Speaking about making tomato puree, the process involved, especially when using a food mill, is very straightforward and simple. But there are several questions people ask online about using a food mill for tomatoes such as ‘Do you cook tomatoes before using a food mill?’
So must tomatoes be cooked before using a food mill? There is little or no cooking required for tomatoes when using a food mill, it all depends on the state of tomatoes, and in most cases, your recipe. The purpose of boiling the tomatoes quickly before using a food mill is to break down the flesh and make it easy to remove the skin.
But since a food mill is a food sieve or hand-crank device that does not just puree or grind but separates the food from the skin, seeds, and smooth purees, either boiling or no boiling before using a food mill will have no negative effect on the result.
Tomatoes that should be used for food mill without boiling should be one that is ripe and going a little soft to the touch.
A food mill is a low tech appliance that can be helpful in several ways. From preparing sauces to soups, and mash foodstuffs like vegetables, potatoes, and so on, the appliance works great in sieving them to your desired consistency.
The job of a food mill is vastly different from a blender or food processor and it is especially ideal for tomato puree. You can see that no one can ask whether it is possible to boil tomatoes before using them in a blender.
I do not think there is anyone who does not love having a traditional and fresh taste in their meal. This is posing a superiority to those bland restaurant food tastes.
What strikes the difference is that when cooking at home, we tend to use traditional utensils or tools that help process our ingredients in such a way that the natural taste, the flavor, and the nutritional contents will all be preserved.
If you are part of the smart cooks who use a food mill to bring out the original taste from your sauce or apple juice, then you won’t be in the room of people who wonder why the tool remains one of the best tools for making tomato puree.
Factors to consider before using a food mill for either raw or boiled tomatoes
Just before you choose anyhow food mill, and begin to use them, you want to make sure you are making the right choice such that you are sure that the food mill is safe and efficient. To ensure all these, here are the important factors to consider when choosing a food mill to buy or use for tomatoes.
What material is the food mill made of?
There are different materials you will see being used to make some Food mills. While some are made of plastics, other models are made of either stainless steel or aluminum.
Some food mills feature wooden hand crank. So if you are buying a food mill for pureeing tomatoes in small batches, then you can go for ones made with plastic materials because most of them are not all that big.
Above all, I recommend you choose a food mill that is made with stainless steel outer casing and materials as they are considered healthy, safe, durable, and in most cases, dish-washer-friendly
Consider the capacity of the food mill
Your choice on the capacity of the food mill will depend on the volume of tomatoes you plan on pureeing regularly with the food mill and how fast you want all these done.
If you choose to invest in one of those food mills with a large-capacity food mill, it will save you time and allow you to be able to make more in one batch.
Also, there will be little or no spillage when using a large size capacity of a food mill. The only downside is that they usually cost a few more bucks.
Is it easy to assemble?
This applies to any other kitchen appliance or tool you are going to buy in the future too. Make sure that the food mill you are using to puree tomatoes is easy to assemble for easy cleaning and storage.
Does it feature Interchangeable Discs?
You are not going to be needing your food mill for only tomatoes. They have been made to puree other types of food. So ensure that the food mill you are using has different disc gauges with diverse degrees of fineness or smoothness.
The interchangeable disc allows you to change towards the level of smoothness you want to achieve at that particular time.
It should have a sturdy handle
This applies to a non-electric food mill that features a hand crank handle. You want to make sure that the food mil you are using for raw tomatoes especially are study enough and they allow latching for you to mill to the bowl.
How to use a food mill to puree tomatoes
It is advised that the ideal type of tomatoes that should be used for food mill are ones that are fresh and ripe, and has low water content. Use tomatoes that have a little soft to the touch.
Also, there are two ways to talk about the steps involved in pureeing tomatoes with a food mill. One, the use of raw tomatoes, two, the use of boiled tomatoes. Raw tomatoes for a start:
Food mill for raw tomatoes
- First of all, wash the tomatoes in running water to make sure that there are no germs or specks of dirt on the skin of the tomatoes.
- After that use knife and a chopping board to chop the tomatoes into halves or quarters. This will help release the juice.
- If you are using a hand crank food mill, place the tool on a large mixing bowl such that pureed tomatoes will fall into them once they drop off from the food mill.
- Begin to churn the tomatoes as you spoon the chopped ones.
- You know the drill and how the smooth result will come out
- After milling, make sure the seeds and skin that is left in the food mill are washed away and taken to the bin so that it doesn’t smell.
Using a food mill for boiled or steamed tomatoes
Like I have mentioned earlier, steaming or boiling tomatoes before pureeing them with a food mill is to break down the flesh, then remove the skin with ease.
- To go about this, first boil for much longer to soften the pulp, making it mushy-mushy
- Turn off the heat to cool the tomatoes down and then run cold water on them.
- Gently remove the skin from the tomatoes and transfer them into the food mill.
- Grind the tomatoes slowly until the last batch.
Some people prefer to whirl the tomatoes in a blender before right before transferring them into the food mill so as not to waste time with all the boiling and steaming story.
What are the other uses of a food mill?
As you already know through this post the food mill can be used in preparing smooth tomato sauce and apple sauce. You will also be able to add hot, unpeeled, or unskinned fruits or vegetables to the mill and the result will be the opposite.
If you have a food mill, making baby food and puréeing for people who are on soft food diets for chewing or swallowing difficulties will now be something you can do without spending too much or wasting too much time.
To make the perfect Duchesse potatoes or other puréed items, you need tools like a food mill or a potato ricer.
There are many reasons why you should use a food mill as it comes with numerous benefits.
First, fo all, when you consider how simple they are to use and how efficient food mills are, you will see that they will be of great help for both hot and cold foods.
In my last post where I explained how to care and maintain for your food mill, I mentioned that most of the modern food mill that I have reviewed are dishwasher safe, making the cleaning process seemingly simple.
Foods like tomatoes that are prepared with food mills can be stored for the long term because you will be able to freeze it immediately after milling instead of waiting for it to settle.
With a food mill, you can be sure that your sauce is free from gritty bits of seeds and skin. This can not be said with a blender or food processor because none of them has been designed to strain out seeds and skins.
The result from a food processor, when compared with that from a food mill may be gritty texture in sauces and purees.
There is no doubt that the perfect tool for pureeing large quantities of tomatoes for tomato-based sauces remains a food mill.
Now that you have seen how they can be used for both steamed and raw tomatoes, and how smooth the result will be, you can be sure that the result will gladden you.
The only common problem I can tell you about food mills is that they usually clog up pretty quickly. But this, too, depends on the volume of tomatoes or food item you put into the food mill.
Frequently Asked Questions on Food Mill for Tomatoes
What is the best food mill for tomatoes?
One of the best food mills used by most chefs and home cooks is the OXO Good Grips Food Mill. It does all the work of a food mill which includes straining and pureeing foods into tomato sauce, applesauce, fruit jams, and more. There are also another amazing choice of food mills to choose from as I have reviewed in this post HERE.
What can I use instead of a food mill?
If you do not have a food mill, or you can not afford it at the moment, the good news is that there are likely to be substituted. You can either use a food processor, a blender, strainer, and spoon or a potato ricer. But the truth is that none of this appliance can do the perfect job of a food mill, but they suffice.
Is a food mill necessary to make tomato sauce?
Making tomato sauce does not compulsory requires a food mill or any other mechanical strainer. But what if you are dealing with large quantities of sauce? It saves time and effort to adopt the use of time-saving low tech tools like food mills.
Another plus is that the appliance is very simple to us and when it purees your tomatoes, it removes the seed and skins while keeping all the good nutrients in the sauce.
How can I remove tomato seeds without using a food mill?
There is one trick I can show you that will help you remove the tomato seeds, even without using a food mill. You will first need to boil the tomatoes for a minute, afterwards, put them in a bowl of ice water (this will seize the cooking process of the tomatoes)
At this point, it will be easier to peel away the skin and the seeds will now be able to easily remove with a spoon after you cut them in half.