Marinate Or Macerate? Definitions and a Recipe For Strawberries and Blueberries Steeped in Tea
As cooks become more experienced they learn new techniques and terms. I have been cooking for decades and have a pretty good understanding of both. But if you are still a stranger in the kitchen you many not be familiar with techniques or terms, especially similar ones such as marinate and macerate.
So what is the difference? When you marinate food you soak it in a liquid mixture to flavor and tenderize it. Teriyaki marinade is a good example. You can buy this marinade — a combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, cooking oil and ginger — but I do not think it is as good as homemade. In a word, homemade tastes fresher.
According to the Epicurious website, the word marinade means “to soak food such as meat, fish or vegetables in a seasoned liquid mixture.” Marinade adds flavor to meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. The website warns against marinating food in an aluminum container. To avoid a chemical reaction between the acid and the aluminum, you should always marinate food in a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel dish.
In her book, “A Matter of Taste,” Sylvia Windle Humphrey refers to marinades as “beauty baths that touch up cheap cuts of meat and leftovers.” What a description! According to Hunphrey, marinades work as well with expensive cuts of meat as cheaper ones. She says the process originated with sea-going ships that marinated fish in brine to preserve it.
Macerate refers to the same process, soaking food in seasoned liquid to infuse it with flavor, but the term applies to fruit. The Epicurious website says “a spirit such as brandy, rum, or liqueur is usually in the macerating liquid.” This recipe for macerated Strawberries and Blueberries Steeped in Black Current Tea is easy and unbelievably delicious. You may add raspberries if you wish.
1/3 cup boiling water
1 black currant tea bag
1/2 cup reduced sugar strawberry jam (raspberry may be substituted)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup quartered strawberries
1 cup blueberries
Boil water in microwave. Add tea bag and steep for 4-5 minutes. Whisk in strawberry jam, honey, and vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. Gently fold strawberries and blueberries into sauce and macerate for one hour. Serve in stem glasses and top with sweetened whipped cream or spoon over vanilla ice cream. If you are feeling adventurous, spoon the fruit and syrup over warm waffles. Makes four servings.