Worth it: A food mill for tomatoes

Can I just say I love, Love, LOVE my food mill?

We finally got the big batches of Roma tomatoes rolling in a week or so ago, just in time for everything to be killed by a frost.

I spent one afternoon making a batch of tomato sauce. In years past, this involved peeling the tomatoes, cooking them in a pot, pureeing them … and suffering through seeds in the sauce, which give it a bitter flavor.

Then last spring, I found an almost-new food mill for sale on Craigslist. I got the seller to give me the mill and a dehydrator for $50.

I followed L’An’s suggestion to throw the tomatoes into boiling water for a couple minutes to lightly cook them before milling. I figured this would also make the peels come off more easily.

Then I ran the tomatoes through the mill. I think I had about 7 pounds of tomatoes, which filled up the hopper about twice. I kept on cranking until I had those tomatoes all sauced, with the sauce in one bowl …

… and the skins and seeds in another.

I came out with about 4 quarts of tomato sauce, ready to freeze and later turn into pasta sauce or something else delicious, and the whole process only took half an hour or so.

How much easier does a mill make life? A million times? I’ll be using it again soon to polish off the last batch of tomatoes. If only our CSA hadn’t been hit by a hailstorm (eliminating our anticipated bushel of tomatoes), we’d be all set for much of the winter …


4 thoughts on “Worth it: A food mill for tomatoes

  1. badhuman says:

    That looks really handy, I’ll have to see if I can find one on Craigslist or Ebay. I’m still trying to find a pressure canner but as canning becomes more popular the cost even for a used one is going up.

  2. organicneedle says:

    It does look handy. My parents have one that they get a lot of use out of during canning season. I am space challenged and lazy. I just use my immersion blender and zap the whole thing. I have never noticed a bitterness from the seeds. The immersion blender is also great for all those fall squash based soups.

  3. L'an says:

    That looks like a great tomato mill! Ours is just an oxo mill I picked up at BB&B that, alas, does not shoot the skins and seeds out the side like yours (I’m jealous!) but it definitely does the job. Definitely makes the whole saucing thing a zillion times easier!

    And… you picked up a dehydrator too? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the one you’ve got. I’ve been thinking about getting a dehydrator but have felt so overwhelmed by the options/reviews I’ve read, I’ve been stymied at the thought of actually acquiring one. Any guidance?

    @badhuman, you might want to stake out estate sales for a pressure canner. Mine was a hand-me-down from my grandmother and although I had to buy a new seal for it, and spent about $10 getting the pressure gauge checked by the local agricultural extension office, it works beautifully.

  4. Cheap Like Me says:

    @organicneedle – I pureed last year, but my husband of the delicate palate complained about the bitterness every time he ate the tomatoes.

    @L’An – I only dehydrated a couple things — berries, for one, to add to granola. Maybe I should write about it here. I’ve seen them at thrift stores and I think that price would be worth it …

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