About Food Mills

The food mill, or mechanical sieve, is a little-known but very useful kitchen tool.

  1. History

    • The food mill was invented by Jean Mantelet in Minneapolis, Minn. The invention was patented on Aug. 8, 1933. The first food mills were produced by a company named Foley. Though this was its first kitchenware product, Foley later produced other useful kitchen items, including shredders and juicers.


    • A food mill is a utensil used for mashing and sieving various foods. It should be used for foods that require impeccable smoothness. The food mill outdates many of its contemporary competitors, such as the food processor or blender. Though this hand-operated kitchen tool may seem a bit archaic, it offers a quality of food that many other appliances cannot.


    • A food mill generally consists of three distinct parts: a bottomless bowl with three feet, various interchangable plates with holes like a colander and a crank. Most modern food mills come with three plates, each having different size holes for varying degrees of smoothness. The feet on the bottom allow you to secure the food mill over a bowl or pot.


    • Though other appliances will do a similar job, a food mill catches and sifts out seeds, cores, fibers and skin, leaving a perfectly smooth dish. Using a blender or food processor requires you to remove unwanted pieces of produce yourself, or grind them up. The food mill gives you much more control over your finished product.


    • The food mill has long been used for products like stewed tomatoes and jelly. The various disks give this tool a lot of versatility. The coarser disk is good for smooth mashed potatoes. The medium disk can be used for applesauce and baby foods, while the finest disk will let you make sauces, soups and juices.

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