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Jul 30, 2008 02:13 PM

Procedure for tomatoes thru food mill?

No instructions with my new frieling food mill! How do I prep fresh whole tomatoes for the mill? Do I blanche to loosen the skin? Should I chop them first? Help!!

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  1. What are you trying to make? I've never attempted to simply puree fresh tomatoes, the mill is my last step after the tomatoes have cooked down a bit. You can either roast them in the oven until they soften or cook them on the stove until they break down a bit. Depending on the ripeness of the tomato (or if you're using lesser-quality tomatoes which tend to have very tough flesh) you're going to test the limits of the mill if you don't "cook" them somewhat.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      You don't need to blanch and peel because the mill will take off the skin and not allow it through, along with the seeds. Mills aren't very complicated but can take a little getting used to. Depending on how smooth you want your end product, you would choose the different screens that should have come with your mill.

      1. re: ferret

        I'm trying to prep our garden tomatoes for freezing. Can you describe how you cook down your tomatoes? I blanched mine, cored them, removed the skin and then broke them apart and cooked them for an hour. Then I cooled the sauce and used the mill. The result was more like juice or soup. Is this what I should expect ? Thanks for your help. P.S. I was exhaused! There must be an easier way.

        1. re: LillianJean

          Yes, this is what you can expect, pretty much. How liquid the tomato puree ends up depends on the moisture level in the tomatoes you have. In general, plum or roma tomatoes will be somewhat more meaty so will yield a thicker puree. But if you want the puree to be even thicker than that, you'll have to boil it down to evaporate some of the water.

          A food mill is not the ideal thing to do what you want to do. To process a whack of tomatoes, you should have one of those Presto grinder-type thingies. It's like a meat grinder into which you toss the tomatoes - cooked or not - and turn a crank. The gizmo separates the skins and seeds from the pulp. It's worth getting if you think you'll be doing a lot of tomato squishing.

          1. re: LillianJean

            An Italian friend of mine from Woodland with lots of tomatoes (!) used to just freeze some of his fresh tomatoes whole when he got tired of using your technique. Then when ready to use, he would blanch the frozen tomatoes for 10-20 seconds, peel, core, and then cook them for sauce, soup, or with other veggie dishes. Of course, this is not very compact so you'll need plenty of freezer space!

            When I was putting up tomato sauce, I cored and quartered the ripe, ripe tomatoes to make my sauce -- then used the food mill's coarse plate to separate out the skins and seeds.

        2. Marcella Hazan suggests cutting the tomatoes in half from stem to blossom end. Then cook over medium for ten minutes. Using the screen with the largest holes run them through the mill. After that she proceeds with the recipe. Sounds like your tomatoes did not reduce enough. Cook them longer next time.

          1. I prefer to can rather than freeze tomatoes, but if I was going to freeze some, I would simply blanch (or lightly roast) them and remove the skins, crush or coarsely chop them, drain a bit, then freeze. That way you can prepare them whatever way you want when you defrost them. I tried putting tomatoes through a food mill once. The seeds and skins from a single tomato clogged the thing completely.