The 10 Best Potato Mashers
The Best Uses For Potato Mashers
Potato mashers are obviously named for their most common use: making mashed potatoes. Yet far from being an idle tool in their spare time, potato mashers actually have many other uses that will make them a staple in any kitchen. After boiling broccoli or cauliflower for a thick soup, a potato masher is the perfect way to break the vegetables into chunks without completely pureeing them. Many people commonly do this with a simple metal fork, but these often wind up bending in the process. Forks also don't have a very large surface area. Replacing the additional work often required by choosing the wrong kitchen utensil for the job can potentially prevent kitchen related carpal-tunnel syndrome if done often enough.
Parents making their own baby food will find a potato masher indispensable for quickly creating entire batches of food. Potato mashers are especially useful for a baby’s transition into solid foods. You can gently mash boiled foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash, to create food full of important dietary fiber that also requires the baby to chew just enough to get their bodies used to the process. Potato mashers are also useful for creating a smoother blend for a baby that is not quite ready to make the switch to chewable foods.
Home made veggie burgers are also extremely simple to make with a potato masher. This is usually done using a base of cooked beans, such as kidney beans or black beans. Then you add chunks of lightly cooked vegetables, along with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like. Next, you shape the mixture into patties and grill them or cook them on a stovetop, just like any other burger.
History Of The Potato Masher
Potatoes are intricately linked to European cultures. The Irish, Polish, and Belarusian people all claim the potato as their own, though the potato actually had its start halfway across the world. People have cultivated the potato for thousands of years, starting with the ancient Aymara Natives in the Andean Mountains of South America. It is said the Aymaran people developed over 200 different potato cultivars well before the Incan Empire took them over. They were even able to detect the tiniest levels of glycoalkaloids in potatoes to determine their safety and quality. It is still unknown whether the ancient Aymaran culture had their own versions of the potato masher.
The potato was not introduced to Europe until the 16th century, when the Spanish conquered the Incan Empire. Yet it would still not catch on for decades, largely due to superstition and wives tales, such as potatoes causing leprosy. It was the outspoken potato fan Antoine-Augustin Parmentier who would eventually win the Europeans over. His work brought mashed potatoes into the spotlight, and soon after the first potato masher was officially invented. Early potato mashers were club-like pieces of wood that were crude but effective. They are still used in some parts of the world, where they are commonly called potato beetles.
The modern potato masher is actually over 150 years old. Lee Copeman is credited with inventing the potato masher as it is commonly known. Since that time, people have made numerous improvements on the potato masher. New and unique designs often boast the ability to create the smoothest mashed potatoes more quickly than any other model. There are various grips and handles, different materials, and even ergonomically designed mashers created to reduce the impact on the body. Advanced technology may yet take us to new heights, even with seemingly simple tools like potato mashers.
Are Potatoes Healthy Or Unhealthy?
For some people, the thought of using a potato masher brings to mind only the horrors of the potato. Potatoes are often treated as empty carbs, and it is commonly believed that the average potato is devoid of nutrients. This is a complete myth that was fervently perpetuated by people swept into the low carb diet craze around the early 2000s, and it has been taken as fact ever since.
In actuality, potatoes are a dietary staple that has helped human kind thrive for thousands of years. They are a great source of energy, and are packed with nutrients. Far from the empty calories common myth suggests, the average white potato provides around 12 percent of the recommended daily intake for potassium, and over 14 percent of the RDI for vitamin C. Potatoes are also good sources of vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. They are also very low in sodium.
Adding potatoes to the diet is known to help keep the body satiated better than other carbohydrates. They exceed the recommended levels for the essential amino acids lysine, methionine, threonine,and tryptophan. The average potato has less protein than other staple foods, like corn and pasta, but the protein it does have is much more bioavailable than similar proteins. The average potato also provides four grams of filling dietary fiber.
Potatoes are a rich source of phytochemical antioxidants. Compounds like ascorbic acid, phenolic acid, and other polyphenols play an important role in the heath of regular potato consumers. Their high carbohydrate content provides the body with stores of energy to burn, but even with this high ratio of carbohydrates, the average potato still only contains about 160 calories.
There is a small sliver of truth to the potato myth, however. What goes into the potato can largely determine how useful it is for the body. Deep fried potatoes do account for a large amount of the average American’s intake of potatoes, and this added oil can mean a less healthy snack. Likewise, when most people think of using a potato masher, it is to blend in heaps of butter and milk to make creamy mashed potatoes. This can add a lot of unnecessary calories to an otherwise healthy food. Luckily, you can make delicious mashed potatoes by adding spices, olive oil, and a pinch of salt, rather than hundreds of calories in butter and cream.