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How to Use a Food Mill for Tomatoes

How to Use a Food Mill for Tomatoes

It’s hard to imagine a person who doesn’t like perfectly thick and delicious tomato sauce.

It is a desirable addition to pizza, pasta, ravioli, spaghetti, lasagna, meatballs, and various kinds of meat.

But only a few people know that you need two key things for tomato sauce, such as a food mill and perfect tomatoes.

So in this article, we will give all the necessary information about how to use a food mill for tomatoes.

Why do you need a food mill?

It is true that nowadays there are a lot of useful kitchen items that will do all the work for you. But still, some universal items such as food mills are favored by a lot of people because of its simplicity when being used, efficiency, and versatility in terms of working with cold and hot foods.

When you are using a food mill, the grinding process does not involve air, which is good if you plan to store food for a long time. You can put freshly grinded food into the freezer right away instead of waiting for some time for it to be settled.

The design makes the food mill a perfect choice for making tomato sauces as all unnecessary debris is set aside, leaving you with a perfectly thick delicious mix of pulp and juice.

Food mill: basics

A food mill is a widely-known kitchen item that has a pretty straightforward design and is used for separating food from skins and seeds, pureeing, and grinding. It consists of three parts such as a metal blade that is attached to a hand crank, a grinding plate with a sieve, and a bowl. Design can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but mostly food mills have feet on the base of the bowl, two ears in addition to the handle for you to hold it firmly while rotating the crank.

The food is placed on the plate, and while you are turning the hand crank, the food is forced through holes in the plate. Juices and pulp is sieved and is poured into the bowl while all seeds and skins are left on the plate.

The plate can be permanent, or you can place changeable perforated sieving discs if you plan to use the food mill not only for tomatoes. Plates with bigger holes give you coarser pieces of food, while plates with smaller holes will give you smoother purees.

All unnecessary debris is brought to the top of the grinding plate by a reverse motion of the hand crank. Therefore you can use skins, seeds, and other pieces as compost or simply throw them into the trash bin.

Choosing the best food mill

There are several things that you need to keep in mind when choosing the best food mill for tomatoes, such as material, capacity, interchangeable discs, and convenience while operating.

These days, the market is full of food mills of different designs and materials. You can find food mills made from plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel. Ones that are made from plastic are suitable if you plan to mill small quantities of tomatoes as those mills are rather small. But if you need a lot of tomato sauce, you should check those food mills that are made from stainless steel as they are durable, safe, and dishwasher friendly.

As it was said previously, if you need to make a lot of tomato sauce, you should think about choosing a larger food mill. Food mills with bigger capacities will be a good choice because you won’t need to make smaller batches, and the process will take you a shorter amount of time.

Having interchangeable disks is a good option as the food mill can puree not only tomatoes but also other vegetables and fruits. By that, you can choose the level of smoothness you need for a particular recipe.

As cooking sometimes can be a tiresome and lasting process, it is totally okay to look for a kitchen item that is easy to operate. Search for a food mill that has additional handles or loops that let it hold it comfortably. Also, those that have feet on the bowl let you place it firmly over the pot or saucepan. Do not forget to check if the blade is moving closer to the bottom of the grating plate. Otherwise, you will need to apply extra force to push the food through the holes, which is a rather unwanted outcome. 

Using food mill for tomatoes

Pureeing tomatoes with the help of a food mill is effortless and requires only a bit of cooking. The first and the most important thing that you need to do is to choose tomatoes that are perfect for the job. Ideally, you can find them at the fresh market. Tomatoes will be ripe and soft to touch. You may also ask for those with a low water content or a bit bruised.

Raw tomatoes

Depending on the size of the tomatoes, you can either chop them in halves and quarters if tomatoes are small. If you have large tomatoes, then you should chop them in halves, quarters, and then to even smaller bits. Chopping is important because you need tomatoes to start releasing juices. If tomatoes have bruises, you should just cut off those parts.

Place your food mill over a desired container, bowl, pot, or saucepan. With the help of the spoon, put the tomatoes into the plate and start turning the crank. Tomatoes’ pulp and juice will fall through into the container, giving you the desirable puree. When you are finished with pureeing, all tomatoes’ debris will be left in the food mill. You can add them to your compost or throw them in a trash bin.

Boiled or steamed tomatoes

You may need to boil or steam tomatoes if their flesh and skin is too solid. In this case, after you rinse the tomatoes, you need to make thin cuts on their skin. Afterward, you have to put them into boiling water or in a container for steaming. After some time, usually, no more than 5 minutes, tomatoes will be ready to be peeled.

You should turn off the heat, place the saucepan or pot with boiled tomatoes under the cold water and let them sit till they are cold to touch. Afterward, you can peel them and put them in the food mill.

If you want to apply less effort while milling the tomatoes, you can leave them to boil a little bit longer till their pulp will be mushy to touch. Then, put them under cold water, wait for a few minutes, peel their skin, and put them in the food mill.


We hope that now you have some understanding of how to use a food mill for tomatoes in order to make the most delicious sauce ever. Summing up, there are two main components to milling tomatoes such as a food mill with a large capacity and ripe tomatoes. If tomatoes are a bit sturdy, you can boil or steam them to peel and mill them easily. Milling is a very straightforward process, as you have to put chopped tomatoes in the food mill and start turning the hand crank. After the sauce is ready, don’t forget to get rid of their debris in the compost or a trash bin.

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