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Everything you need to know about MARINADES

Marinades: the GOOD, BAD, and the UGLY!
Recently a student inquired the use and effectivness of Marinades: What do they do and what rules are there in using them?  I gave her a quick lesson: The most common myth of marinades is the belief that soaking a tough cut of meat will magically make it tender.  Sadly, this isn't true most of the time.  There are guidlines.  Read below and find most of  the answers.
The GOOD:  Llimited marinades are very successful at adding the flavor to meat, chicken, and fish.
The BAD: The are usually a disaster at tendering.
The UGLY:  The two most popular types of marinades are acidic (made with citrus acid, vinegar, or wine), and enzymatic (made with ingredients such as pineapple and papaya.  Although both types work primarily on the surface of the food, they lead to different results: highly acidic marinades can actually toughen food, while enzymatic marinades can turn the surface of the food to mush.
Continued next blog entry.
The truth is, Acidic marinades "denature" proteins.  Think about the raw proteins in raw meat, chicken, or fish as individual untils of coiled ribbon.  When these proteins are exposed to an acidic, marinade, the bonds break between them and the proteins unwind. At the same time unspeakable things are happening, the protein bonds tighten, water is squeezed out and the tissure becomes tough. 


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