Friday, October 11, 2013

The Applesauce-Making-Things Face Off

I retrieved my tried-and-true chinois sets from their shelf above the freezer, and decided which one to use.  My own old one has a broken handle, and, from the looks of it, had, inadvisably, been washed in the dishwasher, leaving its finish dull.  That gave me the feeling, right or not (probably the latter), that it might leach aluminum into the applesauce, so I chose the shiny one for the competition.

It was competing against my friend's food mill.  

She had described it as "really large," but I tend to forget that, as a mother of 8, my definition of "really large" can be different than that of a mother of 3.  To me the 2-quart contraption looked sort of average, since I was imagining something that would dispatch a (16-qt) potful of apples with a  couple of turns of the handle.  Since, I think, this is as large as mills come, and my imaginings were on the ridiculously fantastical level, I adjusted my expectations. - I was certainly appreciated the loan, and happy to have it to help.  It looked on par, sizewise, with the chinois sieves.

First, I compared the set up.  The chinois stand limits the size of bowl that can be used to catch the applesauce.  The frame is only so wide, so the bowl must be narrower.  Also, height can be a problem, since a tall bowl pulls the legs up off the counter, and gives the whole set-up the opportunity to tip.

The mill, however, hooks onto the sides of any container, so it will adapt to whatever you have.  I'd say the mill definitely gets the a point for this important feature.

I measured 1 quart of the cooked apple mess into my sieve.  Within a minute, I'd use "the bat thing" in a circular, and sometimes, up and down motion to squish the sauce through the holes, leaving the seeds, stems, skins, etc. behind.  There was a good coating on the outside of the sieve that I had to scrape off with a rubber spatula.  A little messy, but not too much of a chore. 

Next, I added the same amount of cooked apple to the mill.  I turned the handle, and in a minute had applesauce in the bowl, but there was a wad of apple and skins still following the handle around the inside of the mill.  

I found that the problem was that the bottom was lined with apple skins.  The skins were pretty much burnished and pressed into the mess, which made it difficult to clean out in order to finish the batch.  The only place this tool excelled was in having the wire on the bottom to whisk off the applesauce as it came out.  But, frankly, it wasn't really a perfect answer, as there was still applesauce I felt I could save by running over the surface with a spatula.

I was still thinking the attached handle of the mill and the wire underneath gave it some added points over the chinois, until Princess Sassy came in and presented some important information.  She was confused by looking at my set-up.  She said that the last time she made applesauce, she was able to turn/spin the sieve against wires on the side of the frame to clean it off...

Sure enough, the frame to my original set had different sides than the frame I found at my in-laws' home.  I switched frames, turned the sieve after pressing some apples, and Voila!  The applesauce was cleaned from the sides and it ran down the frame into the bowl.

The last thing I compared was ease of cleaning.  It was easy to scrape out the apple scraps left in the sieve.  For the mill, though, in order to get all out from under the blade-like part, and out of the crevices around the screw that holds in the wire, I had to take it apart.  It was messy and a little difficult to unscrew.  Not terrible, but definitely more work than the chinois set.  And the little wire piece would be a losing-hazard in our house.

The clear winner, for me in this moment, was the chinois set.  I can see that IF I'd peeled the apples, it could have easily been a tie.  

"I'm not smart, but I like to observe.  Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why."  -  Bernard M. Baruch

31 Days at The Nesting Place

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