Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tools and Tips: Food Mill

Food Mill by @javelinwarrior


I’m not interested in selling you on kitchen gadgets. And I’m not in the business of trying to get you to buy stuff. If you’re like me, you’ve probably got more than you need already. Which is why it has taken me this long to finally get around to writing about the food mill.

It’s an awkward looking contraption and just screams manual labor. And many sleeker, motorized gadgets have all but replaced much of the functionality of this aging device. So I have hesitated to befriend this gangly kitchen tool in favor of more versatile options like the food processor and stand mixer.

Assembled Food Mill by @javelinwarrior

But I have a soft spot for bits of forgotten charm - and the food mill is certainly one of those forgotten but charming pieces that deserves a place in my heart and kitchen. To me, the food mill is all about texture control. Despite their motorized sleekness, food processors and blenders still can’t match the manual precision of the food mill. Motors make quick work of just about any thing you want chopped or pureed, but a hand-crank food mill allows you precise control over the consistency of your food’s texture.

Maybe you want a fluffy mashed potatoes without lumps - try the food mill. May you want not-quite pureed soup with consistent texture - try the food mill. Maybe you want to puree your stewed berries while straining out the seeds - food mill. And maybe it’s right after the holidays and you have half a turkey or a lingering pot roast in need of transformation. With a little patience and muscle, the food mill can grind cooked meats into wonderfully fluffy ground turkey and ground beef - perfect for salad spreads.

Grinding Turkey in Food Mill by @javelinwarrior

Just to help spur your creativity, here are my favorite uses for the food mill (and trust me, there are even more possibilities):

  • Ricing potatoes
  • Pureeing soups
  • Smoothing out berries
  • Making applesauce
  • Grinding cooked meats
  • Mashing eggs

I got lucky with my food mill and love it’s features, but there are a variety of designs available, so here’s what I would try to find before buying:

  • 3 grinding plates for 3 different textures (2 is not enough in my opinion)

    Food Mill Grinding Plates by @javelinwarrior
     
  • Rubberized non-skid feet for resting on a variety of different sized bowls (the feet on mine fold under when not in use which is helpful for storage purposes)

    Food Mill Parts by @javelinwarrior
     
  • Dishwasher safe pieces (mine are all dishwasher safe, but I still hand-wash)
     
  • Avoid plastic-on-metal construction (mine has a plastic thumb release which seems to be wearing without issue)

    Assembled Food Mill by @javelinwarrior Releasing Food Mill Blade by @javelinwarrior
     
  • Look for a comfortable handle and blade arm knob (otherwise your hands will start to cramp after about a minute)

So, do you need a food mill? Probably not. But it’s a handy and helpful kitchen tool once you realize the potential and experience the results. And if you already own a food mill, I’m curious to know: what’s your favorite use for this gangly kitchen gadget?



2 comments:

  1. "To me, the food mill is all about texture control." That says it all. Although I'm lazy and usually use a food processor or blender, you get absolutely the best Italian tomato sauce if you use a food mill. This is one of those gems I definitely don't use enough. Great post -- thanks.

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  2. I need to try the food mill with my tomato sauce - I have yet to do that and I don't know why ;) So glad you enjoyed, John...

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