Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pear Heaven and the Squeezo Tomato Press

My partner in all things project oriented steered us to a home with a massive pear tree loaded with the fruit and absolutely perfect in ripeness. Getting them out of the tree was a trick but with a sturdy ladder, anything is possible. I stayed on the ground and threw helpful suggestions, such as "Don't Fall!!!" while she stretched and reached beyond her fingertips for as many as we could carry off.

That amounted to approximately 60 lbs worth. Whoo-Hoo indeed.

After peeling a sinkload, I said, "Hey, do you have a juicer? We could juice this and boil into a concentrate!" And we did!

I don't know what the final tally ended up being but we got pear butter, pearsauce,brandied pears and this concentrate. I drove off with 2 jars of concentrate, 3 jars of butter and 2 jars of brandied pears. So cool!

The weather has been remarkably cool as well today, with a nice breeze. It's hard to accept that this is SE LA in mid August.

With this exceptional climate, I sashayed over to the back plot and found another pile of butternuts ready to harvest. I have lost count now of the total but I can safely say I have picked at least 80. From 5 plants. I've given probably a third of this away. But before we left for the family reunion, I baked one into a pie using a Better Homes recipe for pumpkin pie and it was terrific! I always double up on the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg anyway and a dash of salt.

It occurs to me that after the travails of the Squeezo Press... oh.... what? I didn't mention travails?

When I was up to my gills and out of freezer space, John ordered this device. Paid extra for Rush Delivery. The week before the 4th of July. It arrived in Dallas and SAT THERE from Thursday noon. It COULD have come on time Friday if it hadn't SAT IN DALLAS over the holiday weekend but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

So when it arrived I was all excited and John takes it out of the box and goes to assemble it and the tray does not go into the drilled hole. The hole is teardrop shaped! The metal dowel is round. It doesn't fit!!!!! So I called to explain the situation and the aggravation and they send out another tray and arm, THAT TOOK another week!!!!!!

It fit and we processed tomatoes like nobody's business but what a pain in the neck! 2 and a half weeks and we PAID for the pleasure!

So the Squeezo Tomato Press is good. The company, (which was not directly form the Squeezo Company. Let me stress this), we purchased it from was not so good and the Squeezo People were helpful and understanding of the situation. I get that it is NOT their problem that FEDEX dropped the ball but 2 1/2 weeks, people? All because the postage was slow and the device faulty. Quality uncontrolled.

Now to the press itself: It is very good and I again stress this because it is NOT cheap. I wanted a press that was going to hold up for years, not just a few seasons. It is well-made and the screens (I got all three) are top quality. They fit the handle apparatus perfectly and the gaskets keep everything flowing in the right direction. I found I could resqueeze the pulp a few more times to get more of the tomato meat out of the fruit. (Note to self: let them fully thaw. Ice crystals don't like to be mashed thru a sieve) My arms never tired of the cranking and clean-up was a breeze.

You KNOW that is important because the likelihood of ever dragging it out again is higher if it doesn't take more time to clean than it does to use. Am I right? Yes, I am right!

The press comes with a generic brush to help get the pulp from the holes in the screen. I am fairly certain the screens are stainless steel and the arm is heavy gauge metal. The tray the pulp slides down on is lightweight aluminum and the hopper is quite large and fits very nicely. As I wrote, we've processed many tomatoes, now, in short order and I really am excited about next year.

I was generally cheesed off at the fact it took so long to FIND and then ARRIVE and I lost tomatoes because I simply ran out space. And time. Like in a bad Star Trek episode.

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