Which food mill is best?
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, 30 to 40% of food in the United States goes uneaten. An effective way to decrease food waste is by canning excess fruits and vegetables from the store or garden, a process made easier with the help of a food mill.
Food mills, also known as rotary mills, are used to grind fruits and vegetables to create sauces, soups, broths, stocks and other dishes. Before buying a food mill, consider the capacity, size and number of mill disks you’ll need, as well as your preferred mount style. If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting food mill, the Cuisipro Deluxe Food Mill is a top choice.
What to know before you buy a food mill
- Crank: Set atop the food mill, the crank is what a user grips and manipulates to manually operate the mill. At the end of the crank handle is either a rounded ball or vertical grasp. Though both are equally effective, a user may prefer gripping one or the other while operating the mill.
- Grinding plate: The grinding plate is attached to the crank. As the user turns the crank, the grinding plate forces food through the milling disk.
- Milling disk: As food is pressed by the grinding plate, it’s forced through perforated holes in the milling disk. The smaller the holes, the finer the food is milled.
- Legs: Excluding standalone or mixer attachment mills, food mills dispense the milled food into a separate container. The legs attached to the side of the food mill help hold it in place over a bowl, pot or other container. Some legs have hooks at their ends to give the mill a more secure hold over the container.
Types of food mills
Manual bowl- or pot-mounted: Using the attached legs, these mills sit atop a bowl or pot and dispense the milled food into the container. These mills come in a variety of sizes, usually from 1-8 quarts.
Manual standalone: Typically large and high-capacity, manual standalone food mills have a base which can sit on flat surfaces like a table or countertop. Utilizing a hopper, food passes through an arm with a cylinder-shaped milling disk before dispensing the milled product into a container. Capable of holding a gallon or more, these mills are ideal for milling large quantities of food.
Mixer attachment: Unlike other food mills, mixer attachment food mills are directly mounted to a stand mixer. Often purchased separately, these mills quickly process food but struggle to handle large quantities at one time.
Manual table-mounted: Usually made of aluminum or stainless steel, table-mounted food mills use a clamp or clamps to affix the device directly to a table. Table-mounted food mills can be a pricier option, regardless of capacity, so choosing a model with a large capacity provides a better value for the cost.
Electric: A far more costly option compared to their manual counterparts, electric food mills operate without the user having to turn a crank. Capable of making food for 50 or more people, these mills quickly process fruits and vegetables, with some models milling up to 80 pounds of potatoes an hour.
What to look for in a quality food mill
Interchangeable mill disks
Food mills with interchangeable mill disks allow users to create dishes with a greater variety of consistencies. Finer holes in the mill disk work well for baby food or sauces, while larger holes work well for mashed potatoes or chunky soups.
The higher the capacity, the more food can be processed at once, saving the user time and energy. Though a 2-quart mill is typically enough for most users’ needs, those cooking for a large number of people or canning most of their garden fruits and vegetables will benefit from a high-capacity food mill.
Milling disk grab ability
Milling disks with rough, uneven edges around the milling holes work well for grabbing food during processing. Some expensive models have milling holes with polished ends but feature a grinding plate with a lip that helps force food through the holes.
Grinding plate angle
The most efficient food mills have a shallow grinding angle and place the grinding plate and mill disk close together. Food mills with a steeper angle can end up moving food around the mill without forcing it through the holes in the mill disk.
Legs, hooks and loops for attachment
For models meant to sit on top of a bowl, pot or other container, legs with hooks or loops on the ends ensure the food mill stays securely positioned above the container and decreases mess.
Assembly and ease of cleaning
Food mills easily assembled and disassembled are far less burdensome to clean. Some models are dishwasher-safe or come with a brush to help clean food stuck in the holes of the milling disk.
Most food mills are made from aluminum, plastic, stainless steel or tinned-steel. Though pricier, models made entirely from stainless steel are more durable and easy to clean.
How much you can expect to spend on a food mill
The price of a food mill can vary greatly depending on capacity, durability, included attachments, variety of mill disks and other features. Typically, you can expect to pay as low as $15 to over $200 for a premium food mill.
Food mill FAQ
Does food have to be cooked before going through a food mill?
A. Though some food mills can process raw fruits or vegetables, it’s usually best to exercise caution and slightly soften or fully cook food before milling. Consult the user manual included with the food mill before processing any foods.
How big of a food mill do I need to make sauces or mashed potatoes for a family of four?
A. Typically, a food mill with a 2-quart capacity is sufficient when cooking for a family of four. However, if you’re looking to save space and don’t mind processing more than one batch for a meal, consider purchasing a food mill attachment for your food mixer.
What’s the best food mill to buy?
Top food mill
What you need to know: An ultra-durable food mill, the Cuisipro Deluxe Food Mill is made for users who plan to process food daily and for years to come.
What you’ll love: Well-built and easy to clean, this food mill effectively purees fruits and vegetables and separates seeds and skins. The mill’s ergonomic non-slip handle makes it easy to grip and a simple spring-loaded mechanism makes changing the mill disk a breeze.
What you should consider: The high price may be too much of an initial investment for some users.
Top food mill for the money
What you need to know: The best food mill for making the occasional meal without breaking the bank.
What you’ll love: With three included mill disks, the Weston Stainless Steel Food Mill effortlessly processes soft foods. Easy to clean and dishwasher-safe, this food mill is great for making applesauces.
What you should consider: Removing juice and liquids takes a considerable amount of grinding.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A great food mill for parents looking to make their own baby food.
What you’ll love: With a compact design and built-in serving bowl, the Green Sprouts Fresh Baby Food Mill is a convenient option for traveling families. Though everything but the discs are made of plastic, the mill is still quite durable.
What you should consider: Users need to add a precise amount of food for the mill to work effectively.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Gerrad Frei writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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