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Fun Food Saturday: The Food Mill

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means it’s time to make some serious quantities of cranberry sauce. Oddly enough, at our house it’s the not the end result that’s so popular, it’s the means of getting there. In other words, it’s our Foley food mill, not the cranberries, that keeps ’em coming back for more.

In case you haven’t seen a food mill, it looks just like a large saucepan, except the bottom is a giant sieve. Inside, there’s a large metal blade that turns around by way of a large handle that sticks up on top. When you turn the handle around clockwise, it mashes whatever food you’ve put in there; when you turn the handle counter-clockwise, it scrapes up the pieces that didn’t get mashed. As you turn the handle it makes a very satisfying grinding/straining noise that’s practically irresistible to little people. Soon everyone wants a turn.

You can use a food mill for baby food, tomato sauce, applesauce, and more; but at our house we use it primarily for cranberry sauce. While we love chunky cranberry sauce, it seems the little kids are more likely to eat it if it’s smooth or has the consistency of a nice jam. We just use a very standard recipe (boil one cup water with one cup sugar, add a standard 12-oz bag of cranberries, simmer for 10 minutes or until the berries pop). Then we scoop it, a half-cupful at a time, into the food mill for processing.

Since airport screenings have been in the news lately, we feel compelled to add: It is very difficult to bring a food mill on an airplane. We did it once and it wasn’t pretty. We got one from Jolly Tomato’s mom back East and we wanted to fly it out to California, but its extremely awkward shape (long handle sticking out the side, long handle coming out the top) did not lend itself to packing in a suitcase. So we put it in a shopping bag to carry on board, and it was just tall enough and wide enough to take up an annoying amount of space in the overhead compartments. Even though it doesn’t look as big as a carry-on suitcase, it effectively takes up that much room. So don’t carry one on a plane if you can avoid it. Other than that, use it as much as you can.

Fun Food Saturday: Because food should be fun.

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3 Responses to Fun Food Saturday: The Food Mill

  1. Trish November 23, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    My hubby and I were just eyeing up the food mills yesterday at Williams Sonoma – he really wants to get one. I was a bit reluctant because we already have so many kitchen gadgets but you just reminded me it can be used for many different things. Perhaps for Christmas. Yes, I think it might be a bit awkward to travel with, though.

    • jollytomato November 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

      Thanks, Trish! We have a lot of fun with our food mill. : )


  1. Kids at Work « Jolly Tomato - November 23, 2011

    […] Grind and blend: If there’s anything on your menu that needs to be ground or blended, give your kid the task. Cranberry relish recipe? Put your kid in charge of pressing the buttons on the food processor. Need ground nuts for your stuffing or pies? Your kid can do the honors with a small nut grinder. Pressing cranberries for sauce?┬áTry one of our family’s standbys, the kid-proof and irresistible Foley food mill. […]

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