What does Marinating mean?

Food Question: What does Marinating mean?

The verb "marinate" means to steep food in a marinade. A marinade is a savory acidic sauce in which a food is soaked to enrich its flavor or to tenderize it.

According to Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, "Marinades began as simple brines for preserving fish. The word marinade stems from the same root as the word maritime. In modern usage, a marinade consists of a cooking oil, an acid (vinegar, lemon juice, wine), and spices. As the food stands in the mixture, the acid and the oil impart the savory flavors of the spices to the food. The acid also has a tenderizing action."

The acid in marinades causes poultry tissue to break down. This has a tenderizing effect. The breaking down of the tissue also causes the poultry to hold more liquid, making it juicier. Too much vinegar or hot sauce in a marinade can have the opposite effect, causing the meat to be stringy and tough.

Whole poultry or poultry parts may be marinated by completely immersing the poultry in the marinade. To help infuse the marinade into the poultry, you may use a fork to make random holes in the meat. A needle-like injector may also be used.

Poultry can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in a marinade. For easy cleanup, use food-grade plastic bags for marinating and discard the bags afterwards. Food-grade plastic, stainless steel, or glass containers may also be used to marinate food. Cover poultry while marinating it in the refrigerator.

Don't use marinade from raw poultry as a sauce unless it is boiled first to destroy bacteria. If stuffing poultry, marinate the poultry first. Cook immediately after stuffing.

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