Our favourite way of preparing veggies involved fat (butter of coconut oil usually) and letting the vegetables caramelize in the fat. This brings out a very nice, sweet flavour. We do this for starchy vegetables, but almost for everything else too. (You have to try the belgian endive, just baked in butter!!!)
And we don't use sugar!!! No no no, just the vegetable and the fat and the heat.
Of course you don't want to burn it, that can't be good, not for taste, not for health. But what happens if you caramelize food.
Does it change something sugarwise, because it tastes sweeter?
Are there any other things worth considering? I have learned that exogenous AGEs are not that big a problem.
Thanks for your thoughts!
asked byPieter_D (10299)
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on February 15, 2011
at 12:48 PM
When you cook starch, two things happen.
The starch gelatinizes.
The sugar (released by gelatinization) caramelizes.
These things happen at different temperatures. You can have one without the other.
Gelatinization is what makes starchy foods sweeter. It also makes them softer. It happens at low temperatures (boiling water is more than hot enough). It does not involve oxidation. So far as I know, it's perfectly safe. When starch gelatinizes, some of its molecular bonds break and fragments called dextrins get released. Dextrins are chains of sugar molecules. They taste sweet.
Caramelization is something else entirely. It means sugar is burning. It's turning brown, and will turn black if you don't stop in time, because it's oxidizing. So far as I know, caramelization doesn't make food sweeter. It just creates the distinctive caramel taste.
You can gelatinize food without caramelization by boiling it. This happens because caramelization requires a temperature higher than the boiling point of water.
For example, carrots and sweet potatoes get sweeter when boiled. They become gelatinized but not caramelized.