Module 3, Unit 1, Level: Advanced
Macerate, marinade, salt, sugar, food preservation
Maceration and marinade are methods of preserving food. Although they involve similar procedures, the goals and ingredients are different.
Maceration and marinade intend to intensify flavor and soften the texture of the food.
Both methods facilitate cooking procedures. In some cases, as with meat, they can be used as pre-cooking technique.
Many ingredients used in maceration and marinades are rich in antioxidants, impacting positively the nutritional value of the prepared food. The combination of flavors resulting from these ingredients also reduces the need for salt or sugar, with clear health benefits.
Marinades can also be made in vacuum (link to the fiche basic mod. 3, unit 2). There are today many options of pre-marinated vacuum food that can be easily acquired in supermarkets.
Maceration: brandy, macerated fruit (strawberries, apple, pineapple, raisings, plums) and herbs (chamomile, basil, sage, lavender, rosemary, thyme, mint).
Marinade: fish and seafood (salmon, prawns), meat (beef, pork, poultry).
To avoid the proliferation of microorganisms and odors, the marinade should be kept in the refrigerator and covered with a film.
Both in the maceration and marinade methods, the amount of salt and sugar should be reduced to diminish health problems. Aromatic herbs, for example, are a good alternative.
The use of certain ingredients, such as beer, in marinades, reduces the risk of producing potentially carcinogenic substances during cooking, such as hydrocarbons.
When longer periods of macerating or marinating are needed, we should monitor the food to avoid decomposition. Some indicators are color change or the presence of mold on the surface.