Author Topic: Making your own vacuum pack tomatoes  (Read 2535 times)

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Offline DNA Dan

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Making your own vacuum pack tomatoes
« on: July 28, 2006, 04:54:08 PM »
I currently process about 250 pounds of tomatos a year for family and friends. This is great stuff for pastas, but lacks the "sticking" properties of a concentrated sauce to be used on pizza. Also, it's typically cooked before I can it.

What I would like to do is setup a vacuum "fresh pack" apparatus that will allow me to evaporate off the water at a lower temperature. I currently have the 2 pots to process about 80 and 60 quarts, but I want to put a seal on this pot, then pull a vacuum on it to reduce the boiling temp., thus preserving freshness while concentrating the product.

My question is this: What type of vacuum pump can I safely use? I know I need a back flow prevention device and probably a water trap, but beyond that, are there certain FOOD specifications that the vacuum pump needs to have? I don't was to risk getting anything toxic in the final sauce.

Where would I find such a pump? Thanks -D


Offline tonymark

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Re: Making your own vacuum pack tomatoes
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2006, 10:17:01 PM »
250 LBS,   WOW!!!

You must have a lot of free time.  Anyway,  I have been concentrating my tomatoes (salting and straining liquid) and then freezing in 3-4 pizza portions.  After concentrating I add garden fresh Basil and minced garlic.  Not only am I preserving the tomatoes, but also the basil.  This is probably the best method if you and your relatives have freezer space.  If the power is out for too long, I could suffer great loses.

Home canned tomatoes are too cooked for pizza, but are great for pasta sauce.

I would use a pressure canner for creating a sealed pot.  I thing that most any vacuum pump should work and the back flow prevention device and water trap are on the right path.  If you want to spend some money, look into buying one of those home medical vacuum pumps that people use after surgery to remove puss.

Good luck,
TM
Making Pizza is not cooking, it is Performance Art!

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Making your own vacuum pack tomatoes
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2006, 12:29:36 PM »
When salting your tomatoes to remove the water, do you find the added salt really departs from the tomato flavor? Also how long do you drain them? I assume you use a strainer lined with cheese cloth or something similar?

A vacuum pump to suck out puss? Man o man that sounds nasty. But you are right, if it's good for that, it would be safe to use for a food product. I have been looking extensively on the internet for a small vacuum setup but all I can find are commercial ones. I think this runs along the lines of a "distillation apparatus" thus they are illegal for sale. I know some alcohols need to be distilled at lower temps when condensed.

Offline tonymark

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Re: Making your own vacuum pack tomatoes
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 02:10:50 PM »
When salting your tomatoes to remove the water, do you find the added salt really departs from the tomato flavor? Also how long do you drain them? I assume you use a strainer lined with cheese cloth or something similar?

I find the salt improves upon the tomato flavor.  I have tried some strained unsalted ones on a pizza and I just couldn't taste the fresh tomato flavor.  The salt also darkens the shade of red.  It is really strange how the color of the salted and unsalted tomatoes differ.  Also, a good bit of the salt drains out into the "tomato water".

For straining I use a really fine strainer that came with a juicer.  All but the 1st tsp of drained liquid is slightly opaque with no red tint.

TM
Making Pizza is not cooking, it is Performance Art!