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Old Fashioned Food Grinder Mill ~ Making Applesauce and Choke Cherry Jelly

Updated on September 4, 2016


An old fashioned cone shaped food mill / grinding mill strainer with stand and a wooden pestle given to me by my grandmother when my husband and I moved to Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin from Houston, Texas in the 1970's was put to good use!

I made many a pint jar of home canned choke cherry jelly and quart jars were filled after making applesauce and preserving that also by water bath canning methods.

My grandmother had given us her old canning equipment and plenty of old but still useful mason jars that were in her basement.

Another type of vintage food mill was also in my possession (also a hand-me-down) but with the stand on this Wearever old fashioned aluminum food mill which nicely placed the cone strainer over bowls which would easily capture the pressed juice and ground pulp of the fruit, this became my favorite choice to use.

Old cone shaped food mill with wooden pestle

Old cone shaped food mill with stand and pestle given to me from my grandmother.
Old cone shaped food mill with stand and pestle given to me from my grandmother. | Source

Apple Sauce Recipe

Food Mill

New Star 42566 3-Piece Stainless Steel Chinois Strainer Set
New Star 42566 3-Piece Stainless Steel Chinois Strainer Set

This is modern but similar to the old fashioned food mill given to me by my grandmother.


Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

I practiced backyard organic gardening when my husband and I lived in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin many years ago.

That garden was terrific and produced so much nutritious and tasty food not only for the two of us but it was shared with many other people as well.

One of our good neighbors who had several acres of land and their own large garden invited me to split the purchase of several bushels of different types of apples one year. She regularly made applesauce for her family of five and it made me remember the days of my childhood when I grew up eating homemade applesauce.

Those wonderful days of opening the mason jars filled with pink hued and delicious applesauce made from the efforts of my mother came to mind.

Since I had already learned the water bath canning method of preserving home grown tomatoes after planting 43 tomato plants that first year in our garden!... I decided to start making my own applesauce as well.

Homemade applesauce is so much better than the canned or jarred varieties that one typically purchases in grocery stores.

One can adjust the sweetness and any flavorings to one's taste.

Thus my making of homemade applesauce was launched thanks to my neighbor Char, and also with gratitude to my grandma who had given us her canning and food mill equipment that she no longer intended to use.

This video below explains how to accomplish this water bath canning beautifully!

Tips for Water-Bath Canning for Dummies

Food Mill

OXO Good Grips Food Mill
OXO Good Grips Food Mill

I am also blessed to have an older version of this type of food mill from my grandmother.


Homemade applesauce recipe

Making homemade applesauce is so very easy!

My neighbor and I used a combination of apples. The same types that are good for pie recipes also make for great use in applesauce.

The video above shows making applesauce in a slow cooker with no water added. I simply cooked my apples with water added in a kettle after using the food mill to separate out the apple skins and seeds.

The only caveat I would suggest is to taste the applesauce first before automatically adding sugar and add any sugar gradually because it all depends upon the sweetness of the apples one is using as to how much sugar is needed to make it palatable.

For diabetics, sugar substitutes could be utilized...and this "to taste."

For those who wish to see another person make and preserve applesauce from start to finish, the video below is for you.

Making and Canning Applesauce

Picking choke cherries

There I am picking choke cherries from our tree in the front yard.
There I am picking choke cherries from our tree in the front yard. | Source

How to Make Jelly and Jam

Making Choke Cherry Jelly Part 1

How to Can Jam and Jelly


On our half acre lot in Wisconsin Rapids were a couple of choke cherry trees in our front yard and one in the backyard.

Those ripened chokecherries that turned from red to black as they matured attracted many birds who happily fed on them.

They also made some great tasting jelly!

Once I learned that the chokecherries were edible and also high in antioxidants, I put my grandmother's grinding mill to further use.

For those who may not be familiar with the choke cherry, it is related to regular cherries that grow much larger but the taste is somewhere between a concord grape and black cherry flavor if I were to describe it once made into jelly.

The large seed in the center takes up most of the room with the flesh of the chokecherry being minimal in comparison. The pea sized chokecherries grow in clusters.

After picking the berries, washing them and cooking them in a kettle of water, they were put through my grandmother's old fashioned cone shaped food mill.

A huge amount of seeds and skins were collected in the food mill grinder as that rich dark juice was gathered in the bowl under the mill grinder.

Chokecherries are less tart when fully ripened, but they do take quite a bit of sugar to make a good jelly out of them.

Several links are provided for exact recipes if you are fortunate enough to be able to pick your own wild chokecherries and wish to make jelly.

We actually moved several jars of my homemade chokecherry jelly back to Houston when my husband took on a new job assignment and were able to share them with our family members in Texas.

Old fashioned food grinding mill

Old fashioned grinding food mill
Old fashioned grinding food mill | Source

For those who have already read about my husband's and my home in Wisconsin Rapids and our backyard organic gardening adventures, this hub about the old fashioned grinding mill given to me from my grandmother and my learning how to make my own homemade applesauce and choke cherry jelly simply rounds out some of our delights about living in the country and reaping the goodness coming from Mother Earth.

Hope you enjoyed this look back in time. We cherish those memories!

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Old fashioned food mill and wooden pestle

Wooden pestle ready for use in the food mill
Wooden pestle ready for use in the food mill | Source

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5 out of 5 stars from 7 ratings of Using a food mill to make applesauce & more

© 2011 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 12 months ago from Houston, Texas

      You are welcome Robert. :)

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 12 months ago

      Thank you.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 13 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Robert,

      There are more modern food grinders than the one pictured from my grandmother...but yes, they are still necessary for some projects like removing skins and seeds when making jelly for example.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 13 months ago

      When it comes to grinding do you think the old way is still the best way?

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Phyllis Chaney,

      Just write this in a search engine: Old fashioned food mill with wooden pestle. My article pops up on Google in the #3 position and in the top one (as of right now) are images of ones for sale ranging from $19.99 to $32.19. Hope that helps!

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