Tomato Strainers Make Cooking Easier
If you have ever encountered a recipe which requires you to remove tomato skins and seeds by hand then you will know what a fiddly and time-consuming task this can be. Smart chefs know there is a better alternative in the form of manual and electric tomato presses. Also known as tomato strainers, these handy kitchen gadgets take all the hard work out of tasks like making your own pasta sauce from scratch by turning a tedious task into a simple one involving little more than the push of a button, or in the case of manual tomato presses, the turn of a hand crank.
Tomato presses are used for straining the juice and pulp out of a tomato, separating this desirable extract from the unwanted skin and seeds. The tomatoes are fed into the top of the tomato strainer where they are pulled into a grinding mechanism which grinds up the tomatoes and pushes them through a strainer screen. The holes in this screen are small enough to enable juice and pulp to pass through but not skin and seeds which are discarded out the side of the machine.
Tomato strainers come in two main types, which are either user powered in the form of a hand crank manual tomato press or motor powered in the form of an electric tomato press. The hand cranked versions of these tomato sauce makers are the cheaper of the two and can be bought for under $50 for a good quality machine and these are suitable for extracting the juice and pulp out of several pounds of tomatoes at a time. However, if you usually work with bushells of tomatoes when you get into your pasta sauce making, then you will undoubtedly be better off buying an electric tomato press. Hand cranking your way through many pounds of tomatoes is certainly doable but your arms will certainly appreciate a motor doing the work for you and it'll definitely be faster.
The Manual Tomato Press
Should I Buy A Hand Turned Tomato Grinder?
Hand turned tomato presses are ideal for when you have a relatively small amount of tomatoes or other fruit and vegetables to process. If you have bushel loads then you are going to be better off buying an electric food strainer instead.
This type of tomato strainer requires the user to operate the grinding machinery by turning a crank handle. You cut the tomatoes up into quarters and drop them into a hopper on top of the machine. Then, you turn the handle manually and they are ground up by the machine with the good pulp and juice being pushed through a perforated strainer whilst the unwanted seeds and skin are discarded out the other side.
It's a lot faster than peeling and seeding tomatoes by hand and like all food strainers, they can be used for more than just tomatoes which makes them one of the most versatile kitchen utensils you can buy. By switching out the strainer attachment many food strainers can be used as a tomato press, or a berry strainer to process fruit for pies, and preserves for example, or with a quick perforated strainer replacement, you can switch to an applesauce maker or even use it to make mashed potatoes with ease.
One of the best rated manual turn food strainers is the Roma Food Strainer and Sauce Maker which you can see is reviewed and can be seen in action in the video which follows below.
Editor's Choice Recommended Tomato Press - For Fruit, Vegetables, Tomatoes and More!
Watch How The Roma By Wesson Food Strainer Works
The Electric Tomato Press
Automatic Tomato Presses Save Your Arms
Manual tomato presses are great when you are making a couple of jars of pasta sauce or making pumpkin pie for your neighbors or church fete but when you have some serious processing to do, then you really should consider an automatic food strainer instead. Electric tomato presses do not feature the hand crank seen in manual machine but are instead powered by a small electric motor. This drives the tomato grinder mechanism at a faster speed than you would choose to turn a handle and isn't going to get tired either.
Electric tomato presses are however, more expensive than turn handle operated food mills but they do take a large part of the effort out of your home canning and sauce making activities as well as saving you even more time by automating the tomato milling part. If you haven't got help in the kitchen, then you have to keep stopping to turn the handle but with an electric food mill, you just drop the fruit in the top and let the machine do all the grinding and straining.
If you are a gardener who grows a lot of produce each year and spends many hours in the kitchen canning and processing those fruits and vegetables then an electric tomato press and food strainer is exactly what you need. You will be able to find anything from commercial food strainers to less powerful but more affordable electric tomato presses for the home kitchen which will shave hours off the time it takes to manually can foods and make your own jelly. One of the more highly recommended automatic food strainers for the home kitchen can be found below.
Do You Use A Food Strainer? Share Your Tips Below!
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on October 15, 2012:
We don't usually worry too much about the skin and seeds when making our tomato sauce, but if we had a larger freezer, it would be nice to make large batches and to freeze some. Then I think we would be buying a press.
AstroGremlin on October 14, 2012:
Food mills are an essential tool for making applesauce, tomato sauce, and jellies. If you are into canning, you will want one.
Jogalog on October 13, 2012:
I just leave the seeds in and skins on. If I had a huge kitchen I'd get one of these but unfortunately in a small London flat I just don't have room for one!
Alana-r on October 08, 2012:
I must get one of these, i like to make my own pasta sauce, but i usually just leave the seeds in. Thanks for sharing!
chas65 on September 23, 2012:
Never used a tomato press, but seems very useful for certain dishes.
vinodkpillai lm on September 13, 2012:
I use an electric fruit juicer for making juices from oranges and sweet limes. Never tried tomato presses. Thanks for sharing.
SayGuddaycom on September 13, 2012:
No and I cook with fresh tomatoes all the time. How did I not think of this??
Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on September 06, 2012:
I used a cone strainer and pestle when I used to can tomatoes with my grandma. Haven't done that in years though. I have no garden now and a much smaller kitchen in my apartment, so I usually just buy storebought.
Melissa Miotke from Arizona on September 04, 2012:
I feel like my family has just about everything appliance and kitchen gadget under the sun and yet we don't have a tomato press. It sounds like a helpful tool though. Blessed!
anonymous on September 03, 2012:
Just had to peek back in and see your tomato presses have become quite popular, was here last year and had not heard of them before.
Lenskeeper on September 01, 2012:
My grandmother used to make and can homemade tomato juice each season, and I've never tasted tomato juice as good as homemade. Your page made me think about her juicing all of the tomatoes by hand!
Linda Pogue from Missouri on August 31, 2012:
A food strainer would be a great help in my kitchen. Thanks for the information. Blessings!
WriterJanis2 on August 29, 2012:
How helpful these are in the kitchen.
JuserTM on August 27, 2012:
Amazing lens, well done! Thumbs up!
AstroGremlin on August 21, 2012:
I use an Oxo Food Mill. It is great for making applesauce for canning! Whatever food mill you choose, it saves a lot of work in preparing sauces from fresh fruits and vegetables.
gemjane on August 14, 2012:
I use my mother's old Foley food mill. It is hand-powered, but works well.
CoolFool83 on August 12, 2012:
Oh I need something just like this! Thank you for this helpful lense.
BabyGirl1940 on August 05, 2012:
What a good idea!
PaulWinter on July 19, 2012:
We grow tomatoes in our garden. This gadget would be useful for processing any we can't eat straight away.
Diva2Mom on July 18, 2012:
Tomato Press? Wow, I'd love to have one Nice lens!
mysweetjane lm on July 12, 2012:
I'd never heard of this before! I just use the old fashioned tedious way!
joannalynn lm on July 03, 2012:
I wonder if my KitchenAid mixer has an attachment for this? It has an attachment for every thing from pasta to sausage making, and all types of slicing. I don't use half of them.
poorwendy lm on June 29, 2012:
A tomato press could come in handy at times. I'd like to try it.
bohica96 on June 27, 2012:
Sometimes serendipity intrudes. I was looking for a hand blender to make tomato soup when you liked one of my lenses. Thanks for that and the info here.
BestRatedStuff on June 17, 2012:
Never have, these look really good.
hobbygirl98 on June 09, 2012:
@Kailua-KonaGirl: try the early girls
Little Linda Pinda from Florida on June 08, 2012:
I never saw one of these either. What a handy gadget.
Millionairemomma on May 30, 2012:
I never have but this looks useful!
KonaGirl from New York on May 01, 2012:
I use to when I was growing a huge vegetable garden. I downsized last year to an apartment and growing tomatoes in containers. I recently moved to Minnesota and am deciding as I type what will be the best for this cold climate and short growing season.
mrsclaus411 on April 24, 2012:
Yes, I do. It's very useful.
mistyblue75605 lm on April 15, 2012:
goo2eyes lm on April 01, 2012:
i should get this strainer one of these months. thank you for giving us some ideas.
Tamara14 on March 14, 2012:
It's never too much work for a nice big glass of fresh tomato juice :)
Rosaquid on March 10, 2012:
Sounds like something I should have. Thanks!
flicker lm on March 06, 2012:
I have the Roma food strainer and it's very hand to use with all kinds of vegetables.
EcoPottiJo on March 04, 2012:
Never heard of a tomato press before! Thanks for the info!
jstarley on March 03, 2012:
I never even knew such a thing existed...LOL. And I consider myself a fairly good cook. Very informative!
anonymous on March 01, 2012:
A lot of really good information especially when your preparing something and you haven't got the right ingredients, this would come in so handy
awesomedealz4u on February 21, 2012:
Nice lens! I'm going to have to put one of these on my wishlist!
Heidi from Benson, IL on February 14, 2012:
Haven't thought of it but I can certainly see where this would come in handy. We get a lot of tomatoes out of our garden every year and the hard part is thinking of stuff to do with them all.
ngio64 on February 09, 2012:
I have a big metal cone that sits over the bowl on 3 legs. You stir and press the tomatoes with a big wooden cone and scrape the pulp off the outside of the metal cone. My grandmother had one just like it that she used for canning. Thanks for bringing me some nice memories.
GreenMind Guides from USA on February 07, 2012:
pretty cool lens! I'm the cook in the family and now I need one of these.
Miha Gasper from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU on January 18, 2012:
Well, I was a fan of all sorts of kitchen gadgets for years but now I am returning to the roots. I like good sharp knife and wooden desk best... Never hear of tomato presses before. Looks like great idea for people pushed for time!
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on December 31, 2011:
I came back to bless this lens. Thank you for visiting my canning lens. It doesn't get much traffic now that it is winter.
skefflingecho from Tobermory Ontario on December 21, 2011:
Yes, and I love it! I have no idea how I used to do it all by hand!
hysongdesigns on November 14, 2011:
I have a Squeezo strainer with three screens, can handle everything from raspberries to pumpkins and anything in between. I bought it because while more expensive it is all metal and will last a few lifetimes, no plastic parts to wear out or crack.
Churchmouse LM on November 11, 2011:
yes and I worship it. Couldn't do all my sauces and soups without it.
elyria on October 21, 2011:
I am all for electric one, press a button and magic happens :)
Ben Reed from Redcar on October 20, 2011:
Looks like a useful tool. Enjoyed reading your lense.
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on October 20, 2011:
I still use the food processor and then a strainer to do my tomato juice and sauces. Sure looks like a good tool. Got my interest.
viscri8 on September 05, 2011:
wonderful tool -- I am from a country where home made preserves and other home made canning is essential for survival but also very efficient, as fruits and vegetables are plenty and cheap in season, much cheaper than in the rest of the year. Brought to the fresh produce markets in every city, they are a welcome aid to a poorly paid population by an economy that is only recovering after dsecades of communist inefficiency. The health benfits are a bonus -- lately appreciated by the people. Unfortunately, in my current country of residence canning tomatoes are pointless -- vegetables are all round the year but only in the supermarkets -- roughly the same price -- jars are very expensive as its not in demand on the market. Nevertheless, for the well meaning cook it is always a good option to prepare food from home made ingredients. Keep well.
LouisaDembul on August 21, 2011:
I love sauce made with fresh tomatoes, and I am seriously considering buying one of these. Great comparison of different ones.
Mark Falco (author) from Reno, Nevada on August 11, 2011:
@EdTecher: That's how we used to do it and it works, but ugh, it's a real pain compared to using one of these.
Heidi Reina from USA on August 11, 2011:
I have a few friends who can tomatoes. I think they use the boil-ice-peel method. I'll have to ask if they've tried a strainer. Certainly a time saver.
anonymous on August 07, 2011:
Tomato presses of strainers are new to me and what time saving devices if you have a lot of tomatoes to process.
mivvy on July 14, 2011:
Never ever heard or saw tomato presses. I just use a dood strainer
DonMcCyclist1 on July 04, 2011:
I remember my mom making apricot sauce with a Victorio strainer that looked an awful lot like the one you feature in your margin here. Didn't have that in mind when I saw the lens' title, but I'm glad I stopped by. Great topic well put together!
Jeanette from Australia on June 30, 2011:
I could see these really come in handy. I haven't usedone before but I will have to look into it.
LouisaDembul on June 29, 2011:
I wish I had one! For now, I use my daughter- she's really good at peeling tomatoes!
blanckj on June 13, 2011:
I've never used one but it does look interesting. Thanks.