The Irish potato is surely one of the most versatile vegetables in the world. If not the most versatile. Among its many applications are potato chips, potato crisps, jacket potatoes, vodka, potato salad and mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are a truly worldwide food item and you’d be hard-pressed to find a place where mashed potatoes are not made or sold. If you ever have mashed potatoes leftover and you need to reheat them one great way to do so is in a crockpot. This kitchen implement has received a bit of renewal in recent years and is gaining back its popularity.
Mashed potatoes or mashed potato (British English) is a dish made from mashing boiled Irish potatoes. It is considered a traditional recipe and was documented as early as 1747 in The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse. Traditional recipes include milk, butter, salt and pepper to give the mashed potatoes a rich creamy flavour. Modern recipes include vegetable oil, garlic, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard and spices such as nutmeg.
The crockpot is more popularly known around the world as a slow cooker. Crock-pot is a trademark name of kitchen appliance maker Sunbeam which has come to be known as the colloquial name of the slow cooker. This ubiquitous kitchen device uses a ceramic inner pot that sits in a metal vessel. Slow cookers are useful for many applications such as pot roast, soups, stews, bread and even desserts. Crock-pots cook at a lower heat than most other cooking devices over long periods. Some argue that this slow cooking makes recipes like stews for example much better. Now we know our mashed potatoes from our crockpot we can look at how to store mashed potatoes for best results before we reheat them in our crockpot.
Storing Mashed Potatoes
Reheating mashed potatoes in a crockpot works best if you store your mashed potatoes correctly before the reheating. There are a few things you have to watch out for when storing mashed potatoes. The use of dairy in the recipe makes mashed potatoes particularly susceptible to going rancid. Mashed potatoes can also lose moisture in storage and this compounded in the reheating process. Finally, whatever else you add to the mashed potatoes you have to be aware of how it behaves in storage as it will impact the recipe. So items like vegetable oil, sour cream, chives, cheese and others will impact how you store the mashed potatoes.
First thing you need to adhere to is to refrigerate or freeze your mashed potatoes within 2 hours of cooking them. The best storage vessels for your mashed potatoes is plastic. You can use Tupperware or sealable freezer bags. If you’re going to freeze your mashed potatoes it’s best to use heavy-duty bags or double bag. If the bags rip in the freezer your mashed potatoes are susceptible to freezer burn. In the fridge, you can store your mashed potatoes for 3 days. If you freeze your mashed potatoes you can keep them for up to two months.
If you freeze your mashed potatoes the thawing process is pretty simple. You will need to take your mashed potatoes out 24 hours before you intend to eat them. Place your mashed potatoes in the fridge and allow them to thaw in there. Avoid thawing them on the kitchen counter or at room temperature. Once your mashed potatoes are fully thawed out they will be ready for reheating in the crockpot.
How To Tell If Your Mashed Potatoes Are Rancid
As we’ve already discussed mashed potatoes recipes tend to include elements that can very easily go bad. Whether you store your mashed potatoes in the fridge or the freezer this is still something you’re better of checking for than not. The only way to tell if anything has gone bad in your mashed potatoes is a smell or taste test. Butter, sour cream, milk all have the same hallmarks when they go rancid. They have a strong pungent smell and a bitter taste to them. If you used cheese this is not so easy to tell because the more mature and harder cheeses happen to possess similar aroma already. A taste test may help. While cheese has a robust tang, rancid dairy products have a strong bitterness to their flavour.
Reheating Mashed Potatoes In The Crockpot
The crockpot is designed to very slowly heat things at low temperatures. This works very well with mashed potatoes. A lot of things depend on the elements of your recipe. For example, if cheese is heated very quickly it separates into oil and the creamy part of it. So slow heating works very well for mashed potatoes. You will need your crockpot, butter and cream to reheat your mashed potatoes. Firstly use the butter to line the inner ceramic pot of your crockpot. Now add the cream to the crockpot and turn it on at medium heat setting. How much cream depends on how much mashed potato you have. The cream is to reconstitute moisture that was lost in storage and reheating so not a lot. Immediately add the potatoes and allow to warm up. In around 15 minutes mix the mash potatoes and the cream to start blending them. Allow another 5 minutes then stir again. After a further 5 minutes, your mashed potatoes should be close to achieving eating temperature. You can check with your food thermometer. Once you reach 70 degrees Celsius you can turn the crockpot to low.
The crockpot offers a great way to reheat mash potatoes. It involves a little labour but conversely a lot of time. The method is great because it gives you creamy, moist and smooth reheated mashed potatoes.