User-friendly ergonomic design makes it incredibly easy to puree fruits and vegetables and separate the seeds and skins. Extremely easy to clean.
A bit pricier, but its high-quality is well worth the extra investment.
Stainless steel bowl prevents staining and easily holds hot foods. 3 stainless steel grinding discs prepare foods with fine, medium, and coarse textures.
The pot is a bit small, holding no more than 4 cups at a time.
Optimal for mashing, straining, grating, and ricing food. Durable stainless steel construction.
Wire handle is uncomfortable.
Three stainless steel milling discs prevent pulp and skins from slipping through. Effortlessly mashes and sieves soft foods.
Requires excessive amount of grinding to remove juice and liquids.
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Food mills, sometimes called rotary food mills, are used to grind and puree foods to make soups, applesauce, baby food, or sauces. They can also be used when creating smooth purées, or removing seeds, stems, and skins from fruits and vegetables. These handy kitchen devices are not all the same. Food mills vary by size and the quality of materials with which they are made. So, how do you know which one is right for you?
That’s why we’re here. At BestReviews, we do the hard work, so you don't have to. From digging through consumer feedback to consulting experts and testing products, we investigate products so that we can provide the honest, unbiased reviews you need to make an informed decision.
We’ve provided a shopping guide, below, to let you know what features to look for when shopping for a food mill. When you’re ready to buy, check out our top five food mill picks as a place to start your search.
Most food mills for basic home use have a manual design. Because they are so simple, each component plays an important role in the overall effectiveness of the mill.
Attached to the crank is the grinding plate. As the crank turns, the grinding plate presses food through the milling disk.
The milling disks have perforated holes through which the food is pressed by the grinding plate. The size of the holes determines how finely the food is milled.
Food may get stuck between the grinding plate and disk. You can reverse directions to dislodge the food.
The hand crank sits on top, and either has a rounded ball or vertical grasp on the end of the handle, making it easier to hold and move the crank. Either design works well. It's a matter of personal preference whether you like the ball or vertical grasp.
Most food mills dispense directly into another container. To hold the mill securely over a bowl or pot, they use protruding legs that may or may not have hooks on the end. Stand-alone or mixer attachment mills do not have legs.
To optimize the amount of food you get out of your mill, put food through a second time.
These food mills can be placed on top of a pot or bowl, so that the food passes through the mill, directly into the pot. Manual-mounted food mills come in a variety of sizes. They can hold as little as one quart or be large enough to handle eight quarts or more.
This type of food mill has a base that sits on a counter or tabletop. They are usually high capacity, holding as much as a gallon or more. Food is placed in a hopper, similar to the bowl on smaller models, and passes through an arm with a cylinder-shaped milling disk that drops the food into a bowl. These are best for canning high quantities of food.
Processing food using a food mill prevents food waste that often comes from peeling and deseeding by hand.
Mixers provide a fast way to move food through a food mill, but they can’t handle a high quantity of food at one time. That means you’ll have to do several batches to complete your cooking. These attachments are usually purchased separately.
Table- or counter-mounted food mills use a clamp to attach directly to a table. They’re usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. These food mills are usually more expensive, no matter the capacity. If you do buy one, you’ll get a better value if you buy one with a large capacity.
Much more expensive than their manual counterparts, these mills are a standalone machine that makes quick work of fruits and vegetables. They can process up to 80 pounds of potatoes in an hour. Canners and those who cook for large crowds of 50 or more may find this kind of mill useful.
Some electric food mills have a continuous feed that will keep processing as long as you keep the hopper full. If you’re canning a year's worth of tomato sauce, this type of food mill will significantly cut down on your work time.
Interchangeable milling disks allow you to make foods of varying consistencies. Fine disks work well for jellies, baby food, and sauces, medium for applesauce and vegetable soups, and coarse for chunky sauces and mashed potatoes.
The larger the capacity of the food mill the more food you’ll be able to do at once. Large capacity mills tend to keep food inside the mill better, and it means you won’t have to do as many batches. A two-quart mill should be enough for most people’s needs, but if you plan to use a mill more often, consider getting a three-quart model.
You’ll need to cut food down to a manageable size before putting it into a food mill. If the pieces are too big, the grinding plate won’t be able to force it through the disk.
The design of the perforated holes in the milling disk affects its ability to grab food as it’s moved by the crank and grinding plate. Some disks are pressed from the bottom during manufacturing, which leaves rough, uneven edges that work very well for grabbing food during the processing. The perforated holes on some more expensive models are polished, but the grinding plate has a ¼” lip that helps press food into the perforated holes.
The angle of the grinding plate, or blade, can make a big difference in the effectiveness of the mill. Plates with a steeper angle often stir food around the mill without pressing it through the sieve. Shallow angle grinding plates that are close to the milling disk are better at moving food with efficiency. You can also reverse the direction of the grinding plate to bring up seeds and skins left over after milling.
Some food mills come with a wire bar that brushes away food from the milling disk.
Food mills fit on top of a bowl or pot using legs. Legs with hooks or loops on the end stay in place better than straight legs, or those mills without legs at all. There are some mills that have several hooks on each leg to accommodate different bowl or pot sizes.
Food mills that are easy to take apart are also easy to clean. Some models come with a cleaning brush that can help get food stuck in the holes of the milling disk. Models that are dishwasher safe are even easier to clean.
Plastic, aluminum, tinned steel, and stainless steel are the materials most often used to make food mills. Models made with all stainless steel are more durable and easy to clean, however, they are the most expensive. Many mills are made with a combination of materials. If you want an inexpensive mill, it will probably have some plastic components. Be sure the plastic parts aren’t flimsy or too flexible.
Stainless steel and plastic food mills can be placed in a dishwasher. Those made of chrome-covered aluminum cannot.
A high price doesn’t always mean a better mill. The design of the grinding plate and milling disk plays a big part in how well the mill works. Price plays a bigger role in the durability of the food mill than with how well it mills.
For $15 to $50 you can get a food mill with a combination of metal and plastic components. Check the quality of the bowl, because flimsy bowls don’t hold up over time and are common in this price range. At this price point, the mills usually handle cooked foods better than raw. Stainless steel mills in this range have lower quality steel and a smaller capacity.
In the $50 to $100 range are good mills that have the right combination of quality construction and design. If you’re going to use the mill occasionally, a food mill in this range will probably meet your needs.
Berries, with all their seeds, may require a specialty disk that has to be purchased separately. Models that come with three or more disks may already have one included.
Large capacity (we’re talking three quarts or more) food mills made of stainless steel with three or more interchangeable disks fall in the $100 to $200 range. If you are a canner or would use the mill regularly, one of these mills could be a good choice for you.
At over $200 are food mills that can attach to a tabletop or countertop using a clamp. You'll also find commercial grade food mills that can hold up to eight quarts of food. These mills are an investment but might be worth it if you can large quantities of food.
Q. Does the food have to be cooked before going through the food mill?
A. You should check your manual first to see what is recommended, because some food mills can process raw fruits, potatoes, and other vegetables. Others require the food to be slightly pre-cooked or fully cooked before going through the mill. It’s best to err on the side of caution, and at least soften food before processing if you’re not sure.
Q. I want to occasionally use a food mill to make sauces and mashed potatoes for my family of four. How big of a food mill do I need?
A. You can't go wrong with a two-quart food mill. You'll be able to make enough for four people without having to do two batches. It will also help prevent spills. If you're looking to save space, you may also want to consider a food mill attachment for your mixer. They are small, easy to store, use equipment you already have, and can quickly process one meal's worth of food.
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