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I had never actually used a potato ricer before purchasing one and only wanted one as I kept seeing them on TV and was curious as to why they would use one instead of just using a masher as I usually get pretty decent results from a masher.
Anyway I decided I wanted one so I had a look online and ended up buying one from Kitchen Craft. As I have bought loads of things from Kitchen Craft before I was pretty confident that it was going to be of a fairly good quality.
I paid £10 for it which is about the maximum that I was willing to pay as I wasn't sure how much use that I would get from it. There were much more expensive ones for sale but what made this cheaper is that instead of being made of metal it is made from plastic. I wasn't bothered about this because I figured that although the metal ones look fancier this would be getting stored in a cupboard for most of the time so it didn't need to look as fancy as the metal ones as long as it did what it was supposed to do.
The potato ricer resembles a large garlic press and basically that is how you use it too. You just need to put in a boiled potato and then squeeze the handles together to rice the potato. This is fairly easy but it does take a little bit more strength than using a masher would. The benefit of this over a masher is that once it has gone through the ricer that is all you need to do to it bar adding butter and giving it a mix as it comes out so smooth with no lumps whatsoever. I am paranoid about serving mash with lumps so when I am using a normal masher I spend ages pulverising the potatoes to ensure that there are no lumps in it. With this I can be confident of smooth mash every time.
The ricer comes with two different blades for using to either make smooth mash or else a larger blade for using to make rostis. You can also use the ricer for other root vegetables and even fruit. I have never used the ricer for fruit but I have used it to make carrot and turnip mash several times and it works great for this. Unlike with mash I always got lumps when using a masher to make carrot and turnip mash but this really makes the mash much smoother and lump free. The turnip takes a bit more strength to squeeze than potatoes but it isn't exactly a strenuous work out.
When you have finished with the ricer the blades come out and it can all be put in the dishwasher to clean.
I was slightly worried about buying a plastic one as I thought it might be a bit fragile especially when squeezing it together but I needn't have worried as it is very solid and sturdy and there is no flex or creaking when I use it and I feel quite confident when squeezing through the vegetables that it isn't going to snap on me.
I would definitely recommend buying this ricer. It really works great at producing smooth and fluffy mash with no problems. You can achieve the same results with a normal masher but this does it with less effort and it makes perfect mash potatoes every time with no more fear of serving people lumpy mash. The only slight problem with it is that you need to make sure if you have particularly large potatoes such a baking ones you cut them before trying to rice them or otherwise they won't fit but this is common sense and I really wouldn't want the ricer to be any bigger or else it would become unwieldy.