Thursday, October 14, 2010

Squeezo Strainer

People would Facebook or tell me they canned 25 quarts of tomato sauce one day. And I would think, "How can they possibly get that much done in one day?" After a full day of work I would end up with a few quarts. It took forever to do the blanching, chilling, peeling, and seeding required!

Then someone told me about the greatest canning appliance ever... the Squeezo Strainer. I researched it, read reviews, and looked at the history:


The Original All Metal Squeezo Strainer was designed in the early 1900’s by a young die maker from the Abruzzi region of Italy. When he came to America in 1907, he brought his design with him. After years of trying to find a manufacturer willing to take on the project, he finally built a plant in his backyard and, using an old belt-driven steam engine, began to manufacture and sell the first Squeezo Strainers with the help of his wife and three children.

That was 1919. Slowly, but surely, the Squeezo built a reputation until, by the thirties, it had become a favorite in Italian-American kitchens for making wonderful old-country tomato sauce and purees. Others heard about it, and started using it for home canning.

The same family -- two entire generations -- made the Squeezo for nearly 60 years, constantly upgrading production and quality control as more and more Squeezos found their way into kitchens across the country. There are still plenty of old Squeezos out there hard at work! But in 1978 misfortune struck; the factory in McKeesport, Pennsylvania was destroyed by fire. For various reasons, the family was unable to rebuild the factory – they had to sell the business. Garden Way, then located in Troy, New York, was a natural choice as a buyer as they had already been selling Squeezos successfully for several years. When Garden Way went out of business, Lemra Products took over manufacturing the Squeezo with the same commitment as the original manufacturers.

In 2006, Best Products took over manufacturing the Squeezo because the owner has been selling and working with the Squeezo for 15 years. Best Products is committed to maintaining old-fashioned American quality standards -- which means it will continue to be manufactured in the United States. Best Products also recognizes that the design has been perfected over the past 90 years and there is no reason to change it.


Boy, every thing I found about this product sounded great. To buy it new cost almost $200, so I looked for it on eBay, bid on a couple and lost them, and finally won a bid. I couldn't wait for it to come in the mail!




After a quick wash, it went together lickity split:




I threw a pile of washed whole Roma tomatoes into it and started cranking. The unit comes with a wooden plunger that you use to push the tomatoes down into the screw part. I didn't have to core or peel the tomatoes, but did find that it was easier if I cut the tomatoes in half. That way they wouldn't explode when I mushed them!

The Squeezo Strainer is very heavy duty and in no time I had sauce coming out one side and the skin and seeds cranking out the other side.



And quicker yet I had big pots of tomato sauce boiling down on the stove!




I highly recommend this product. There are three screens that can be purchased for it - a berry screen, a tomato screen, and a pumpkin screen.

The one I bought came with a berry screen and pumpkin screen. I used the pumpkin screen to process my tomatoes and it worked beautifully. I found that I would pull out more sauce and pulp if I dumped the resulting skin/seed mix back into the hopper and ran it through one more time - something the directions advised - but said may not be necessary. Maybe if I were using a tomato screen the second run through would not have been needed.


Now I look forward to - rather than dread - future tomato processing. And the kids think it's great fun!

For more information or if you want to buy a new Squeezo Strainer:

4 comments:

  1. Next year I am going to have to donate a batch of berries to see how it works!

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  2. Tadd - I'll be using it to process elderberries when I get a chance (they're in the freezer now - thank you for that tip!). I'll let you know how it works.

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  3. Hellooooo! This is Granny, from Best Products (All Seasons Homestead Helpers, in VT) - Was delighted to find your article. Squeezos come and Squeezos go, but wherever they go, they always seem to change hands and keep the tradition alive. Thank you for sharing this. ~ Granny

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