Friday, August 8, 2008

The Squeezo Fiasco

I set aside Monday morning for canning those peaches I picked. Based on previous experience with canning peaches, I figured I could get them all done in 2-3 hours, even if they were small. They were Redhavens and I've canned Redhavens before. They're a freestone variety and they skin nicely after blanching, which makes the canning go really fast.

But I could not get these durned things to skin nicely!

I first tried blanching them for a minute. The skins didn't want to come off. So I tried three minutes. Uh-uh. Five minutes? No way. This meant I was skinning them all with a paring knife, which in addition to causing you to have to spend ten times as long on each individual peach also means you lose a lot of the flesh of the fruit. And when the fruit is small to begin with, it's a little ridiculous.

At the end of my allotted morning I only had four quarts canned.

At first I was fuming and wanting to curse up and down at the mischeiveous little round objects filling my sink that I had thought were peaches but were clearly some kind of device from outer space designed to inflict torment upon lovers of the domestic arts. But when I get tense the entire family gets tense and the kids start fighting. In an effort to calm the collective, I exercised tremendous self-discipline and told myself that I just had to accept the fact that canning peaches on the prairie means lots of slow hand peeling and as long as I plan for that I will still be happy with my lovely jars of home-bottled peaches in the end.

The problem with that was that as a busy young mother I don't have time for those kinds of canning projects. The only reason I took on peaches to begin with was that I thought it would be easy and fast enough to pull off in between tantrums. So I turned on my creative juices. How could I get these peels off faster?

The solution I came up with was the Squeezo.

My mom had a squeezo when I was a kid, only she didn't call it a squeezo. She called it a Victorio Strainer because that was the brand name she had. She should have called it a squeezo. Squeezo is a fantastic word and everyone should have a squeezo in their life. They make fabulous applesauce.

It was my friend Naomi that I first heard the word "squeezo" from (Naomi I am forever in your debt) and I knew that Naomi would be happy to let me borrow her squeezo.

What if.... what if I did the same procedure on these pesky peaches that is used to make applesauce with a squeezo? If I boiled them until they were mushy and then ran them through the squeezo then peach sauce should come down the chute and the peels come out the other end just as easy as you please. My kids would love peach sauce and this whole process would be so much less work.

Naomi thought it sounded like a great idea, so I boiled up a bunch of peaches and then ran over to her house to pick up the squeezo.

I happily assembled the squeezo and dropped my mushy peaches into the hopper with great glee. I started turning the crank.

Don't put peaches in a squeezo.

I got a little bit of peach juice. What came out the "discard" end was most of the flesh of the fruit along with the skins. Peaches are too stringy to be sauced in a squeezo.

I was really irritated.

I tried the "pumpkin" attachment instead of the "applesauce" attachment. With the bigger holes I did get more peach flesh, but there were just as many bits of skin in it as there were bits of flesh. And the whole point was to get rid of the skins!

The squeezo was a mess when I was done. It was totally gummed up with peach strings. It took me forever to clean it.

However, at that point I did have some peach sauce. I cooked it up with some tapioca which thickened it into a pudding and the kids loved it.

I wasn't crazy about it, but maybe that was just because of everything I'd been through.

Now it's Friday and I still haven't faced the other half of the peaches. I need to do something with them. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm sure it won't involve a squeezo.
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Simplymom said...

Squeezos do work great for pears through. I've made pear sauce the past couple years instead of bottling them the normal way-- it's too much work-- peeling yuck!!! I expect I'll be doing peaches soon.

janeannechovy said...

I have your answer!!!!

Thanks to a tip from Cook's Illustrated, I now peel all my peaches with a serrated peeler, by Messermeister. I think I got mine at Sur la Table, but maybe you could call around and see if any nearby stores carry it? It doesn't seem like such a fancy item you'd have to resort to mailorder. If you did, I'd just do a Google shopping search for "Messermeister serrated peeler" and pick the most reputable-looking place. But buying in person will be more help for the peaches sitting on your counter!

Also, Squeezo is the actual brand name of one of those machines, just not the Vittorio. The original Squeezo is all metal, and works like a dream (but probably not on peaches).

Birrd said...

Hooray for blog reader comments! Thank you for your help, JaneAnne!

Dr. Croc said...

oh, argh! The forever-peeling is why I gave up doing home bottled pears, unless I'm in a really masochistic mood. How frustrating to have the nicely-skinning peaches turn troublesome, too!
About the serrated peelers, I know that Harry & David carried them, and maybe you could order one online if you get desperate.