Whether you're making our potato pancakes or old-fashioned hash browns, one of the keys is to shred the spuds to the right consistency. Luckily, it's easy to do: Just think big. The common four-sided box graters have different-size holes on each side, but only the long, flat holes (the ones you use for cheese) will produce the right shreds for a crispy pancake. If you rub the potato against the tiny, raised, rough holes, you'll end up with a mixture that's more water than substance and a potato cake that's still mushy and raw in the middle when the outside is already burned. (The two rough sides of a box grater are more appropriate for hard foods like citrus and parmesan.)

Food processors, of course, come equipped with a blade that makes short work of shredding ― especially useful for large batches. And while mandoline graters claim to shred, most produce more of a julienne cut, about the shape and size of a matchstick. Potatoes cut that way make crispy hash browns but pancakes that are more likely to fall apart.

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