How to Macerate Berries

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor

Macerate, verb: to soften or break down by steeping in liquid.

You’ll most often see this technique in fruit-based recipes; the berries, peaches, or what-have-you sit in sugar and sometimes a bit of acid or liquor in order to enrich their flavors and soften them into a sweet, spoonable mess. This is how it’s done:

1. Start with a mixture of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. 

2. Add sugar (about 1/2 cup for every two pints of berries). 

3. Squeeze in fresh orange juice (1/2 of an orange). 

4. Toss to mix and let sit for 20 minutes. 

5. Spoon over cake, ice cream, or whatever else you want.

"Macerate" can also refer to the rehydrating of dried or preserved fruits or vegetables with liquid; while the fruit is sitting in that liquid, it is macerating. Once plump and full of flavor, it has been macerated. 

Got it? Good.