If you’ve got room in your kitchen for one more gadget, Apartment Therapy recommends investing in a good old-fashioned food mill:

Food mills puree foods, similar to the job a food processor would do, but they also strain away seeds and skins at the same time. A food mill is used to puree fruits and vegetables including squash purees, mashed potatoes, and baby food. Most food mills are hand-powered, keeping delicate or starchy foods from becoming over-worked.

The Veg Box Diaries recommends passing tomato sauce through a food mill, and blogger Kathi of Welcome to My Garden shares an applesauce recipe that kids can help push through the food mill. This tool can help make homemade baby food, as well as gourmet items. New York chef Marco Canora, who spent a few years cooking at Craft and then opened his own restaurant, Hearth, in 2004, is a serious food-mill user. Years ago, at a cooking demonstration I attended, he gleefully churned out cloudlike gnocchi and silken fish purées with the help of this trusty gadget. In an interview with the New York Times, Canora explains:

A food mill is great because beyond the typical applications of passing tomatoes for sauce or potatoes for gnocci, you can use it to process fish scraps, thereby achieving a creamy and sinew-free texture.

The food mill can also stand in for a juicer, as it does in Deborah Madison’s recipe for fresh grape juice. Originally published in her cookbook, Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets, it’s online at the Food Network’s Feeding Frenzy blog.

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