The Finnish Potato Masher I Can’t Live Without

A fellow personal chef friend of mine who is married to a Finnish man gave me this…uh…suggestive kitchen tool a few years back.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely certain what it was (Scandinavian modern sculpture? World’s biggest muddler? Minimalist bishop from an oversize chess set?) or what to do with it, though several inappropriate things naturally sprung to mind.

When my friend told me this was a traditional Finnish wooden potato masher I pretended that, of course, that was what I assumed all along. Only a pervert would assume it was something else, think of internal splinters, and clench their thighs in horor. And I am definitely not a pervert.

So I went home and displayed my wooden potato masher in my kitchen. Why I didn’t use it as a potato masher, I can’t say, except that I’ve always been a food mill girl.

But lately, I’ve been taking the Finnish Potato Masher down off the shelf and I’m finding it surprisingly indispensable. But not for potatoes. And, no, not for that either! Geez, who’s the pervert now, huh?

I’ve discovered it’s perfect for:

  • Pounding cabbage when making sauerkraut.
  • Crushing eggshells up to use as a calcium supplement to feed back to the chickens.

And I’m thinking it’s got potential for:

  • smashing garlic cloves
  • tamping down drop cookies
  • muddling citrus
  • tenderizing or flattening meat into cutlets
  • bruising herbs for a marinade or sauce
  • pressing berries and soft fruit through a strainer
  • cracking spices as a lightweight pestle

In fact the more I think about it, the more shocked I am that I’ve lived my whole life without this multi-purpose device.

I may even try mashing potatoes with it one day.

Anyone else have a potato masher like this? What do you use yours for?


  1. says

    I don't have one exactly like that, but I do have something similar that I got at a thrift store that I was planning to use for pounding sauerkraut. I hadn't considered any other uses for it, but I'm intrigued by the idea of using it on potatoes and garlic.

  2. Saskia says

    I have something very similar that came with the chinois set I inherited from my grandma, and mine has a blunt end like yours (whereas most other chinois pestles seem to be pointed.) I use it to press the juice out of pomegranate seeds, separate roasted tomato pulp from seeds and skin. Never thought of using it apart from the chinois. I'll have to try that!

  3. says

    I'll have to agree with Tanya; doesn't seem like it would be the best tool for smashing potatoes, unless you like the chunky mashed potatos.

    First thing that came to my mind was, "Wow, I could really use that to wack Pan (the buck goat)over the head when he gets out of hand."

    Feel free to forward that comment to PETA, then THEY can take care of the pissy bastard stinkbag buck. Sorry. Having a time with the goats this morning.

    Yes. Potato masher. Definately. Who wouldn't have know that?

  4. says

    When I first read the title to your post, I thought I would see a scandinavian potato ricer, which I just bought one of at Ikea;Now that I see what you're talking about… I am thinking- it looks like one of those little souvenir bats they give away at ball games with the end cut off. Maybe raid my Mariner's souvenir collection.

  5. A Finn says

    I have three of those in varying sizes and the biggest is just perfect for making fermented vegetables. The smaller ones can be used for example crushing lingonberries.

  6. says

    Absolutely the best for pounding pills for dogs into a fine powder that can be discreetly mixed into some yummy food w/o going through all that hassle of backing the dog (or cat) into a corner and wrestling with them until they spit the pill out 5 minutes later. A hammer and a ziploc works too, but this is more eco-sensitive. And much more attractive.

  7. Claudia says

    Long ago in the olden days these were called beatles and they were used for mashing potatoes. I have a whole collection that I’ve picked up, over a number of years, at flea markets in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When we lived back east I displayed them on the fireplace mantle, now in Washington I have them on a couple of upper window sills. They look great because each is a little bit different shape.

  8. says

    I stumbled upon this post when looking for a wooden potato masher! I am from Finland and grew up using one. I haven’t found one from the States. I just wrote to my mom and asked her to send one to me. :) Thanks, this post brightened my day.

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