Do You Peel Potatoes For Mashed Potatoes?

There’s one popular, aged and hotly debated question in the mashed potato community: do you peel the potatoes for mashed potatoes or mash them with their skins on?

The answer to this is simple “do whatever pleases your mind”. 

You can’t ever go wrong with using peeled or unpeeled potatoes in your mashed potatoes, although there are some key differences to note between both types of mashed potatoes which this article seeks to cover.

Is there benefit for leaving potato peels on for mashed potatoes?

There is definitely some benefit (healthwise and prepwise) when it comes to mashing potatoes with their peels on.

The first and the most obvious benefit (to any one who is a nutritional freak) is that the peels of potatoes do contain a lot of nutritionally beneficial compounds such as vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds and even antioxidants which are lost every damn time the peels are removed from the potatoes prior to mashing.

When the potatoes are cooked with the skins on however, these nutrients are soaked up into the body and the potatoes are put to maximum use. 

Some of the vitamins include Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Thiamine, Folate and Riboflavin while some of the trace metals (or minerals) include Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc. 

Another benefit of mashing potatoes with the skin on is that they add a bit of bulk to the meal, add some texture to it and also bring along an earthy flavor that may or may not be a desirable addition depending on who is consuming the food.

Mashed potatoes with the skin on also helps reduce preparation time as you would not need to remove the skins prior to mashing. This can be really beneficial for people that are time cramped and just want to get mashed potatoes done in as little time as possible.

The fact that the peel is included also means that the serving portion increases due to the added mass of the peels themselves.

Now like anything that has benefits, there are also negatives to mashing potatoes with the skins on.

One of the most obvious is the extra earthy flavor that it adds to the mouthfeel which can be somewhat disagreeable to the taste buds of many. Not everyone likes an earthy flavor and strong texture in a dish where softness and creaminess are the main goals.

Also, if you don’t properly take your time to wash the potatoes, you could end up with mashed potatoes having sand particles in them, which i don’t need to tell you how dissatisfying that would be.

The fact that you’re also mashing with the tougher skins means that you’re cutting out on some of the creaminess you’re supposed to be getting.

Nowadays, there is quite a clever way that people make mashed potatoes with the skins that aren’t that bad in texture and creaminess. They do this by combining two varieties of potatoes, one with the skin on and the second with the skin off. The first with the skin on is a thin skin potato like Yuokon gold, and the second provides the fluffiness, i.e. Russet. 

Because Russet potatoes have really tough skins, you don’t want to use them as the skin on potatoes, otherwise the texture and creaminess of the mashed potatoes could suffer. Yukon gold on the other hand has thin skin which is perfect to provide that extra nutrients without cutting back on the creaminess and imposing a dominating earthy flavor.

Should I leave the peel on?

Now the perks and disadvantages of leaving the peels on for mashed potatoes have been listed above, whether you choose to go with the skin or not is now a choice you have to make.

If you don’t mind the earthy taste that the skins of mashed potatoes bring to the table, and the fact that they can affect the creaminess of the meal, then go for it.

If you don’t also mind the extra coloring that comes with incorporating the skins of the potato into the dish, then go ahead and add the skins, but make sure to wash the potatoes thoroughly under tap water with a vegetable brush. And if possible, use organic potatoes that are free from pesticides and chemicals. 

What is the easiest way to peel potatoes for mashed potatoes?

If you are not buying the “peels on potatoes for mashing idea” then you certainly want to take them off before you mash the potatoes. Not the question of what the easiest way to remove potato peel would arise?

Based on experiments, the easiest way to peel potatoes is by first of all boiling the potatoes with the skins on until fork tender, then soak the potatoes in cold water to cool them off completely, before using a butter knife slide the skins right off.

It is very crucial to use a blunt knife to avoid causing injury to yourself and the potatoes too. You want as much of the flesh as possible to keep to ratios. 

Is it better to peel potatoes before boiling for mashed potatoes?

It appears that it is better to leave the skins of potatoes on before boiling as that presents the easiest way to remove them.

Boiling potatoes with the skin also means that you are able to remove just the skin without any part of the flesh alongside it. 

Peeling the potatoes before boiling on the other hand will remove part of the potato flesh alongside the skin which can end up affecting your calculations at the end of the day.

Should you let potatoes soak in water for mashed potatoes?

It is said that soaking potatoes in water promotes the release of a certain starch molecule (that causes glueness) which then helps to make fluffy mashed potatoes.

In theory this is true because amylose, which is one of the starch molecules responsible for glueiness in mashed potatoes, does get released as potatoes are soaked in water. But before we get overjoyed, we must first of all account for the quantity of this compound released during soaking which happens to be in very minute quantities, and you consider that you have to cut the potatoes in one-inch thickness and soak for an extended amount of time to get just that little quantity released, you would realize that it is not worth the trouble.

On the other hand, you can choose to wash potatoes that have been par-boiled or steamed, which releases far more amylose than the latter method, but then exposes the mashed potatoes to the risk of being mushy.

The best way would be to just stick to your recipe’s way of making the mashed potatoes. It is tested and trusted and should deliver what it promises.  

Can I peel potatoes ahead of time for mashed potatoes?

You can absolutely peel potatoes ahead of time for mashed potatoes. 

When you do so however, make sure to submerge them fully under water and stored in the refrigerator. Under water, they wont have contact with air which will cause them to brown quickly, and putting them in the refrigerator means that the activities of enzymes are slowed down and thus deterioration is slowed too.

One more thing, do not keep peeled potatoes in the refrigerator for longer than one day.

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