Baby food and the Foley Food Mill

I ran into somebody who works in advertising. He sold me on a Mirro Foley Stainless Steel Food Mill, even though he has no financial interest in my buying one. I guess he is just good at his job, eh?

The main selling point of this rather simple, clunky item is that it's great for making homemade baby food CHEAP. The clincher was when the guy said, "As I used it, I could just feel the amount of money I was saving by not buying the stuff in jars. My freezer was FULL of baby food. Plus, if you have guests over and need a side dish, everybody loves pureed sweet potatoes." Also he told me that you don't have to peel or core anything beforehand. The food mill will strain out the seeds and skins and stuff for you. Oh man, I had to have it!

Purchased at Brown & Roberts

So here's what I do to make baby food. I am not into ice cube trays, so I've come up with the "frozen globs" method.

First, cook the food. I'm mostly talking vegetables here, or tree fruits. You can bake it (works well for butternut squash--halve it, scrape out seeds, put facedown on foil, bake). You can steam it (carrots & yams). I'm sure you could also boil it.

Then, put your food in the Foley Food Mill and start cranking. This part is a little uncertain for me. The box did not have any instructions. (I did find a PDF of vintage instructions online.) Basically, turn the mill 3-4 times the "right" way, then turn it once backward to clear it. Repeat. And repeat. This is an old-fashioned machine and it does take elbow grease. It takes me at least 5 minutes to mill any particular vegetable.

Next, I spoon globs of the puree onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment. I place it in the freezer for a day or so. Then, I label a freezer bag, pile the frozen globs in there, and stash it back in the freezer. I thaw one glob at a time by popping it in a small container and refrigerating. Amazing!

At $35 I really need this thing to pay for itself, and I think it's working. The organic hippie baby food I would normally buy costs 80 cents a jar, and a jar is probably about the same as one glob. So I'd need to make 44 globs to replace that number of jars. I'm pretty sure I've done that already. From here on, it's all gravy!

A closeup of some globs. Isn't this yam strange? It is something Japanese--purplish outside, surprising yellow-green inside. The baby loves it fortunately.

Side note: The food mill is also good for mashed potatoes of course, and for making fine applesauce. Another useful discovery--I bought a can of whole tomatoes because it was on sale, and turned it into tomato puree because that's what I actually needed.

Have you ever used a food mill like this? And/or made your own baby food?

1 comment:

Katharina said...

Hey Katherine,
Wow that takes me back. We used to use one like that for making 100 jars of tomato sauce each year when I was a kid. Also applesauce and I think we even ran the Quince jam through there.
As I recall at the time I had a heck of a time balancing it on top of the pot I was pureeing in to and my arm got VERY tired but then we were mass producing.
I love your idea for baby food. Lucky tyke! Looks simply delicious.