I remember growing up and my step-mother Patricia clamping a meat grinder to the counter and grinding out sausage. I loved the simplicity of it. No electricity needed. Develops muscles as a bonus. So last year when my friend Elizabeth and I were planning to make applesauce, my mind immediately conjured up the grinder of my childhood as a perfect applesauce-making apparatus. But when I searched the local hardware store, I came up empty. I found a food mill but, after putting it together, it was lame in comparison. I did not use it and later returned it to the store. With no time to search further, we opted to use Elizabeth’s Vitamix that came close to burning up after hours of canning.
So, fast forward a year. I was knee deep in tomatoes from the community garden plot and my home garden. As luck would have it, my friend Teuta and I were waltzing through my favorite mall (Tyson’s Corner Mall in Virginia) and wandered into the Williams Sonoma kitchen store. Well, what did we see??? An Italian Tomato Press. Oh, it was sooo beautiful! It reminded me of the grinder of my childhood. Okay, so it wasn’t a sausage grinder. But it looked just like one, all metal and shiny. And it was based on the same premise: dump in product, turn handle and stuff squeezes out. I was hooked. But they were out. Big sigh.
But I was not deterred.This is the age of internet, you know. So I pulled out my computer and ordered one. It arrived. I was in heaven. And as they say, the rest is history. Here is how it went down:
I wanted to can tomato puree. I enlisted Calvin who worked with Patrick to put it together. After a few mis-steps, it was ready for action. (The instructions were made in Italy, and well…let’s just say they were less than accurate. But hey, that is what I LOVE about Italy.) I removed the skins from the tomatoes by boiling them for a few minutes, plunging them in ice water and the skins nearly slipped off, with a bit of help from me. Then I turned them over to Calvin and the Press.
Then we had Tomato Puree!