(photo: various food mills; ours is the top left above)
How many of you own a food mill? Uh-oh, I only see a few hands and I’m getting some quizzical looks! OK, let’s jump out of the role play and get down to why I think everyone should own a food mill; after all, like a chef’s knife and a cutting board, the food mill is one of those universal kitchen tools that you’ll kick yourself for not owning earlier (here’s our list of essential kitchen tools).
The food mill, or passatutto, can be found in most Italian households and is the secret behind great tasting tomato sauce. Our food mill is most often used, for example, after our tomato sauce has finished cooking and we want to puree our whole tomatoes (separating the seed and skin from the meaty part of the tomato), chopped onions, garlic, etc. into a fine sauce. A food mill is designed to be used with soft foods and is ideal for making mashed potatoes, apple sauce, baby food, other sauces, etc. The typical food mill consists of three parts: a bowl, bottom plate, and crank fitted with a blade that crushes and forces the food into the bottom plate fitted with tiny holes. A food mill doesn’t exactly pulverize food like a blender nor does it act like a fine sieve, rather it’s perfect for separating the coarseness in a food and producing a medium consistency.
(photo: our food mill)
(photo: top view of our food mill)
I picked up our food mill in Italy and it retailed for about $20.00 US. Oxo makes a fancy food mill for about $50.00, but you can find a wide variety online for well under $25.00. I’d recommend a stainless steel food mill with a steady crank arm and legs that fold to accommodate any bowl. Also, note that food mills do have a few parts and take some time to clean.