Purees Vs. Their Original Counterparts

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by jblade, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. jblade

    jblade

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    Hey gang I have had a question for years now that I wanted to get some feedback on.

    Why are purees so popular? Why make a puree? Aren't the original counterparts more beneficial when it comes to nutrition?

    Thank for your time.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Outside of somewhat increased oxidation risk, it shouldn't matter much.

    And in a modern diet, it's fairly easy to achieve proper nutrition. I wouldn't worry much about nutrient loss in the general case in first world countries.

    From the culinary point of view purees offer a textural variation and/or the chance to combine flavors and ingredients in different ways. They're considered "work" by most customers so is something they wouldn't do themselves making it more attractive from a marketing perspective.
     
  3. jblade

    jblade

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    That makes alot of sense, thanks phatch.
     
  4. chadwick

    chadwick

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    I love purees.  For me, it's a chance to create something delicious but serving a subordinate role in the dish.  For example, I'll sometimes make Indian dishes and put them on a bed of some kind of puree.  I made a potato/chickpea (kinda like falafel) patty on top of a bed of curried parsnip puree, for example.  Still the deliciousness of the parsnips, but melds with the other flavors whereas it wouldn't if left in any original form.

    I also like to create emulsions of things to achieve a similar effect.  For example, I'll create a cilantro relish/emulsion to intensify the flavor and allow it to meld in with everything else.  
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    So here's a related question: What's the difference between a puree and a mash?
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    This was in the local paper before Thanksgiving quoting Harold McGee:

    — Mashed potatoes

    So long as you treat them gently, it doesn't matter what kind of potato you use. "If you just mash them barely, what you end up with are intact little cells and clumps of cells that are surrounded by a wonderful mixture of butter and milk and whatever else you've added," McGee says. "If you break the cells open, that's when you release the starch inside the cells...That's when you get that gloppy, sticky result."

    Purees, are usually done with power tools that will break up the cell structure with different results than mashing by hand that doesn't break up cell structure much if at all. Purees should be perfectly smooth, a mash should have a little texture left imho.
     
  7. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    +1 to everything phatch said. Puree should be perfectly smooth, or darn near it. At least in the forms I prepare, a puree will often include additional moisture, while a mash doesn't (with the exception perhaps of potatoes).

    As to the reason for puree, tonight I made a puree from sauteed onions, potatoes, corn, tomato, chicken stock, butter, and harissa powder. It was wonderful, but probably wouldn't have been as good if I had left all the ingredients whole.  
     
  8. jblade

    jblade

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    Some good info here, I look forward to making my first puree, I know my family probably won't be excited about it so I need to come up with something that tastes familiar but with a twist.