To let food get older under controlled conditions in order to improve flavor or texture or both.
1. Aged meat has been stored 3 to 6 weeks at an optimal temperature of 34°F to 38°F and in low humidity. During this time it undergoes an enzymatic change that intensifies flavor, deepens color and tenderizes by softening some of the connective tissue. The longer meat is aged, the more quickly it will cook. The cryovac method of aging involves vacuum packing the meat with a vapor- and moistureproof film so the so-called aging takes place in transit from slaughterhouse to the consumer’s home.
2. Aging cheese refers to storing it in a temperature-controlled area until it develops the desired texture and flavor.
3. Wine is aged both in the barrel and in the bottle. Generally, red wines benefit from long bottle-aging more than white wines.
© Copyright Barron’s Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER’S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.