You want to make your meat more flavorful and tender, which can be achieved with marinating. This process is where you soak your food in a seasoned liquid, usually acidic, before you cook it. There are now many techniques in marinating meats, but the most common is where the liquid used is acidic. This means it contains ingredients such as:
- Lemon juice
Others may prefer something enzymatic in which the ingredients for marinade often include:
Aside from the mentioned ingredients, most marinades have oils, spices, and herbs. While marinades do add flavor and soften your food, there are some people who say you shouldn’t marinate. Others claim there are health benefits of doing so. Which one should you follow?
Why You Should Marinate
Marinating can be good for your health for the following reasons:
1. Helps Reduce Cancer Risk: Cooking in high heat, such as in grilling, raises the amount of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines or HCAs in your food. These HCAs can cause cancer, but marinating is said to reduce the amount by as much as 99%. What’s even better is when you have rosemary since this herb can up the potential of anticancer properties of your food.
2. Prevents Bacteria Growth: Acidic marinades can help slow down the growth of bacteria in meats. You can worry less with listeria and other harmful pathogens when you marinate your meat.
3. Easier Digestion: Marinating meat in acidic ingredients can tenderize your food, which can help your stomach digest the protein easier than without marinade. Additionally, a good marinade can lock in moisture, so the meat will not toughen up and dry out.
The list above truly seems beneficial for our health, but why do people say you should not marinate? Here are some of the reasons why:
1. While bacteria can be prevented, marinating your meat does not guarantee there will be no bacteria, which is often a misconception. You need to put the meat in the fridge while you soak it; otherwise, you will not get the anti-bacteria benefits.
2. Some people use uncooked marinade, which is very unhealthy and can be laden with bacteria. If you are making the sauce yourself, make sure that you boil the marinade first so as to kill bacteria.
3. Marinating in metal containers can cause the mixture to react with the metal. Make sure you use re-sealable plastic bags or plastic or glass containers for marinating. If you know how to marinate your meat though, you are completely safe and you will reap the benefits as well.