There’s always a first time for Passata…

And I think all in all, it went pretty well. Ever since the gazillions of tomato plants (in numerous heritage varieties) were planted in the Milkwood Market Garden, we’ve been waiting for this great day. The inaugural squishing of the harvest.

And check out our new, fancy-pants passata machine! In the spirit of multi-function, it also transforms into a meat mincer and a juicer, so we can harvest every which way. And harvest we will…

Rose, nearly beside herself with the glory of passata

This was admittedly a test run of the passata machine… we’re about a week off from coming into full-blown tomato harvest, which should continue for a month or so.

We expect this machine to get quite a workout over the coming months, between making passata by the truckload, juicing tonnes of apples from the little orchard down the road we’ve made friends with, and, of course, mincing meat in the interests of sausage. Mmmm sausage.

The passata machine was a labor of love in terms of research to choose which model to buy – we asked around, we rung up tomato growers, we canvassed all the passata-making Nonnas we knew.

We weighed up hand-cranked versus mechanised. Cheap versus expensive. 1/3 horsepower motors vs 1 horse power motors. Single use vs multifunctional. And all this went on for months.

In the end, we settled on a machine that could do three of the many things we need done during harvest: make large quantities of passata, juice a great deal of fruit (mostly apples) and mince meat. All these tasks need to be done on a large-ish scale here at Milkwood Farm, so we needed something with a lot of grunt.

The machine we ended up with is a 1 horsepower Fabio Leonardi MR9, with both tomato crusher and mincer attachments. It is one serious machine. It’s also much bigger than I expected (not sure why i though it would be small, but i did). And it works a treat.

My plan with this machine was basically ‘get it right the first time’ and get something that can be used by us and whoever else we know in our area that needs to mince or squish something, for decades into the future.

I have been told of people that have been using these machines for 30 years, and they’re still going strong. And I know it will pay for itself within a year or two in terms of allowing us to process a huge quantity of organic produce to then be preserved and eaten year round.

Anyway. We’ll let you know how it goes. But we’re pretty happy with it so far!

We got the passata machine online from Bake and Brew (based in Adelaide), who stock lots of the Leonardi stuff. They also sell 1/2 hp and 1/4 hp models, and they were great to deal with and knew all the answers to my questions. Yay for them.

Olivier (incidentally whose Nonna recommended a Leonardi passata maker) with about to be planted tomato, November 2011

Tomatoes in, ready to be mulched

Mid December 2011

Passata!

(Just a note on the passata machine + Bake and Brew shop: we didn’t receive a kickback  for this purchase in any way, we just like it, and wanted to share what we’ve learned.)

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16 Comments

  1. Posted January 27, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yummy indeed! x

  2. dixiebelle
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    We bought a Squeezo, can’t wait to use it again this year, but right now all my ripe tomatoes are going into Lacto-Fermented Salsa!

    http://eatatdixiebelles.blogspot.com/2011/02/squeeze-me.html

  3. Posted January 27, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow tomato seed, is it one variety or lucky dip heritage seed?

  4. Posted January 27, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent and thanks for the tips…..i just collected a couple of kilos of over ripe heirloom tomatoes from the foodconnect warehouse and are making my own passata to preserve too….

  5. Phoebe
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    I would love to see more of the passata making process.

    *Do you just wash the tomatoes and put them straight in the machine?
    *What happens after the the tomatoes have been through the machine, are they cooked before bottling?
    *the bottling process.

    thanks!

    • Posted January 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      hey Phoebe – we’ll be posting photos + how-tos of the whole process soon – just wasn’t thorough enough with the camera this day :)

  6. Leonie
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Its a shame you feel you need to make the comment about the kickback, personally from reading your blog I would assume you must be about the most sincere people in the world, and if not, close to it

    • Posted January 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Aw thanks Leonie, – no it’s just that I’ve not held forth about the awesomeness of a particular ‘thing’ before, so thought I better be clear it wasn’t coming from an enhanced perspective, if you know what i mean…

  7. Posted January 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wonderful, can’t wait to see what delicious eats and drinks you make with it!

  8. Posted January 28, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    Good on you! I canned mine, pressure canned! Still edible after four years! (if done properly, including a dash of acorbic acid) Fed a whole church one Sunday! Even gave to the hungry, they returned ever bottle, smooth bottle-lip intact and clean!
    I propose you try sauerkraut – I made it in food grade pails discarded from local stores, restaurants – pierced the plastic lids, inserted wine-bubblers! put plastic food grade screens (drilled holes in spare lids) with clean stones on top of cabbage to keep it immersed – they bubble away for a long time, no skimming needed! feeds many hungry people with good food fast ! Goes well with pork of all sorts, even hot dogs. gives the people needed nutrients! Cheap too! Food bank distributes the tubs into smaller containers, offer a trial taste, stuff went like wild fire! pickles too! Same story! Do down dills, you’ll see!
    Don’t forget to compost the rejected tomato skins – ferments into very rich compost very fast.
    Thank You for being here on the net. I enjoy your site very much

  9. Charles
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great crop of tomatoes and it looks like a machine that will be very useful. What area of tomatoes do you have there ?

    It is also so good to see people being honest about what they promote (your note at the end Kirsten). It is a real plus that you have actually made a comment that you do not have a conflict of interest. Sincerity and a high standard of ethics is a wonderful thing to behold.

    This is in striking contrast to another site of which I am aware, where conflict of interest or otherwise is never declared and readers are often encouraged to purchase things/services that are not necessarily going to be in their best interests.

    I also enjoy your site very much. Thank you.

  10. Speedy
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 1:46 am | Permalink | Reply

    I also use an almost identical machine to this but a hand cranked one
    It’s great to use and it can process a lot in a short time.
    A mate of mine got it for $15 at a garage sale, so it’s paid for itself many times over and will continue to do so for many years yet.

    Cut up and cook the tomatos in a large pot (I use cut down Beer kegs)
    Then pass through the machine, running the skins through a couple of times to extract as much pulp, juice and colour from them as possible.

    then allow the pulp to stand in a muslin lined colander (a big one) to allow the thin, clearish juice to strain through and then bottle the pulp at whatever stage of ‘thickness’ you want.
    Straining like that lessens the need for thickening/reducing by boiling.

    Bottle into beer bottles with a 1/2-1 tspn of both salt and sugar and a basil leaf.
    then sterilize in the bottles.
    or into Fowlers Vacola jars and sterilize.
    1 1/2 litre wide mouth, screw top fruit juice jars work well to if you have them.

    Bottle the clear juice to be used as a base for vege stock, soups etc. (natural glutamate source is a good flavour enhancer) , then sterilize.
    .
    Some juice can be added back to the Passata before bottling if it is too thick.

    The thick passata can be spread thinly on a smooth clean surface to be dried in the sun to make tomato paste , but that requires a bit more attention to detail.

    I’ve just done 20kg of tomato sauce (for pies and sausage rolls etc.) this weekend.
    I’ll be doing about 200kg for passata hopefully next week… last years was used up a bit early. The last jar was emptied about a month ago.

  11. Liesel
    Posted February 4, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    What do you do to prevent fruit fly? they are the bane of my tomato-growing efforts.

  12. Tony
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 5:12 am | Permalink | Reply

    how’s the Fabio Leonardi holding up? I’m interested in buying the same machine.
    How heavy is the machine/motor itself, is it easy to carry.
    Thanks
    Tony

    • Posted September 1, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink | Reply

      It’s holding up great. Not the lightest thing on earth, but totally worth it. It will see us out, I’m sure!

4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] There’s always a first time for passata [...]

  2. [...] a surprisingly meaty mushroom which smells fantastic. We already had a lasagna feast (with Milkwood passata) planned for dinner, so we decided to dry these mushrooms to concentrate their flavor, and save [...]

  3. [...] the harvesting and processing end, we think we might be moving on from mass passata land. Having worked our way through the winter and spring stores of passata, sugo and diced tomatoes, [...]

  4. [...] year, it’s passata, diced tomatoes and roast tomatoes in the vacola preserving jars. Experiments are afoot for [...]

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