Here's How To Macerate Strawberries

Welcome to Advice for Impatient Foodies, R29's new cooking column. Each week, our executive food editor and Impatient Foodie founder, Elettra Wiedemann, will tackle any and all questions you might have about food. Seriously, no query is too big or too small. And don't be embarrassed! We've all had moments in the kitchen when we had no idea WTF was going on and wished we could ask someone other than Google for some pointers. So whether you need help frying an egg, knowing when your chicken is done, or deciding what to make for dinner, we've got your back.

Macerated berries seem to be a huge food trend of late — but I'm not really sure what macerating technically is. Are macerated strawberries just smashed strawberries?
Photo: Teresa Lett/Getty Images.
With the Pokémon Go craze happening this week, I am starting to feel like time has reversed and we're back in the '90s. With that in mind, I'd like to approach this question with a good old SAT-style analogy (remember these?!): maceration: marination.

What I am trying to say is maceration is the fruit version of marinating chicken or meat. In a nutshell, both are used to tenderize and bring out flavors. So, let's take your example of strawberries. To macerate strawberries, yes, you would cut or smash them up and combine with sugar, and let it sit (covered at room temperature) for at least one hour to overnight. The sugar will draw out the strawberries' flavor, but will not reduce the fruit to mush. This will turn them into a delightful syrup that can be added to ice cream, cakes, or even Greek yogurt.

I would also recommend adding some kind of acid into the mix — like a citric acid, wine, or liqueur. This will make the macerated berries even more delicious and complex-flavored, and the added sugar will help to balance the flavors out. Here are some great ideas for flavor combos. Happy macerating!

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