If you’re looking to save time and manpower, then purchasing a food mill is one of the best decisions you can make. These small tools pack a big punch when it comes to food prep. Food mills give you the power to streamline pureeing and mashing, giving you delectable vegetables and fruit dishes in a matter of minutes. Food mills can even separate skins and seeds from purees, leaving you with a silky smooth product!
How Do Food Mills Work?
Food mills come in a variety of shapes and sizes but their general use is the same. With manual cranking or an electric motor, food mills forcefully crush soft foods and force them through a series of perforated plates. Plates are interchangeable and allow for varying thicknesses of the end product. This ultimately separates the solid parts of the fruit and vegetables (like the seeds and skin) and collects all of the more desirable parts like the bulk of a potato or fruit juices.
A food mill may sound very similar to a strainer or sieve but their end result is quite different. Sieves only give you the bare minimum of juice, and the fruit or vegetable must first be broken down to collect it. On the other hand, food mills bring all the muscle and do the breaking down for you. Food mills are great for things like mashed potatoes and thick tomato juices whereas a sieve is good for draining pasta or creating a pulp.
Key Differences Between Manual Food Mills And Electric Food Mills
There are three things to consider when shopping for food mills:
- What will it be used for?
- How much space do you have?
- What is your budget?
Manual Food Mills
Manual food mills are typically much smaller than electric food mills, but they require more time and effort. The user must manually crank the handle to move food through the plates. If your restaurant will be doing mostly small batches, a manual food mill is a budget-friendly option that takes up little space.
Electric Food Mills
On the other hand, if your commercial kitchen is going to be doing large batches of food like mashed potatoes or purees, then an electric food mill may be in your best interest. Electric food mills have a motor that continually moves food through the machine at a much faster rate than a human can crank by hand. For example, an electric food mill can process more than 200 pounds of bread crumbs in an hour while a manual food mill will only process about three pounds. So yes, electric food mills are larger and they carry a higher price tag, but they’ll save you substantial time and labor costs if your commercial kitchen demands large amounts of ground fruits and vegetables or juiced foods.
Regardless of which type of food mill you opt for, it will likely be made of stainless steel. Occasionally you may find a food mill made of tinned steel. The majority of restaurants, hotel kitchens, and the like are equipped and well-versed in cleaning and maintaining stainless steel which is what makes stainless steel food mills the most popular option. They’re incredibly durable, easily sanitized, and they can withstand the demands of your busy kitchen.
Food Mill Grids & Sieves
1 mm (3/64") - Works well for syrups & juices.
1.5 mm (1/16") - Works well for purees, soups, sauces.
2 mm (3/32") - Works well for mashed potatoes & other mashed vegetables.
3 mm (1/8") - Works well for overall mashing.
4 mm (3/16") - Works well with stringy vegetables.
Other Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Food Mill
If you’re leaning towards a manual food mill, you’ll find it beneficial to have a food mill with a handle that allows the user to keep it steady with one hand while operating the crank with the other. There are also models available that have hooks to attach to a bowl during grinding so that the food particles are caught. These features are simply for the convenience of course, but a little convenience can go a long way!
Whichever type of food mill you decide to go with, you can expect to yield excellent results that will keep kitchen staff and customers happy!