Tenderizers

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

tenderizers are used with meat, to make it more tender.

There are two ways of doing this. One is mechanical: breaking down the meat fibres by chopping or grinding. The second is to use a chemical agent. Marinades incorporating acid ingredients such as wine, vinegar, or fruit juice come into this category. The acid does act on the surface of the meat exposed to it, breaking down some of the links between proteins, but it also has a drying effect. Another chemical method is to add enzymes, extracted from plants, which break down proteins. Mixtures containing these are available from companies selling spices and seasonings. Papain (from unripe papaya) is usually the active ingredient. Bromelin, extracted from pineapple, and ficin, from figs, have a similar effect.