I received as a gift this machine, which I am told is used to make spaghetti sauce. I believe that its purpose is to remove the skin of the tomatoes, but it simply looks like a grater....

Can someone explain to me how to use it and when I should use which size of grater? Should the tomatoes be boiled first or not?

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1 Answer 1


That's a manually operated Food Mill/Ricer/Puree-Maker.
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The Wikipedia Article for Food Mill shows a pic of the same model you have and from that article:

Uses of a food mill include removing the seeds from cooked tomatoes, removing pulp or larger pieces from foods (creating apple jelly or any type of purée), and making mashed potatoes or spätzle.

It's not likely that you could uses this for peeling the skin from tomatoes though.

  • 3
    If the seeds don't go through, I'd imagine that the skin wouldn't either. You won't end up with whole peeled tomatoes, but if you're making sauce, that's not necessary.
    – Catija
    Feb 21, 2018 at 19:17
  • 1
    Skins and seeds build up on the screen, and then you run the mill backwards for a turn to scrape them off the screen as they block it up (we used it more for applesauce, and I decided that I prefer to peel and core the apples so I can make chunky sauce rather than "do it the way we did growing up" with one of these.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 21, 2018 at 19:22
  • You can also find manuals for some models, which will often include tips about what to use each grater size for. But generally it's not anything too surprising; your intuition about how fine a grater you need will work well.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 21, 2018 at 19:47
  • 2
    @brhans has very well and concisely explained the what and for what part of the question. But maybe there is still room to address the how part? The way it works is that you cut the tomatoes into quarters, but it in a pan, cover and let it simmer for some minutes, until completely soft. Then pass through the mill. To remove only the skin, the coarser attachment is fine, but it will let some seeds go through. For a completely clean puree, use the finer. The result will be a very thin puree. For a commercial style result, just boil until thick (~40m). Feb 22, 2018 at 18:35

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