What is Macerating?

Macerating vs. Marinating

I just received an email asking what the difference is between marinating and macerating.

Macerating is a procedure used in food preparation where raw, dried, or preserved fruits or vegetables are soaked in a seasoned, usually acidic, liquid before cooking. Macerating is often confused with “marination,” and some use the terms interchangeably. But they do have a different purpose.

Macerating refers to the softening or breaking down of tough fibers in foods using a liquid. This process not only helps to make a particular food more flavorful, it also makes it easier to digest. This is especially helpful with raw onions. Fruit, on the other hand, is usually sprinkled with sugar and a little fresh lemon, then left to sit and release its own juices.

Marinating will do the same thing to some extent, but it is really designed to simply impart additional added flavor before and during the cooking process. So while these two processes share some of the same purposes, there is a difference.

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