PurÃ©e and (more rarely) mash are general terms for food, usually vegetables or legumes, that have been ground, pressed, and/or strained to the consistency of a soft paste or thick liquid. PurÃ©es 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 Ancient French (13th century) purified or refined. PurÃ©es overlap with other dishes with similar consistency, such as thick soups, creams (crÃ¨mes) and gravies â€” 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 purÃ©es. 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 purÃ©es intended to be used as an ingredient, rather than eaten. PurÃ©es 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. PurÃ©es 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.