From Season 2: Winter Dinner
Food mills were popular with our grandmothers but were pushed aside as electric food processors and blenders appeared on the scene. Yet neither of those highfalutin contraptions can perform quite like a food mill. A food mill is a cross between a food processor and a sieve. You turn the handle and an angled blade presses the contents of the mill through a perforated disk, keeping any pesky remnants like seeds or skin safely out of your puree. Unlike a food processor or blender, however, a food mill does not incorporate air into the puree, thereby altering its texture.
The result is a denser puree that is ideal for foods like applesauce or tomato sauce. Many of today's food mills are cleverly designed to fit snugly over a vessel that catches the puree, doing away with the need to awkwardly hold the mill in place with one hand while simultaneously cranking with the other.
We gathered five models, ranging in price from $15 to $90, and tested them by making applesauce in each. Surprisingly, all of the models produced a similar puree: fine, smooth, and free of unwanted material. Our tests thus focused on the food mill itself: how easy it was to crank, how efficiently it processed the apples, and how snugly it fit over a bowl or pot set beneath. One feature we found to be very important was interchangeable disks (fine, medium, and coarse) to adjust the fineness of the puree. The models with a fixed disk not only performed less favorably than their multidisk counterparts but were significantly more difficult to clean.
Our top performer was favored for its "perfect puree in relatively few turns" and the fact that it was "way easy to crank." That it was the best looking of the bunch, with its sleek stainless-steel design, was a bonus. The cheapest model, however, was a strong third-place finisher. It yielded "gorgeous puree" and was thought "very easy to turn." Though the plastic is not as durable as the stainless steel, for occasional use this one is certainly the best value. Ranking at the bottom of our tests were two models. The first lost points for bouncing around on the bowl and for having a fixed disk that made it difficult to clean. The second was deemed "very inefficient," mostly pushing the food around on top of the sieve rather than through it.
Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
|★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★||$19.95|
Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasnt sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|★ ★||★ ★ ★||$99.95|
|Recommended with Reservations|
Mundial Boning Knife: Flexible
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
|★ ★||★ ★||$19.95|
Shun Gokujo Filet Knife
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
MAC Boning KnifeChef Series
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
Messermeister San Moritz Elite Flexible Boning Knife
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.