then chop the remaining meaty part of the tomato half into three or four pieces. It's the only way to make the salsa in the consistency I like.

If you want taco sauce, the strainers work fine for that, but it's definitely a sauce, a thick puree.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 1:37PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The Villaware unit has four different hole sized screens. The biggest are about 3/16 inch holes and the finest is smaller than raspberry seeds. These other screens are not offered with the KA, nor can the KA unit handle grape seeds. The Villaware has a shorter auger specifically for passing the large grape seeds out the end of the cone strainer. I use the Villaware for chunky tomatoes (salsa), as well as the fine sieve for squeezing the juice out of raspberries. The best thing is, that no matter what the size of the food, skins don't seem to get into the strained liquids Pumpkin, and apple sauce is also great with these different sieves.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 5:55PM
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mojogardener(z6a / KS)

For salsa, we use an OLD,OLD,OLD time french fry potato cutter thingy we found in a box of junk at a garage sale. Fifty cents and we have our salsa chunked up just the way we like it. We used to use the KA and it works great,but this thing is kind of cool, throw a bunch of toms in front of the kids,have them wash their hands,and let them contribute. Awesome!!!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 6:54PM
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tietie(z7b / 8 nc)

someone last year mentioned they used a box grater. So I tried it. Basically you half the tom and scoop out the seeds and goo, then grate over a collander so the excess liquid drains off and the skins are left in your hand. This works surprisingly well for smooth sauce.

This year I'm looking try something faster. When tomatoes are comming on by the wheelbarrow full, power tools are needed. I'm on the fence about the KA and the Villaware. I don't own a KA so it would be some bucks to purchase the unit and the attachments. I like that the villaware has multiple screens but not really interested in cranking that thing for hours. Any additional recommendations?


    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 7:28PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The Villaware unit can be MOTORIZED! I know, because mine is now. Its the same motor unit used by many pasta machines as well. Its a bit awkward to set up, but once in place and plugged in, you can get tomatoes by the bushel though it in very short time. I run the waste through a second time too and not a single skin gets through. The wine hobby store near here has a tomato strainer similar to the Villaware with an 8 inch long conical strainer, and a big heavy duty motor capable of doing a bushel in about 5 minutes, now THATS fast!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 5:48PM
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ginamarina(z4/5 WI)

make sure to check ebay for good deals on squeezos or squeezo knockoffs (and search with goofy spellings also) - I got mine for about $6 a couple years ago... priceless! I just want to know how the salsa screens work, as I can only use so much tomato puree... and I overplanted once again this year :)


    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 2:51PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The Salsa screen for the VIllaware has holes about 3/16 to 1/4 inch in diameter. Granted, these are small and so you must decide if its too fine. If it is, you can do most in that sized screen and then cut up a few tomatoes to a larger dice size and mix them in. The screens/strainers help to keep out the skins no matter what size screen you use. Salsa has a lot of bits in it, but tomato skins aren't one of my favorites.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 9:12AM
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This year we canned 67 quarts of tomato juice. We used the blender and then ran the juice through an old fashioned Foley Food Mill to remove the seeds. It did fine.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 12:29PM
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