Marinate, Macerate: Is there a Difference?

Practically speaking, no. Both involve soaking food in a flavorful liquid for some period of time. The main difference is that “marinating” is a term we apply to meat and vegetables and “macerating” is a term we apply to fruit. If you want to split hairs you could argue that the intended results of each are different. Whereas macerating is all about infusing flavor, marinating is about that and tenderizing as well (marinades are often quite acidic, and the acid help break down meat fibers). Me, I don’t see much difference.

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4 Responses to Marinate, Macerate: Is there a Difference?

  1. LML says:

    I think of macerating as gently squashing some of the fruit as it is placed to soak in the flavoring liquid.

  2. Chana says:

    And I always thought macerating referred to mixing fruit with sugar so the liquid is drawn out and the sugar dissolves. Live and learn.

  3. joepastry says:

    Hey Annemarie!

    Actually I won’t put that up, no offense. But that’s very interesting indeed. Part of the objective of both marinating and macerating is to soften the fruit/flesh. So the term fits! Thanks for a fascinating comment!

    - Joe

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