Finding a Food Mill

Oxo Food Mill

Oxo Food Mill

 Growing up, we always had a “Foley Food Mill” in our house.  It didn’t get a lot of use, save for apple season, when my father made gigantic batches of homemade apple sauce.  He would put as many cut apples as he could fit into a huge, white pot and simmer them on the stovetop for hours.  Once they were broken down, into the food mill they’d go and we’d watch the delicious pulp stream out the bottom as he turned the crank.  He always added cinnamon and sugar, and we’d enjoy fresh applesauce for days to come.

Although I take my children apple picking every fall, for some reason I have never made applesauce with them.  Pies, crisps and turnovers seemed to take precedence each year.  This year, I decided that it was the year for applesauce, so I needed to get a food mill of my own.  The benefit of a food mill is that you don’t have to peel or core the apples prior to cooking, which is a huge time saver.  The food mill separates all the good stuff you want in your applesauce, from the other stuff you don’t. 

As I did some research, I found there was a huge difference in price depending on the mill you chose.  Some very basic models were as little as $20, whereas one French-made version was over $100.  The original Foley food mill was around $50, as was the one I ended up purchasing, the Oxo Good Grips Food Mill. 

The mill sits too far down into the bowl.

The mill sits too far down into the bowl.

So, what was the difference between the least expensive version and the pricier options?  Features and quality.  While entirely serviceable, the least expensive mills were generally made from a lighter-weight stainless steel.  One of these models I tested also did not have retractable or folding “feet” on the bottom to rest on the rim of a bowl or pot (see photo right).  This was a problem because it left little room for the food to exit the mill. 

The medium-priced mills were heavier-duty, and the holes on the discs (most mills include three sizes) were angled instead of flat, which I believe more closely mimicked those on a food processor (rather than those on a ricer).  This allowed for more friction when processing the food through the mill, for a smoother result.  The Oxo mill also had a rubberized crank and handle which made it more comfortable to use, as well as rubber “feet” which kept it from slipping on the rim of your bowl or pot (if you are familiar with Oxo products, these “comfort features” are the trademark of their products).  In the end, these were the features that sold me on this particular mill.

In the end, I did not test the expensive French mill, mainly because I know I wouldn’t use it enough to warrant shelling out $120.  Besides, the mid-range mills are well made and do the job perfectly well.  They can be used not only for fantastic homemade applesauce, but also for mashed potatoes, baby food, purees, soups, sauces and jams.  Food mills are available at most department stores, kitchen stores, and even some discount stores, as well as online.

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2 Responses to “Finding a Food Mill”

  1. paula Says:

    What a great review on food mills!! You helped me recognize which features I want.
    Who needs Consumer Reports?
    Thank you, Tracy!

  2. Season To Taste » In Season: More Apples Says:

    […] it is finally time to make my applesauce!  We picked our apples, I bought a shiny, new food mill, and now I’m ready to roll!  I had already hauled out my great big stock pot, in which I […]

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