Monday, August 25, 2014

REVIEW: Norpro 1951 "The Original" Sauce Master and 1954SS Salsa Screen

Processing a large batch of tomatoes for canning salsa, sauce, or juice or apples for sauce and cider can be a daunting, time consuming task. With the help of the Sauce Master, you can cut processing time by half or more!

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When planting 50+ paste tomato plants every spring, you can certainly expect hours and hours of work in the kitchen, hanging over boiling stock pots full of thickening sauce and steamy hot bath canners. That's the least of it! In the past, the vast majority of man hours were consumed peeling, seeding, and chopping before processing even began. Not anymore! We purchased our Norpro 1951 "The Original" Sauce Master, along with the Norpro 1954SS "The Original" Salsa Screen attachment, last summer in anticipation of a huge tomato harvest. It has been one of the best kitchen aid investments we've made!

The Sauce Master comes equipped with a standard fine mesh screen and spiral, which is designed to handle tomatoes or apples. When using it to process tomatoes, the Sauce Master separates seeds and skins from pulp and juice. Simply rough chop the them, throw them into the hopper and crank the handle. Apples will need to be peeled, cored, rough chopped and simmered. I recommend the Norpro Apple Master for large batches of apples. Peels potatoes, too!.

Assembly is easy, even for those of us who aren't mechanically inclined. The base, table clamp, crank are made from heavy duty metal. Screens are constructed of chrome-steel. The hopper, plunger, spiral and sauce chute are constructed from plastic. The Sauce Master includes a detailed Assembly/Instruction and Recipe Manual. Click here to view it as a PDF file, and examine construction.

It is fairly easy to operate, although the processing goes much more quickly if one person fills the hopper and plunges, while the other cranks. The smaller you chop the tomatoes, the slightly easier it is to crank. You will find it easier to crank while using the Salsa Screen , as it has much larger holes through which the pulp and some of the seeds can pass through. Some people blanch and remove skins first, we didn't. You may also find yourself occasionally having to tighten the table clamp with rigorous cranking.

Speaking of the Salsa Screen , I highly recommend purchasing it if you intend on making salsa or chunky applesauce. The standard screen creates puree, which I personally find to be great for Spaghetti Sauce, but not so much for a good dipping salsa. We were very pleased with the texture of the finished product. Additionally, you may purchase a Berry Screen , Pumpkin Screen , and a Grape Spiral for making jams, juices, and pie fillings.

In action, using optional Salsa Screen.
I will be honest in saying there are a few drawbacks, the first being the mess. There's really no way around a mess with large batches of tomatoes, but it's imperative that you remember to chop the tomatoes before stuffing the hopper, or the screen/spiral will clog. It is quite sloppy to remove, clean, and reattach it after you've begun processing. Secondly, be vigilant of the seeds and skins. They have a tendency to fall into your sauce/juice bowl if your receptacles aren't positioned well. The Norpro Sauce Master II corrected this design problem by adding a small, elongated guide attachment where the seeds and skins are deposited. It also helps to use a short, rectangular receptacle (glass baking dish works well) to collect the sauce/juice. It can be tricky attempting to wedge a large mixing bowl under the sauce chute.

BOTTOM LINE: 4 of 5 Stars. An absolute necessity for large batch processing of tomatoes for salsa, spaghetti sauce, and juice. I would, however, recommend going with the Norpro Sauce Master II with the improved seed/skins elimination attachment for ease of use.