Sunday, 3 August 2014

Passata en masse

The Thermy passata worked really well!   We divided it into three. One lot went in the feezer, one lot was used with pasta, and the third lot was used with meatballs and rice.

MH and  I were discussing whether, for the mass production we do,  it was better to make it in small batches in Thermy or to oven roast and then use the passata machine.  He grows kilos and kilos and kilos of tomatoes, paste varieties, specifically so we can make our own delicious tomato sauce. Home grown tomatoes have all that gorgeous flavour....

We speculated that there are advantages and disadvantages to both theThermy method and our own hand made method.

We decided to try Thermy for a bit of batch passata-ing today. We used the Tomato Sauce recipe in My Way of Cooking as a base.

The main downside for Thermy is that it can really only deal with 1kg of tomatoes at a time.  However, it processes the tomato skins and pips resulting in a thicker sauce (and there is less washing up).

Usually we (well, MH actually, I just act as sous chef and washer upper) would work with 3-5kg of tomatoes in one go.   Today, MH decided to try working with 3kg of tomatoes in 3 batches in Thermy. 

For the Oven method, these would be cut and placed on three enormous baking trays, each of which takes up the full width and depth of the oven (the trays replace the shelves).

Cutting time was slightly quicker with Thermy, because we didn't need to arrange the tomatoes on the trays.  The garlic didn't need as much preparation either.  We could also get the second bowl ready while the first was cooking

Cooking time - our non-Thermy method is faster on the cooking part. We had to do 3 x half hours with Thermy, and we would probably have spent 45 minutes with the oven.

Processing time - a minute in Thermy, much longer by hand.  Even though we had to do the processing 3 times (once for each bowl), it was much faster.

Preserving time - with Thermy, we had to reheat the tomatoes. WIth the hand method, they were already hot and ready to go into jars for canning.  The rest of the preserving time is the same for both,

Yield Even though Thermy does not discard the skins, the end product is much thicker and therefore the yield is lower.  HOWEVER, unless we're making chilli or something which calls for a tin of tomatoes,  we usually reduce the sauce to make it thicker anyway. This means there is an additional time saving for Thermy here, because the reduction time at the point of using the sauce will be less with the Thermy-fied tomatoes.

Cleaning up  - Thermy wins hands down.  2 Thermy bowls, which are fairly small and can fit in to the dishwasher together, plus one large saucepan (from heating up).    When we do this by hand, I have 3 huge baking trays to clean,  plus the passata machine,  plus the bowl which holds the passata-ed tomatoes, plus the bowl which holds the discarded skins and pips.    I also have to give the oven sides and inside door a good wipe down.

On the prep and cleaning, I think Thermy comes out on top. The time-and-effort saving on this outweighs the fact that we had to do 3 batches.

Truth be told, I'm a little sad that it makes the tomato transformation process a bit more of a mechanical thing rather than a hand-made labour of love.      However, I love that we are making good use of our Thermy investment.   

And it does still taste really good.

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