Earlier this week, we took a look at mashing, and applying the technique outside the world of potatoes. Naturally, it follows that a masher, often specifically called a potato masher, can be used to mash just about anything else (common sense, no?.) It’s a go-to for making refried beans for example. But what to do if you don’t have one?
There are a few options and stand-ins available.
Our namesake kitchen tool, the whisk is near and dear to our hearts here at Whisked Foodie. Flimsier or smaller whisks might be difficult to mash with, but sturdier versions are, in my opinion, the next best bet when you don’t have a masher. The standard “balloon” shape works best.
As pictured, two forks crossed at the tines can work really well for mashing although you’ll want to make sure whatever you’re working with is very tender, or else you’ll need some major elbow grease. Larger forks, like for salad bowls or serving, work even better.
A hand mixer is a great option for “mashing” and in fact, is preferred by some for making mashed potatoes for its ability to get them super silky smooth. If you go this route, as is true with any electric implement, start out with a low speed, and keep a close eye on your goods. Otherwise, you run the risk of over-mixing, which can become a textural nightmare.
Blender or food processor
The quickest alternative to hand mashing is running your veggies through a quick spin in a blender or food processor. As stated above, go easy and start on low or slow so that your ingredients are not totally obliterated. If you’re working with something starchy or low-moisture, you’ll need to add a little bit of liquid to get the blades moving.
For any of the above methods, take a few extra steps to make your life easier:
- Cook your ingredients a little bit longer than you typically would until they’re so soft that a fork can easily break them apart.
- Gradually add liquid ingredients, like stock, wine, melted butter, olive oil, and milk, to ease the mashing process and to achieve good texture even if you’re leaning toward the chunkier side.
- Work in batches if you need to, and slowly fold the mashed back in with the non-mashed until you reach your desired consistency.
- If you try one of the alternatives above and aren’t getting the results you want, try another. If all else fails, wait until your ingredients cool a bit, throw on a pair of clean latex gloves, and use your hands.