What Is A Potato Ricer And Why Do You Need One?
Mixing, whipping, and mashing things are just some of the reasons many chefs suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. A potato ricer eliminates a lot of the work associated with breaking up potatoes. It is an extrusion tool that pushes a boiled potato through a plate filled with holes. The holes are tiny and produce pieces of potato about the size of grains of rice. Many might think of the potato as a rather boring, primitive root vegetable that people have been eating for thousands of years.
There has, however, been a new interest in the potato since it started earning a place in the designer vegetable market. If all that is stopping you from eating more of this food is the tiresome task of cutting and mashing it, a potato ricer can be a big help. To use it, one simply puts a whole, boiled potato into the hopper and presses home on the handles. Most levers on these tools are quite strong, so you don't need to exert much energy.
Since the potato ricer pushes air into the food as it plunges it through the holes, it gives mashed potatoes that wonderfully fluffy, light texture so many people love. A ricer will also ensure your mashed potatoes don't have any lumps, which is nearly impossible to achieve when you hand whip them. Hand mashing potatoes also releases too much of the starch from their cells, and they can end up with a gooey consistency. The less handling the potato goes through, the better, which is why a potato ricer becomes an invaluable tool.
What To Look For In A Potato Ricer
Nutritionists praise the potato for its multiple health benefits, and considering how inexpensive it is, it's worth investing in a tool that makes eating this vegetable easier. If you do like some lumps in your mashed potatoes, look for a ricer with adjustable consistency settings. This will give you the option to choose between the finest, smoothest potatoes, and coarser ones. If you work with particularly large potatoes or want to rice several at once, look for a model with an extra large hopper.
Some ricers have a scoop design that makes it simple to take potatoes directly out of the pot, without using tongs or any other tools. Ideally, one's ricer should be made from food grade silicone or stainless steel; not only are these the safest materials because they don't leak chemicals, but they're also very easy to clean. Since potato can be difficult to clean out of any tool, look for a ricer that is dishwasher friendly. Some ricers are capable of other tasks like making foods that are juiced or pureed, which can be beneficial for people with certain stomach conditions.
If you need to save space, look for a ricer with a loop in the handle so you can hang it up above your counter. Those who prefer their potatoes slightly firmer should look for a ricer with an ergonomic, non-slip grip since they'll need to apply slightly more pressure to push it through the perforations.
Common Dishes Made With A Potato Ricer
A potato ricer is instrumental in the making of several classic recipes with potato filling. Pierogis, an Eastern European food eaten in Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine, are small, semi-circular dumplings filled with a variety of ingredients, from saurkraut, meat, and cheese, to mashed potatoes. They're usually topped with some mixture of fried onions, sour cream, and melted butter. A ricer can achieve the super smooth texture required for potatoes for this dish.
A potato ricer is also great for making potato pancakes. These have been eaten for centuries by several cultures, including the Swiss, Germans, Russians, and Jewish people all over the world. In fact, they are a staple of Hanukkah cuisine. The thickness of the potato strips varies depending on the region where one finds potato pancakes, so if you wanted to experiment with the different types, you would need a potato ricer with interchangeable blades. Potato pancakes can be topped with anything from onions and bacon to jams and cinnamon.
Potatoes have long been part of Irish cuisine, but possibly the most important dish made from the vegetable is colcannon. This is a traditional Irish dish consisting of mashed potatoes, mixed with either cabbage or kale, salt and pepper, and some butter or cream. Sometimes it contains additional flavors from green onions or leeks and is served with Irish bacon or ham. The Irish often serve colcannon on Halloween with little prizes hidden inside, like coins or rings. Colcannon is so embedded in Irish culture that there is even a song about it.