Using a Food Strainer


Dear readers, I bring to you a tale of two boxes.

The two boxes were fairly equal, each around 25 pounds of mixed apples.

I cut the first box up by hand, peeling, coring, slicing.

It resulted in 13 pints of applesauce.

For the second box, I finally ventured into the land of my food strainer. I bought a Squeezo strainer several months ago. It’s not cheap, so this felt like a big purchase to me–but worthwhile, probably. I heard tell it was a huge labor-saver for processing fruits and vegetables, and that it would make more of the time/money spent on said fruits and vegetables by helping me get everything there was to get out of them. There’s a certain amount of waste in hand processing.

Behold the Squeezo and its many parts.

I looked at the parts in the box several months ago–and left them there. I have a phobia about mechanical devices.

A couple of months ago, Dede (wvhomecanner) visited to help me with a preserving workshop. I got her to show me how to put the Squeezo together.

She assembled it promptly, and demonstrated how to put some tomatoes through it. And I thought, I’ll never be able to do that.

A few weeks ago, I bought a box of apples. I thought about the Squeezo, then cut up the box by hand.

A few days ago, I bought two boxes of apples. I thought about the Squeezo, then cut up the first box by hand. It took me about four hours to do all the peeling, coring, slicing by hand then process the apples into sauce in my food processor, for a result of 13 pints of sauce. Could I do better with the Squeezo? Probably. But…..

I brought up the second box of apples from cellar storage. I thought about the Squeezo, then got out my cutting board and knife and…. SUZANNE! GET OUT THE SQUEEZO! I spent over $200 on this Squeezo (Deluxe–with three screens). WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? (Don’t answer that question.) I’m using the sauce from these apples to make whiskey-raisin apple butter to sell at the Black Walnut Festival. I want to make the most of my apples.

With great timidity, I got out the Squeezo box and looked at its many parts. Again.

I have three screens (cone-shaped things with holes). One is the “regular” screen that comes with the standard Squeezo package–it’s the medium screen, for apples, tomatoes, most vegetables, etc. It’s the screen you would use the most, so it comes with the Squeezo. If you get the Squeezo Deluxe, you get the screen with tiny holes–the berry screen, and the screen with bigger holes–the pumpkin (squash and so on) screen.

First, you clamp the base (housing) to something. I even have a phobia about clamping, so this seemed difficult but wasn’t really. I clamped it to the stainless steel table in the studio.

Then I realized I clamped it too close to the end of the table and had left myself no room to place a bowl under it, so I had to move it. But anyway.

Insert the drain tray. The good stuff comes out there. Then there’s this thing called a “ferrule” that you put on the “drive shaft” along with a spring. I don’t even like these words. They make me feel like somebody’s about to quiz me on what is a Phillips screwdriver and I won’t know the answer. I put the drive shaft in the wrong way at first. I finally figured it out because I couldn’t get the handle on right the way I had it. Whew. I think. Then you put the scrolly thing into the screen and attach it by tightening wing nuts.

Now you put the hopper on top, and add a couple bowls to catch stuff.

There’s a wooden plunger thingie to push food down into the hole in the hopper.

The assembly was stressful (you know, for me)! But I think I did it. I turned the handle and could see the scrolly thing turning inside the screen, so I crossed my fingers and went on with the apples.

I washed and quartered the apples, removing any bad parts.

With about an inch of water in the bottom of two pots, I steamed the quartered apples. Processing the apples this way took about 1/2 hour of labor, not counting the steaming time. While it was steaming, I was eating bon bons on the couch. (Just kidding. I was actually feeding one peppermint treat to Shortcake. Which takes a LOT OF TIME, I’m tellin’ ya.)

Once the apples were steamed, using a slotted spoon, I loaded apples into the hopper and started turning the handle, pushing down with the wooden plunger thingie.

The core and peel mush comes out in one bowl.

And the applesauce comes out in another. Like magic!

When I finished the apples, I took the core and peel mush and put it through the Squeezo a second time. (It doesn’t hurt to scrape the screen occasionally as you’re working.)

And still got more sauce.

So after I put it through a second time, I put it through a third time. I wanted to be sure I got every tidbit out of those apples! The sauce that came out of the core/peel mush was particularly thick. It looked like I’d gotten pretty much all there was to get, so I quit there.

Altogether, I got 20 pints of sauce using the Squeezo. (Four of those pints came from re-Squeezo-ing the core/peel mush, so that was worth it.) Two and a half gallons of sauce out of that one box of apples!

That’s 20 pints of sauce using the Squeezo versus 13 pints from hand-processing–using two fairly equal boxes of apples! I spent half the total time for labor using the Squeezo, too.

I haven’t made a comparison using a mechanical peeler, but I don’t believe you would have the same substantial increase in end product from a peeler because you can’t re-process the peels/cores to get all the apple out the way you can with a food strainer. I have used a food mill, and I loathe food mills. A food mill is the pot-looking thing that has a handle and a screen at the bottom (reminds me of a sifter, sorta). You have to hold onto the pot and turn the handle. It requires more time/labor, and I find using it to be awkward. And loathesome. The Squeezo was easy.

The only downside of the Squeezo is no peels to dehydrate, but I’ll give the squeezed-out mush to the goats and chickens, so it won’t be wasted. I also saved the juice–nearly half a gallon–which I’ll filter and use to make apple syrup.

There are other manufacturers of similar food strainers, by the way. This is not a Squeezo-sponsored post! I just happen to have a Squeezo. I do believe it’s reputed to be the best. It’s all-metal construction and they’ve been making them for nearly 100 years. If you go looking for a food strainer deal, just remember to notice how the strainer is made. This one (for example, there are others) has plastic parts. This is the Squeezo that I have, and it’s all stainless steel parts. That one has all three screens. If you don’t think you’ll need the berry and pumpkin screens, the standard Squeezo with one screen is a little less expensive. (If you think you will ever want the berry and pumpkin screens, it costs more to buy them separately later than if you just buy them altogether with the Squeezo Deluxe, which is why I did.) A food strainer with plastic parts is much less expensive–but it may not last very long, especially if you put it through heavy use. The Squeezo will pay for itself with the increase in output, the labor reduction, and its virtual indestructibility.

But also! According to the little booklet that came with the Squeezo, the design has not changed in any way since the 1980s. If you can find a used Squeezo (and why not, they last forever), you can still buy parts that will fit it, etc. However, one must wonder why anyone would let a Squeezo go, so finding a used one might be the problem.

You do have to thoroughly clean it (and dry it, to prevent rust) after using it, so that’s an extra step at the end, and you have to take it all apart to do that.

Squeezo, all cleaned up.

On the upside, I’m not afraid of putting it together again!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 1, 2012  

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29 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-1

    I LOVE my Squeezo! I got it as a hand-me-down from my Mom, when she upgraded to the deluxe model. I don’t do as much canning now as I used to, but I will never get rid of my Squeezo!

  2. 10-1

    Oh my:goodness,,,I think I inherited one of these little do dads:::my neighbor gave me some antique canning equipment, and I found some parts like what you have: looks like I’m missing the funnel, tray and mallet:::I’m so going to get that box out when I get home from work today:::and check that out! Good Job on the product! it looks great!!!!

  3. 10-1

    Probably a silly question, but, where do the seeds go? I assume they go into the waste bowl with the peels?

  4. 10-1

    WOOHOO! Good job, Suzanne, jumping in and conquering the fear LOL! That mill you loathe is a Foley and I dislike them too. THESE food strainers are amazingly easy to use – not crazy about the clean-up but as you say, so worth it. I have a metal and plastic Villaware food strainer that I have had for almost 20 years. It’s seen many, many bushels of tomatoes and a few of apples and is still in great shape. I also bought an old Squeezo at a yard sale – for 5 bucks! It’s my back-up. Just in case. Not taking chances at ever NOT having one on hand.


  5. 10-1

    My Mom bought me one of those cheaper versions years ago, with the plastic on it…I use it a LOT and it’s still going strong! LOVE IT!!! She has an even older version of mine, and it’s still going strong too, so just cause it’s cheaper and has plastic on it, doesn’t mean it’s not good. Naturally the all metal one would probably have been nice, but not sure it’s worth the extra price, cause I can’t see mine not lasting my lifetime. I do love the things though, they make doing tomato’s and other things so much easier!!! Glad you finally got brave enough to use yours. :-))

  6. 10-1


    You could also use your steam juicer to steam the apples and then run them through the Squeezo to make the sauce. You get wonderful apple juice and sauce. If you use a peeler/corer like the one we had at the retreat I just throw the peels and cores in the steam juicer and get every last bit of juice/sauce out of them that I can. The remains go to the chickens.

    I love my Squeezo almost as much as much steam juicer.

  7. 10-1

    I didn’t figure that anything would stop you. I am mechanically challenged I have decided. It took me a while to get to where I could get the pond pump washed and put back in correct order so it would work. I think the more you do it the easier it will be and look at all the good stuff you got from it! :happyflower:

  8. 10-1

    Yes, the seeds go out with the cores/peels.

    The reason I didn’t use the steam juicer was because with two big pots, I could steam the whole box of apples at once and I would have had to do it in batches with the steam juicer–though I probably would have gotten more juice that way!

  9. 10-1

    Yep, feed the chickens the remains. Gotta love that.

  10. 10-1

    I have new chickens this year and they haven’t learned to come charging over when we carry out the leftovers. I mess that.

  11. 10-1

    Oh, I think you’re going to find all kinds of things to use that Squeezo on now!!! True labor saving devices are wonderful.

  12. 10-1

    You are almost as challenged as I am: as I am with most anything, actually. I’m so bad I have trouble with wheelbarrows! My husband really teases me. I surely wouldn’t want that nice tool to rust… I would probably use a hairdryer to get it good and dry.

  13. 10-1

    Just out of curisity, I looked on ebay and there are several Squeezos and a couple of similar items for sale at current prices well below $100. WHo knows the final price as it is an auction but that looks like a good option.

    As the pieces are all stainless steel, it should go through the dishwasher just fine as well.

  14. 10-1

    I also have one but I don’t have an overhang on my counter to clamp it on to! Does anyone have ideas on how or where I can make this work? I, too, had a fear of putting it together and then found out my counter wouldn’t work. I’m so sad unless I can get some ideas.


  15. 10-1

    Alice, try a cutting board, or even some other kind of leftover board, and put it on a table or counter and clamp it to that.

  16. 10-1

    I felt the same intimidation when I got my K/A fruit/veggie strainer. It does the same thing and also has all those funny named parts. My son kept saying, “Mom, look, there’s a picture. You’re smart. Just figure it out.” “Show me”, I repeated. I can do it on my own now (looking at the picture) and it is a big time saver that produces a lovely product!

  17. 10-1

    I feel like I need to jump in here and defend the Foley Food Mill. I’ve used those for years and feel like I get all the pulp from apples, tomatoes and berries. In fact, my tomato juice is so thick that it barely separates. I would like to hold a side-by-side comparison with both products someday, because the one thing I do hate about the Foley is that you have to stop and dump out the waste every few minutes.

    Anybody got a Squeezo they can lend me? You might even get it back…heh heh heh.


  18. 10-2

    I have a food strainer that is called a Victorio Strainer and has some plastic parts. I got it in the early 70’s, and it is still going strong. I did have one of the metal screws break, but my husband found one that fit, and it is fine now. It is the bowl and the plunger that are plastic, but they are sturdy.

  19. 10-2

    I am not advocating overlooking the thorough wash-and-dry, but a stainless steel article should not rust. That’s why it’s called stainless.

    And, let’s face it, the best thing about a Squeezo is its name. SQUEEZO! SQUEEZO! One cannot help but repeat it, or shout it out a few times at the mall, to the consternation of onlookers. Remember to open and close your fist when you do so.

  20. 10-2

    I inherited my dad’s Squeezo and I LOVE it. Actually, my mom let me ‘borrow’ it a couple of years ago and finally said to ‘just keep it’. Score! It has never occured to me though to run the food through twice. Mine is made of aluminum, not stainless steel.

  21. 10-3

    Oh I LOVE my Squeezo!!! I inherited mine from my Mom…no one else wanted it! I’m the only girl out of 4 that carries on the canning tradition. Spaghetti sause is so easy…try that next time Suzanne!

  22. 10-4

    I’m curious…where does the juice come out? Do you have to strain the peelings to get it?
    I am fascinated by this “machine”. Never seen one before. Thanks for all the pictures! I can see where you it would save you a lot of time and effort, with all the stuff you make. We learn something new every day here!

  23. 10-4

    You steam the fruit before putting it in the Squeezo, so you get juice from that. When you put it through the Squeezo, you get out the pulp (good stuff, sauce) on one end and the core/peel/seeds out the other.

  24. 10-9

    Well, I won a Squeezo on ebay.. Waiting for it to arrive… I’m ready for APPLE SEASON! My pressure canner (Went with Presto, couldn’t afford the AA, even on ebay) will be on it’s way as soon as the seller figures the shipping… This should be a fun fall!

  25. 10-12

    My ebay Squeezo arrived today!!! I am beyond thrilled… What the seller thought was rust was actually dried on food… A quick scrubbie and voila!.. The only thing I can see wrong is that although it came with 3 screens, there is one set of wingnuts and gasket missing… I can either buy the parts or swap the existing ones back and forth.. Can’t wait to use it!

  26. 8-11

    I have a squeezo and some not quite ripe apples. Want to try making the applesauce using agave nectar. When you steam your apples, after squeezoing them, do you need to recook them? I want to can the applesauce. Do you have a recipe? Thanks

  27. 8-12

    You don’t need to recook the apples after steaming them. I have applesauce and a bunch of other canning recipes here:

  28. 8-25

    so……what do you think about putting raw tomatoes through the squeezo?

    I’m trying today and after the first twelve :sun: tomatoes, the scroll just got jammed up and I had to take it all apart.

    I’ve used my squeezo more for apple sauce….which I always cook a bit before putting through!

    thanks so much for your help

  29. 8-26

    Yes, you do have to cook the tomatoes a bit first to soften them!

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