The most important ingredient in cooking – time

Soups, stews, or other spicy dishes – uneaten in the depths of the fridge, or standing alone on the turned-off burner. When do they get a patch – leftovers, and when should they not? What processes take place in them? Someone will say that they ferment, as with leftovers. And others will say: lie. However, food, even if it is an exquisite work of art, does not remain static. After all, although the cooking process ends, it does not mean that the taste does not evolve, and the consistency does not change. Of course, the dish still works and often adds features that, without a pinch of time, would remain undiscovered.

Photo: Instagram @changliuchef

So what’s changing?

First of all, the crunchiness of the ingredients and the structure are felt the most. The meat becomes soft. Amino acids are released that can enhance the umami of food. Of course, in the case of vegetables, there is also a change in structure. The softness can crush vegetables completely. Therefore, it is important to fry the vegetables before pouring the broth, tomato puree, or water. This will make us feel them clearly even the next day and easily distinguish what we eat.

Secondly – since the 5th flavor has already been mentioned – this is also changing. Bitterness and sourness are reduced, and the whole thing acquires sweet notes – which is not always desirable. Even more so if there is starch in the dish, which releases more glucose and sucrose. Sometimes, however, the whole process has a positive effect, deepening the umami of the dishes. And you have to remember that spices can lose their potency.

Photo: Instagram @changliuchef

The third aspect is fat. It is well known that it is a carrier of flavor. Gives smoothness to sauces and soups. What is greasy spreads on the tongue stays with our taste buds longer. And the whole process intensifies and prolongs the taste experience. Therefore, when dealing with beef stroganoff or any other stew, we should give it time. It allows spices to mature, to penetrate soups, sauces, stews, or curries. Particles of aromatic spices settle in fats over time, making them more accessible. Thanks to this, we can sense more nuances on the plate.

Of course, the view of time and qualifying a dish as leftovers is not so much subjective for the person as for the dish itself. Not every recipe or product tolerated time. However, where we can use it, the best seasoning, let’s try. After all, everything tastes better in moderation.

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