Mashed potatoes are a staple food in American cuisine. They are usually served alongside meat dishes such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, etc. Mashed potatoes are also used as a side dish for vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, corn, peas, spinach, cauliflower, etc.
They are often referred to as “mash potatoes” because they are mashed into a paste using a potato masher. The texture of mashed potatoes is smooth and creamy. It has a soft consistency that makes it perfect for serving other foods. However, there are times when the mashed potatoes can be gummy or have an unpleasant taste. This happens due to improper cooking methods.
Today, we’ll look at the most common mashed potato issues, as well as how to choose the finest potatoes to mash. These are all frequent blunders, so after you’ve gone over them, you’ll be on your way to getting much better outcomes. Let’s get started!
The most common reason why your mashed potatoes turn out gummy is over-cooking them. If you cook them too long, then their starch will break down and form lumps which make them sticky. You should not mash them until they reach room temperature.
Also, if you add milk while mashing them, this will cause the mixture to become lumpy. To avoid these problems, use cold water instead of hot water. Coldwater helps reduce the risk of forming lumps. Another problem with overcooking mashed potatoes is that they lose some of their flavors. When cooked properly, mashed potatoes retain all of their natural flavors. Overcooked mashed potatoes tend to get bland and tasteless. Therefore, try to keep them warm before adding any ingredients like butter, cheese, sour cream, gravy, etc.
Some people prefer gummy potatoes because they think it adds more flavor to the meal. But, if you want fluffy mashed potatoes, then don’t worry about making them gummy.
Another major reason why your mashed potatoes may appear lumpy is under-cooking them. Undercooked mashed potatoes do not release enough moisture from the starchy part of the potato.
As a result, they remain dry and hard. In order to prevent this problem, always check whether the potatoes are done by tasting one piece first. Then, remove them from heat immediately after testing so that they won’t continue to cook. Also, never leave them on the stovetop unattended. If you find that your mashed potatoes aren’t very moist even though you’ve followed every step correctly, then chances are that you didn’t boil them thoroughly. Boiling removes excess liquid from the potatoes. So, ensure that you cover the pot completely during boiling.
You can use a wire masher or potato ricer for fixing your lumpy potatoes A wire masher works best for removing large chunks of potatoes. Potato ricers work great for small pieces of potatoes. Both tools help you achieve perfectly fluffier mashed potatoes.
No matter how hard you try to mash your potatoes, they will have hard lumps if they aren’t fully cooked. To correct this, remove the lumps and boil them for a few more minutes before adding them to the mash. Alternatively, you may check that they’re all done by poking them with a fork while they’re cooking.
If you notice that your mashed potatoes seem to be drying up when you reheat them in the microwave, then there might be something wrong with the recipe itself. For example, if you used frozen potatoes, then thaw them before using them. Frozen potatoes take longer than fresh ones to soften. This means that you need to let them sit in cold water for an hour or two before proceeding further.
Mashed potatoes shouldn’t ever taste watery. They should contain just enough moisture to bind together well without being overly wet. However, sometimes due to improper handling, the potatoes end up getting soggy. The main culprits here are:
Overmixing Your Mashings – Mixing the potatoes vigorously makes them absorb extra water. As a result, they’ll end up having less volume but also fewer nutrients.
Using Too Much Water – Adding too much water causes the potatoes to expand as they soak up the additional fluid. Since they already had plenty of starch, they’ll start absorbing water at a faster rate. And since they were previously boiled, most of the starch has been converted into sugar. Thus, they’ll turn out mushy rather quickly.
Not Storing Them Properly – It’s important to store mashed potatoes in airtight containers such as Tupperware. Otherwise, they could easily pick up odors which would make them taste bad.
Sourness is caused by over-fermentation. When you add milk to mashed potatoes, it helps keep their texture soft and smooth. But, if you don’t stir frequently, then the mixture tends to ferment. Fermenting results in acidity. Hence, the resulting dish ends up tasting sour.
Another reason can be because you added raw eggs instead of pasteurized egg yolks. Raw eggs tend to produce lots of enzymes that cause fermentation. Pasteurization kills these enzymes. Therefore, only pasteurized eggs should be used for making mashed potatoes.
Dry mashed potatoes are usually caused by overcooking. If you’ve followed our tips on properly preparing mashed potatoes, then chances are good that you won’t get any dry mashed potatoes. Dry mashed potatoes are often accompanied by other problems like gummy mashed potatoes.
Another reason why your mashed potatoes could be dry is that you didn’t use enough liquid. You should always cook your potatoes until they reach a certain level of tenderness. Then, drain off excess water from them so that they become fluffy.
The secret to making perfect mashed potatoes lies in choosing the right ingredients. You want to choose potatoes that are firm yet tender.
These types of potatoes usually come in medium sizes. When selecting these kinds of potatoes, look for those that feel heavy for their size. Avoid buying any potatoes that are soft or waxy. Waxy potatoes tend to break down easily. That is why it’s better to avoid them altogether. Instead, opt for starchy varieties like russets. Russet potatoes are firmer than other types of potatoes. But still, they don’t get tough unless overcooked. Therefore, you must only bake them until they reach the desired level of doneness.
Another key ingredient is butter. Butter helps add flavor and richness to mashed potatoes. Use unsalted butter instead of salted butter because salt tends to draw moisture away from foods. If you use salted butter, then reduce its amount by half. Also, keep in mind that some people prefer to omit fat entirely. In fact, many recipes call for no added fats whatsoever. So, if you do decide to go ahead and include butter, then make sure that it’s not melted beforehand. Doing so can cause the mixture to become grainier.
Finally, remember to always measure carefully! Using measuring cups and spoons ensures accuracy. Don’t rely on visual estimates alone. Measurements will help ensure that you’re following the correct proportions.
Mashing potatoes isn’t as easy as one might think. It requires patience and practice. However, with proper preparation techniques, you’ll soon master this skill.
And once you have mastered mashing potatoes, there’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying a piping hot bowl full of delicious mashed potatoes. I hope this post helped you with all your food curiosities.