Cooking is an art; with time and practice, it gets better. For a healthy and tasty meal, it’s time you invest in chopping, prepping, and marination that offers the ultimate outcome. While veg items go straight into the hot plate, the non-veg delicacies require a proper marination stage before you ultimately start with the cooking part. Based on the thickness and amount of the meat, the ideal marination time varies between 30 minutes to a whole day! And the more you marinate meat with natural ingredients, the better it tastes.
The Art Of Marination
First things first! Let’s help you understand why it’s important to marinate meat out of everything else. There are two exclusive motivations – one is to tenderize the meat and make it softer, and the second is to include a particular flavor. The marinating process is applied to various types of meat – pork, lamb, beef, rabbit, and chicken.
Typically, marination involves soaking meat in a seasoned liquid before you cook. However, one can also include all-natural ingredients, – including water/oil emulsions, extracts, mineral salts, organic acids, aromatic vegetables, lemon juice, wine, soy sauce, fruit juices and vinegar, essential oils, herbs, fermented dairy products, and spices.
You can continue to marinate meat with natural ingredients using various methods – tumbling, dipping (soaking), and injecting into the product.
Why Marinate Meat With Natural Ingredients?
Marinating meat before cooking is a traditional process followed through generations. As already discussed, it improves the flavor and tenderness. The dispersion of ions – phosphate and sodium, inside marinates is responsible for the tenderization effect. Adding the phosphate salts – tripolyphosphate and pyrophosphate – enhances the meat’s water retention capacity. Thus reducing cooking losses and improving the product and texture yield.
Also, chefs often use an ingredient like Sodium bicarbonate in marinating chicken and pork to reduce the problem of PSW meats (pale, soft, and exudative). The marinade’s ingredients and pH decide the meat’s physicochemical properties! These also reduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) levels in grilled meats.
Marination is slow; you must invest the required time to yield the maximum output. Because everyone around is focused on healthy eating, using chemical essentials to fast-forward meat tenderization is not a great idea. Inappropriate use of the same in quantity can lead to sour, metallic, and bitter meat. Also, leaving meat unattained for more than the stipulated time can lead to fermentation, causing ill health.
The Decision To Marinate Meat With Natural Ingredients
Over time, it has been noted how marinating meat using natural ingredients has improved the textural properties and brought down the cooking time needed. The proteolytic enzymes and low pH from plants can improve the textural properties of the meat by affecting its myofibrillar proteins. They lead to the solubilization and degradation of connective tissues, reducing muscle fiber thickness and diameter. Initially, the meat fiber swells, and there’s an increase in proteolysis by cathepsins.
Organic marinades with proteolytic enzymes or low pH offer tenderness in jerky produced from initially tough meat, such as wild boar. Lemon and honey-based marinades and vinegar can flavor the tender meat and add an intense aroma. Also, as per a study, marinating pork loin slices with a solution containing extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and beer enhances the sensory and technological properties of the meat. Overall, it extended the meat’s shelf life to six days, besides enhancing the taste.
Using Plant-Based Marinades
It’s the natural oxidants from plants that add to the shelf-life of the meat. The antioxidants are good at breaking the free radical chains of oxidation! In the process, the donation of hydrogen atoms from phenolic groups prevents lipid or protein oxidation. Other studies reveal that ingredients used in marination are also capable of reducing foodborne pathogens. Further, essential oils like thyme, rosemary, oregano, coriander, basil, ginger, garlic, juniper, clove, and fennel are known for their strong antioxidant properties. These, used alone or combined, can extend the shelf life of meat products and meat.
Using Fermented Dairy Products As Marinades
Naturally fermented dairy products (FDPs), like kefir, yogurt, acid milk, buttermilk, and acid whey, are marinades. As per research, the presence of lactic acid bacteria in dairy products adds to the food’s elongated shelf life. The process also eliminates unnecessary oxidation, enhances the physicochemical properties in meat products, and improves color stability post-heat treatment!
Since everyone nowadays is into healthy eating and good food, adding natural marinades is always a plus over the rest. Besides the home kitchen level, when companies start to marinate meat with natural ingredients, it enhances the consumer’s willingness to buy. Hence, one can also aim for some steady profits in business.