Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Marinade effectiveness when frozen


mcdiarmid
 Share

Recommended Posts

Don't think this is a stupid question, but here goes. I searched through eG and also googled this, but didn't find a satisfactory answer.

I like to prep meat dishes with marinades, making them in batches and then freezing for an easy family meal later. They always seem to turn out fine, but I was wondering if anyone has come across any research regarding marinades below 0˚C. From a basic science aspect, the rate of chemical reactions would be slowed down by the lower temperature, but I haven't seen any quantitative or qualitative research regarding this effect on marinades.

Empirically, it may not matter in the kitchen, but I am interested in how timings are affected. For example, I have a flank steak marinade (sugar/acid combo) that is supposed to marinade in the fridge for 5 days before cooking. I have one steak in the fridge but the others are vacuum packed in the freezer. In this case, how would the timing for full marinade effect be changed? Has anyone come across studies regarding this stuff?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a stupid question at all. I've been considering freezing meats with a marinade for specific dishes, but have been wondering exactly the same thing. One thought I did have was that even if the "marination process" halts while the meat is frozen, it might continue as the meat thaws and I presume becomes permeable again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"From a basic science aspect, the rate of chemical reactions would be slowed down by the lower temperature, but I haven't seen any quantitative or qualitative research regarding this effect on marinades. "

Temperature has an exponential effect on chemical reaction rate but if the material is in a frozen state then the diffusion is very slow for the chemicals through a solid and i suspect essentially zero for all practical purposes such as marinade, so i would not expect any noticeable effect from a marinade once the marinade was frozen.-Dick

Edited by budrichard (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do this a fair amount with chicken on the presumption that it'll infuse as you defrost the chicken. It always seems to work pretty well, and although I haven't done a side-by-side comparison with a refrigerated sample, the flavor from memory is comparable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All good thoughts so far everyone - thank you for your input. Most seem to infer that the marinading process is essentially "frozen" when the food is frozen. We know that chemical reactions, diffusion, and even the freezing point of the marinaded product are changed. The question remains then - does this mean that if, in my example above for the 5 day marinating time, that the time spent frozen doesn't count? I am not sure that we can conclude this yet. Even when frozen, food still oxidizes and dehydrates - this is minimized by vacuum sealing, but it still happens. I am not sure if there is even any research on this? Pubmed searches produce alot of studies on marinades and bacterial survivability, but little on temperature effects. I imagine seeing something similar to "Time-dependent marinade absorption and retention, cooking yield, and palatability of chicken filets marinated in various phosphate solutions" by Y L Xiong, but in terms of temperature. I know this is a bit esoteric, but it is pretty common for most of us to freeze marinated meals and it would be interesting to see some science behind our assumptions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"it would be interesting to see some science behind our assumptions. "

The Science is as I Posted but as with all Science without an experimental confirmation, its just a conclusion. If you possess the background on how to conduct experimental testing while not introducing bias in to your results, you can do the testing yourself but I'm not sure you can define any objective end results that you can objectively test for and your conclusions if based on taste will be highly subjective.

It's easy to ask a question but to answer definitively you must have a background in the Science your questioning.

Since a marinade relies on liquid convection and diffusion and a higher temperature than a frozen state for any chemical reaction, I think its very easy to conclude that with the marinade frozen that the convection is zero and diffusion is very much reduced and the chemical reaction rate which is an exponential with temperature is quite a bit less, that nothing happens in the frozen state but since I have no objective properly conducted test results, I used the word "expect". -Dick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...