A food strainer is a helpful tool for processing fresh fruits and vegetables into jam, jellies, sauce, juice, or soup. It makes short work of separating the seeds and skin from the desired juice and pulp.
Inspect the food strainer to make sure the parts are clean and undamaged, especially if it has been in storage.
Assemble the food strainer. The featured vintage food strainer assembles by gently squeezing while inserting the legs firmly into the brackets.
Place the sieve into the bracket, making sure all parts are stable.
Place a kettle or bowl under the sieve. A 6-quart pot works well for this style of food strainer.
Parboil firm vegetables or fruit before processing. This will soften the edible pulp and enable easy separation from the skin. The featured tomatoes were parboiled until the skins split. Berries or other soft fruits do not need to be parboiled.
Add your food, filling the sieve no more than half full. Insert the pestle and rotate while pressing. The juice and pulp will drop into the bowl.
Use a spatula to push the fruit down every rotation or as needed. Press the pestle down frequently on the bottom of the sieve. Another trick is to twist the pestle the opposite direction that you have been working – the skins will slip right off.
When no more juice comes out, discard or compost the skins and seeds left in the sieve. The pestle works great to scrape out the bottom of the cone.
Wash and dry the parts thoroughly before storing for your next use. Pay extra attention to removing small seeds embedded in the sieve holes.
Take good care of your food strainer and it will last for decades. Aluminum styles are well made and easy to clean and store. The featured strainer is considered vintage and fetches a substantial price on on-line auction sites.
A piece of muslin can be attached for making jellies. This strains out pulp but allows all the juice to be collected.
Parboil tomatoes just until the skin splits.
Parboil squashes, potatoes, or apples until soft. Chop into quarters or chunks, but it is not necessary to peel or core.
Sauté onions, peppers, or carrots until soft if you desire to extract juice using the strainer.
Pureed baby food can be made in your food strainer from any cooked food.