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Friday, July 25, 2008

Vitamix Mixer

Back in the days when I thought I had disposable income--and hubby and I set about cheerfully 'disposing of it', we got a Vita-Mix Mixer. Even then I knew it wasn'ta 'frugal' thing to buy and I put off the purchase for about 10 years and then bought a re-conditioned used model to save a little on the sticker price.

I wanted it so much that every gift buying occassion for 10 years the Vita-Mix was on my 'wish list' and every time I went to an auction or estate sale or rummage I had some half crazy idea I might find one for $1.00. Once at an estate sale in a dilapidated old farm house I did come across an antique chrome Vita-Mix blender--but it was not the powerful Vita-Mix available now. I did buy it, but could never content myself with it, and eventually it made its way to the thrift store and likely then finally to some landfill, or perhaps someone made yard art from it?

Anyhow, I do have a Vita-Mix and it is a pretty darn cool tool. If you have the sort of disposable income that affords paying several hundred dollars for a blender--well-you might like this one. It is sort of like the 'power tool' of blenders. It almost seems as if it ought to be in the garage rather than the kitchen. I would not say it does everything that the makers claim it does--I think it can do those things--but not as well as other things. What Vita-Mix is king of is making purees, sauces, cream soups, and smoothies.

Today I have 21 pounds of tomatoes to process and I do not own a Victorio Strainer or any such proper tomato processing canning equipment. My Vita-mix cookbook has a few good recipes for tomato sauce, paste, chili sauce and red sauce. Hubby thinks I should go with plain tomato sauce--because we can always kick it up a notch later when we are ready to use it. I think that sounds very reasonable.

Thanks to the Vita-Mix I won't have to bother with tedious seeding & peeling of my tomatoes-- the machine will simply chew them up and they'll be come part of the sauce. This means I only need to wash my tomatoes, cut them maybe once to get rid of stems, maybe cut them in half if they are large and then pop them into the Vita-Mix several at a time to be quickly and efficiently made into tomato mush. Any other veggies I want to add to the mix will go right in the mush as well. This is a process Vita-Mix excells at.

Here is the Recipe I'll likely use:

25 Pounds plum tomatoes (I only have 21, but that's darn close enough--I could go peek in the garden though, maybe a bit more have ripened)
3 medium onions (since I'm short tomatoes, I'll use 2 of my fresh sweet garden onions)
2 large green sweet peppers
2 tiny hot peppers, seeded (I'll use jalapenos from my garden)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
5 tablespoons of salt (I'm planning to use just a bit less salt)

I'll blend that all together and then cook it down in a non-reactive pot--I'm planning to use my stainless steel soup stock pot. I can cook it down as thick as I like. The longer it cooks the thicker it will get. If I wanted paste I could cook it all day, but I'm good with just sauce.

The end result will be 4 or 5 quarts of sauce. Since I am not using an official canning recipe, I will probably freeze my quarts of sauce. Amazingly there is still a bit of room in my small chest freezer, so this will work. I think we'll be using a quart for dinner anyhow. It will not take us a month to use up this batch.

The garden this year has been so successful--especially considering it is just a small garden! Next year--God willing I will try a much larger garden. It depends on alot of things I'm not sure about right now--will we have moved again? Will I be working part time still or full time?

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