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Getting the (tomato) juice out

The OMRA vegetable mill turns tomatoes and other fruits into a smooth puree in a few seconds.

Jennifer Lowell
Jenn Lowell spent her time at the University of Colorado building robots and other toys before earning her graduate degree in mechatronics and mechanical engineering. She is a self-proclaimed lover of anything that runs off of electricity and has moving parts or motors. Currently pulling double-duty as a high school science teacher and freelance blogger, she has free time seldom enough to deeply appreciate the modern technological conveniences that give her more of it. She is a long-time recreational blogger currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY.
Jennifer Lowell
2 min read
OK, so I make it a point to blog about things that I think are cool, interesting, and in general, good ideas. But a recent battle with a bunch of tomatoes left me with a bad attitude toward them. When I saw the OMRA tomato machine while surfing the Web recently, I had to give it a few minutes in the spotlight. This past weekend I made gazpacho. For those of you who've never tried it, it's a cold soup that resembles salsa, but for one reason or another, takes about four hours longer to make. I had never tried gazpacho, and so I decided that the first day of summer hotter than 90 degrees was a perfect time to learn. The recipe I found called for 3 pounds of tomatoes, blanched, peeled, cored, deseeded, strained, and juiced. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to recipes, and so the alternative of buying a can of prepeeled tomatoes was out of the question.

I don't know if you've ever put a tomato through this six-stage gauntlet, but after an hour I began to feel like it was no longer worth it. Don't get me wrong, the gazpacho was delicious, but after finishing it, I was convinced that I would never make it again.

Apparently, I'm not alone. Tomato peeling is a tough enough job that OMRA decided at some point to provide us with a device that makes peeling tomatoes a matter of a few seconds. Sure, the cheapest model cost about $329 and it's really geared toward commercial customers and home canners, but it peels up to 400 pounds of the plump pomodoros in an hour (compared with my track record of three per hour), and it also works on peaches, apples, pumpkins, and berries. Fruit going into the top of the mill comes out on bottom as a silky smooth puree that's perfect for sauces, soups, or jams and jellies.

I'm not one to buy gadgets out of laziness, but every once in a while, I come across a job that's just annoying enough to make me consider it. Tomato peeling is definitely one of them, and if you're willing to fork out the cash for my next birthday, I'll be sure to repay you with some gazpacho. See a video of the tomato machine at work here.