A food mill is a tool for mashing and pureeing vegetables and fruits. You can use it to make purees, hummus, soups, sauces, and even baby food! It is one of the products that you start to use and suddenly ask yourself ‘How did I live so long without it?’. Yes, it may be old fashioned, but you cannot deny its efficiency. And sometimes old things are better, aren’t they?
We learned what is a food mill used for, but what is a food mill? How does a food mill work, and how do we use one? Do not look further because all the answers are here, in our article. Come take a look!
What Is a Food Mill?
A food mill is an efficient kitchen tool that separates liquids from solids. The fruits and\or vegetables leave their seeds and skins behind to become a delicious puree. It is a very efficient way to subtract the juice from food. The food mill is a wide-mouthed device. It has a bowl, a hand crank, and a disc.
No electricity is needed with the manual ones. You can ask “how does a food mill work”? Well, dear. It is really easy. You turn the crank as the food passes through the grinding plate to the bowl and become a sauce. Ta-da! It is definitely a lifesaver. Sieving discs are often interchangeable for getting the texture that is wanted: coarser or finer.
How to Use a Food Mill?
The food you’ll mash or sieve should be soft. You can boil, steam, or bake the food before the process. I highly suggest you do so, since food mills cannot handle hard food. Let’s say you decided to make mashed potatoes, how will you do it? Here is how:
Boil them without removing their peel. Then add milk and butter to the food mill. Drizzle it with some salt and pepper. Choose a disc with smaller holes to smoothen the texture. This is the way I prefer it, but if you like chunky mashed potatoes, you should choose a disc with bigger holes. Start to turn the hand crank. If you feel a little pressure, turn it in another direction to prevent the food from getting stuck. It is this easy!
Food Mill Uses
Food mills allow you to make different sauces like apple or tomato sauce. You can use it in making mashed potatoes. It can also be used for making hummus, baby food, jams, jellies, and many more. And what about the canning season? We cannot forget about that. Food mills are a must when it comes to home canners.
We sit together in the kitchen and dive into a big pile of tomatoes with our food mills. It really makes the job easier for us. A food mill is also a great way to prevent food waste. Because, after using it, all that is left from food are seeds and debris that can be composted.
Comparing Food Mill With Other Alternatives
The food mill is a simple and efficient device to use in our kitchen. If you do not have one, you can use other alternatives. But are they good enough? What is the difference between those alternatives and food mills?
Sieve vs. Food mill: A sieve separates liquids from solids. You can use it to drain pasta. But if the food needs more than this, you must use a food mill. They crush the food and squeeze it to obtain more juice.
Food processor vs. Food mill: Modern-day chefs all have a food processor under their hands. When we compare a food mill with a food processor, a food processor will be a better choice with solids such as nuts, cheese, etc.
Food mills should be used for softer foods. Additionally, the food should be baked, steamed, or boiled before the process. If you want the same texture that you get from a food mill, you need to use a strainer or\and a sieve in addition to food processors.
Blender vs. Food mill: A blender also needs electricity like food processors. It is good for time and energy saving. But unfortunately, it does not separate peelings and seeds. You must remove them before the process. Another downside is; a blender cannot process hot food, unlike a food mill. However, it makes a fine and silky juice from anything you put into it.
Manual vs. Electric Food Mills
Did you skip the arm day at the gym? Do not worry. A manual food mill will help you! It is a great way to work your arm muscles. Let’s turn the hand crank, start to exercise! I’m joking, but not much! Manual food mills lean on manual labor, unlike electrics ones. Manual food mills allow you to process small batches of food.
We don’t have to pay that much, and they are easy to store. On the other hand, electric food mills are a bit more expensive, and not that easy to store since they are larger. They use electricity to extract juice from food. You can put large batches in since these machines can handle big portions like a champ.
Which Disc Should You Choose?
Like I mentioned before, food mills come with interchangeable discs. Those discs are in different sizes and different types. But which one should you use for which situation? Come find out. First, when you are choosing for a disc to prepare a certain dish, consider these two facts:
Texture: Some prefer fine, some prefer thick. How would you like your food? Smaller holes in discs give you a smoother experience while discs with larger holes give you a coarser one.
Seeds: Does the food you are using have big seeds? Or does it have small seeds? According to your answer, you should choose a proper disc since you would not want any seed in your puree.
After considering these facts, you can decide which disc to choose. There is a variety of discs that you can choose for different foods. Here are some of them and the situations you can use them in:
4 mm: It is 5\ 32”. You can use this one for stringy vegetables. I do not recommend you use this with tomatoes since the seeds will pass through the holes. Do the math and do not use it with foods that have similar seed size.
3 mm: It is 1\8”. This disc is good for general mashing. Again, it is not good for tomatoes.
2 mm: It is 5\64”. If you want to mash potatoes, this is the one for you. It is also good for tomatoes since the holes are small enough to not let the seeds pass through.
1.5 mm: It is 1\16”. Do you prefer your food in a fine texture? This disc can help you with that. It is good for making soups, sauces, and purees.
1 mm: 1\32”. This disc has the smallest holes. So, I can say it is good for juices and syrups.
How to Make Tomato Sauce With a Food Mill
Food mills are used mostly for making tomato sauce. It makes a hard task easier. But how? How can we use a food mill to make tomato sauce? Here are the instructions:
Boil your tomatoes for 10 minutes with their peel on. This way, tomatoes can retain their fresh flavor. After that, you can put them in the food mill and start making a sauce out of them. Food mill separates seeds and skin from the juice, so it is an easy process.
Do not forget to use a disc with small holes or else the seeds can fall through. Use this recipe to make great tomato sauces. You can add anything you want to in the bowl. Mix the tomato sauce with your favorite ingredients. Make a heavenly sauce with your imagination!
How to Use a Food Mill to Make Soup
Soups are like our saviors. They help us heal and get stronger. They also help us lose weight with the right ingredients and ways to prepare! A food mill is actually a great way to make soups, especially creamy ones. Boil, roast, or steam your ingredients. Once they reach the texture you like, run them through the food mill.
Easy, isn’t it? The light texture will make your tummy happy. Food mills are good with hot ingredients so you can put the ingredients from the stock pot in the food mill’s bowl and then to a fancy bowl of your choice. Enjoy!
We learned what is a food mill, how to use one, some recipes, and many more. No doubt that this old-fashioned will surprise you with its simple and efficient use. Either electrical or manual, I highly suggest you use one. Do you now understand the food mill definition? Did you ever use one? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!