Though I don’t consider myself a picky eater, I have some things that really bother me. One of which is gummy mashed potatoes. You make them, they are smooth and creamy and wonderful…. then a few minutes on the table they turn to glue. Sticky, un-spreadable glue. Why?! My dinner was perfect until these gummy potatoes that are now sticking to my serving spoon. Well, I’ll tell you why… and it’s science-y! My favorite.
The reason why mashed potatoes turn gummy is because they get over mashed. Typically from a beater, mixer, or food processor. Please, for the sake of your dinner, do not use these tools any more. Plus, they’re difficult to clean.
Potatoes, like all vegetables (I know they’re classified as a “starch” but it’s produce), have cell walls. When cooked and then beaten, these cell walls break and release the starch contained inside. Starch will act as a glue when mixed with liquid. My mom would use flour and water to seal her egg rolls and she literally called it “glue”. So, the starch makes the whole bunch stick together. That’s just not all that pleasing.
How to avoid this? For starters, be careful not to overcook your potatoes. Cut them in to smaller pieces so that cook more evenly and cook quicker. I cut mine into about 1 inch cubes. Boil (or steam!) until they break with a fork, but not crumble. I’ve seen instructions of boil for this long at this heat and so forth but really, it’s hard to be precise especially if there are variations in the size, stovetop differences, amount of potatoes. Make sure they’re done and then drain the water (if boiled).
Next! Use a whisk, potato masher or a ricer. I have never used a ricer before but it’s supposed to be effective. I use a whisk, it’s quick and makes smooth mashed potatoes. Inevitably, the chunks of potatoes get stuck in the whisk and I just use a butter knife to help cut them away to loosen them out. I haven’t found a better way so this is what I do. I add my butter and a small amount of milk. I use the whisk like a masher to break the pieces for easier whisking. Once the milk is incorporated I add more milk and whisk until I get the desired consistency. So far, I have not gotten gummy potatoes using this whisking method. Add salt to taste and Voila! Creamy mashed potatoes
Update! I’ve since gotten a potato ricer and I highly recommend it. It will produce the smoothest mashed potatoes. Make sure to get one that is one solid piece… not an interchangeable bottom.