I feel just a little bit embarrassed about this, but when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, the only thing that I could think of was a potato ricer - probably because my masher is useless and I had just had a marathon session with it making mashed potato! When I have seen people use ricers on TV it looks so effortless and appealing, I simply had to have one so when I found the Oxo Good Grips potato ricer under my tree, I was perhaps a little too giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to try out my new toy.
The Oxo potato ricer comes attached to a piece of cardboard with what seems like a hundred cable ties holding it in place, it took me a while to get it off the packaging as I did not want to risk damage to the ricer but I got there in the end and was able to examine the newest addition to my gadget drawer. The ricer is stainless steel so it has a silver finish, it weighs just over 500g so it is not a heavy or cumbersome object to handle at all. The actual ricing area is about the size of your average mug and the handle extends out about 15cm and there is a small knob on the other side which measures roughly 4cm which is ideal for resting the ricer on a bowl or saucepan. The handles have a soft grip on the outside so it is quite a comfortable and easy object to use if it is loaded in the right way. The ricer works by lifting the upper handle and putting the potato into the "sieve" area and then a "plunger" which is attached to the upper handle presses down into the potato and with slight force, it is pushed through the holes creating noodles of potato which when mixed, creates a perfect mash, sounds simple doesn't it?
In use, this object has got to be the messiest piece of equipment that I have ever used in my kitchen. Firstly the ricing area simply is not big enough. The potatoes have to be cut into really small pieces before boiling because if a large piece of potato is put in, the pressure needed to rice it is simply too much for me. Secondly I suppose that the plunger cannot be a completely tight seal or a vacuum would be created making it unusable, so there is a small slither of a space around the edge of the plunger which allows potato through the top and not in the nice riced way that is wanted and inevitably this ends up in the bowl with the riced potato as the plunger is lifted out in order to reload, therefore you end up with lumpy mash which completely detracts from using this gadget in the first place and it also creates an almighty mess because potato debris ends up everywhere because of the size of the gadget and the way that it opens up.
This product is sold as a one potato ricer so it is nowhere near big enough to suit the needs of a family. By the time I have finished ricing enough for four, the mash is cold which adds extra time to the whole process whilst I reheat. The ricer has a RRP of £19.99 which I think is a lot of money for a not very good item and whilst it is a budget item compared to other ricers that are available, it is a false economy because it is not a useful piece of equipment unfortunately. For about twice the price you can get a ricer which holds several potatoes and gets them all mashed in one plunge which makes a lot more sense and takes the frustration out of the process. The ricer is suitable for use in the dishwasher which is good because it ends up in an awful mess!
So in conclusion I am thoroughly disappointed with this gadget. The ricer has been banished to the back of the cupboard and I have reverted to my masher and lumpy mash but at least the original process is quick, clean and significantly less stressful!
Also posted on Ciao under my username chilcott1