The picture above shows a typical hand crank food mill. These things are quite handy to have and can really cut down on the amount of labor/energy it takes to turn apples into apple sauce, tomatoes into tomato sauce, berries into jellies, etc. I only have experience using them to make apple sauce...
To use this type of mill to make apple sauce, you first have to wash the apples, quarter them (I also cored them) and then cook them. One that is done, you put them in this machine and they mash the fruit into the bowl it is sitting on and the skin/core stays in the mil and plugs up the holes... eventually you have to spin it backwards and throw out the skins and cores.
While this was a great improvement over the blender/food processor, there is yet a better option!
The Food Strainer and Sauce Maker
There is obviously a wide range of prices you can pay. But since I have used a Back 2 Basics that I borrowed from a colleague, that is what I went with. At this point I'll let you in on a secret...
The nice folks over at chefscatalog.com are currently selling this thing for $31.97 including tax and $0 shipping. Get yours by clicking here. (I don't do affiliate links if you are worried about that.)
Now why is that such an awesome deal? Well aside from that fact that it typically costs $100, this thing really speeds things up! No longer do I have to mess with emptying the core/skin from the food mill... or coring the apples. Now, after I cook them, I drop the apples in to this thing and crank away! (My kids aren't quite there yet, but my eldest tried his best this past year to help!)
The nice thing is that, as you can see above, the stuff I want drips down the white tray and into a bowl or stock pot, while the stuff I don't want gets pushed out the end through the clear plastic funnel into another bowl, perfect for the composting. This is a continual process of feeding and cranking... only stopping when I need to empty a bowl or cook more apples!
Another nice thing about these food strainer (and sauce makers) is that they can be adapted to other uses. There are berry screens that spit out the seeds (Diverticulitis anyone?), salsa screens for chunky tomatoes, and pumpkin screens for making pumpkin filling or processing winter squash! Oh, and don't forget the grape spiral shown above... it's supposed to juice grapes with seeds... but rumor has it these machines don't work so well for that process... I'll let you know if I ever try it out!
Can you do that with a Foley food mill? Maybe... but it's still more time and energy.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts!