|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (August 2012)|
A purée (or mash) is cooked food, usually vegetables or legumes, that has been ground, pressed, blended or sieved to the consistency of a soft creamy paste or thick liquid. Purées of specific foods are often known by specific names, e.g., mashed potatoes or apple sauce. The term is of French origin, where it meant in Old French (13th century) purified or refined.
Purées overlap with other dishes with similar consistency, such as thick soups, creams (crèmes) and gravies—although these terms often imply more complex recipes and cooking processes. Coulis (French for "strained") is a similar but broader term, more commonly used for fruit purées. The term is not commonly used for paste-like foods prepared from cereal flours, such as gruel or muesli; nor with oily nut pastes, such as peanut butter. The term "paste" is often used for purées intended to be used as an ingredient, rather than eaten.
Purées can be made in a blender, or with special implements such as a potato masher, or by forcing the food through a strainer, or simply by crushing the food in a pot. Purées generally must be cooked, either before or after grinding, in order to improve flavour and texture, remove toxic substances, and/or reduce their water content.
Common purées include apples, plums, and other fruits smashed or mashed for their juice content.
These fruits and vegetables are often served as purées:
- Squash, buttersquash, etc.
- Sweet corn
- Pickled cucumber
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