Forgotten Kitchen Gadgets

Need an excuse to hit the thrift stores or garage sales? Plan to add these handy gadgets to your kitchen.

Two small custard cups with vanilla ice cream topped with homemade peach butter and a spoon in each cup.

Foley Food Mill on top of bowl with pureed peaches in bowl and peels in food mill.Some of these forgotten gadgets may bring back childhood memories of Grandma’s kitchen and delicious foods.

These kitchen tools may be antique or bought new, but they still earn their keep in the kitchen. It is time to dust them off and put them back to work!

Do you know about the Foley Food Mill? If your making jams, fruit butters, or any type of puréed foods, your gonna wanna use one of these. Why? Because it saves you time.

We recently made peach butter from over ripe peaches. Half bushel box of over ripe peaches.We washed the peaches, cut off any really bad spots, quartered and pitted the peaches, and put them in the pan to cook with some liquid. We didn’t peel them which saved a lot of time. When the peaches were tender, we ran them through the food mill. To operate the food mill you turn the crank which makes the blades turn and the blades push the food through the sieve holes in the bottom of the food mill. The skins stay in the bowl. After a bit, the skins clog the bowl. When this happens, you turn the crank handle in the opposite direction and the “gunk” is scraped from the bottom of the food mill bowl. Remove it and put in your compost or garbage. It’s that easy. If you are making applesauce, it’s ok to not worry about removing seeds prior to cooking the apples as the food mill will catch them. When all of your fruit is puréed, your ready to eat it or prep for your jam making. Our peaches prepared this way made a great peach jam — which really turned out closer to a butter. It was delicious! You can read more about our overripe peach workup at the “Foley Food Mill is your BFF for Making Jam” post. My husband has used the Foley with tomatoes, peaches, cherries, pears, apples, and plums.

You can buy the Foley Food Mill new online, but we like the older ones better. Keep your eyes open at thrift stores and garage sales. We’ve seen three sizes of food mill and prefer the medium size. (Note: the butter knife in gadget pictures is for size reference.) Foley Food Mills are easy to clean. There is a screw on the bottom that allows you to remove the handle/blade portion to separate it from the bowl. Wash and dry the food mill to prevent rust.

Another great kitchen tool is the potato masher. Pictured here is a galvanized cast iron version. Butter knife for scale and galvanized cast iron potato masher. Round masher bottom with many small holes in it.Mashers can also be made of heavy wire or a combination of wire and pressed metal. You use it to hand mash potatoes or turnips. You could also use it to mash cauliflower if you’re making mock potato salad for low carb or Keto. To use this tool, just mash it down on your cooked and drained vegetables over and over until you are satisfied with the consistency. Of course, you can add other ingredients like butter, milk, and spices and continue to mash. This tool works great for mashing vegetables in soups too. We have used it to stamp the top of Christmas fudge candy so we could tell the orange chocolate pieces from other flavors. The light stamp left little “o’s” on the fudge. When you use this, clean it right away. You do not want dried food in those holes. Use a tooth pick if needed to scrap each hole. Dry the masher to prevent rust.Butter knife for scale and small and medium sized glass custard cups, one each.

The third and last forgotten gadget in this post is the humble custard cup. Note, I’ll be sharing more forgotten kitchen gadgets in a future post. My introduction to the custard cup came in my one required college cooking class. We used custard cups to premeasure ingredients. Then, when it was time to mix a recipe, adding ingredients flowed easily. Now, occasionally, I will premeasure things like spices or vanilla. In this cooking class I also learned to make pop overs and we baked them in glass custard cups. Popovers are an easy treat to make.

Two small custard cups with vanilla ice cream topped with homemade peach butter and a spoon in each cup.We usually use custard cups and little bowls to eat snacks and desserts from. They are a nice portion size. The picture showcases our homemade peach butter on vanilla ice cream — yum! Currently, I have 2 sizes on my kitchen shelf: small and medium. I have had the large, cereal bowl size in the past. You can trip across glass custard cups at thrift stores and garage sales. I prefer them in glass but I think I’ve seen plastic ones at discount retailers. Pyrex and Fire King are nice brands I have used. Also, the small cups are great for item catchers in drawers or on counters. Put rings and other jewelry you want to temporarily take off and not lose in these cups.

In summary:

Foley Food Mill: purée fruits, easier jam prep
Potato Masher: mash vegetables in soup or to prep mashed dishes
Glass Custard Cups: premeasure food ingredients, portion control, item catchers, bake popovers

Need an excuse to hit the thrift stores or garage sales? Plan to add these handy gadgets to your kitchen. Both the food mill and masher are great if you are someplace without access to electricity.
What is your favorite forgotten kitchen gadget?

Author: Cindy Avery

Retired from education, Cindy still likes to learn and enjoys sharing useful and unique information. She hopes to encourage others in their learning journey.

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