processing garden produce
tomato puree
Peeled tomatoes is my preferred method of preserving tomatoes but for that you need reasonably sized firm tomatoes.  For smaller and softer tomatoes I revert to  pureeing them.   This page explains how to puree tomatoes using a mouli .  It also briefly looks at some alternative methods.

description of a mouli
Photo of a Gefu mouli processor.
A Gefu mouli
A mouli is a circular bowl with a sieve at the bottom and an angled plate of metal that is rotated by a shaft with a handle on it.  The rotating process pushes the tomatoes through the sieve whilst leaving most of the skins.  It is easy to clean as all the parts can be quickly separated and put back together again.  This ease makes it very suitable for processing small batches of tomatoes.

There are a number of moulis on the market of differing sizes and qualities.  The one displayed here is a Gefu Mouli made in Germany. I have found it to be excellent,  extremely robust and capable of processing several Kilos of tomatoes in short order.

pureeing tomatoes using a mouli

photo of chopped tomatoes in a pot.
Chopped tomatoes in a pot ready to stew.

Photo of tomatoes stewing in a pot.
Chopped tomatoes being cooked.  After coming to the boil stew the tomatoes for about an hour.

Photo of tomatoes being pushed through a mouli sieve.
Pushing  the tomatoes through the mouli sieve.

Photo of a mouli showing the tomato skins left in the sieve
The handle and plate section of the mouli lifted to show the skins left after the stewed tomatoes have been pushed through.
  1. Wash tomatoes and cut them into pieces (halve small tomatoes and quarter large ones) cutting out bad sections you find and removing any stems.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring the mixture occasionally.  Do not put a lid on it.
  3. Boil the tomatoes for about an hour.  This done to make sure the tomatoes are totally cooked and to render down the mixture to a more concentrated state.
  4. Get a pot or bowl of similar size to the pot the tomatoes are cooking in and place the mouli on top.
  5. Ladle or pour stewed tomatoes into the mouli until it is almost full then turn the handle until empty.  If you are processing a large amount of tomatoes then at regular intervals remove the paddle and empty out the skins that are trapped between the paddle and the sieve. 
  6. The sieved pulp is now ready to bottle using the Fowlers Vacola bottling method .  I use  Fowlers Jars and large screw top jars, however the pulp is still runny enough to be poured into bottles.

other points to consider when using a mouli
I prefer a fairly runny tomato puree as I think it doesn't take much to render it down further as you are cooking with it.  However if you prefer more of a tomato paste texture then  you can slowly boil the puree for another two or three hours after it has been sieved.

Many of the moulis on the market come with extra sieve attachments with larger or smaller holes.  I have gardening friends who put the pulp mixture through their mouli twice, using a smaller hole size sieve the second time.  But I find this unnecessary.

I stop rotating the mouli  as soon as all the pulp has disappeared.  By doing this I maximise the number of skins I retain in the sieve.  But if you continue to rotate the mouli after then you will literally drive most of the skins through the sieve as well.  But as I prefer to remove as many skins as possible it do not do this.

alternatives to using a mouli to make tomato puree

Electric hand blender
Electric hand blenders such as a Bamix are excellent for pureeing stewed tomatoes, until I bought a mouli I used a Bamix for this purpose for many years.  The only real difference between using a Bamix and a Mouli is that a Bamix can't separate out the skins.

Tomato sauce maker
Photo of a tomatoe sauce maker courtesy of the internet.
Tomato sauce maker
courtesy of the internet.
The advantage of a tomato sauce maker over a mouli is that it separates the seeds as well as the skins, producing the purest pulp of all.   The disadvantage is that they are much more expensive to buy and, at least in the case of the old tomato sauce maker I used to use, a lot more work to clean.  I found the setting up, dismantling and cleaning of the sauce maker I had took so long that I was reluctant to use it unless I had at least ten kilos to tomatoes to process.  For that reason I gave it away to a gardening friend who grew lots of tomatoes.

Unless you are fussy about seeds in your tomato puree and have a lot of tomatoes to process then a tomato sauce maker is, in my view, overkill.  A gardening friend of mine processes on average 150 kg of tomatoes each season and he does it all with a mouli.