You say marinate I say macerate.

strawberries in a colander. macerating is to fruit what marinating is to meat and vegetables.

I saw an article recently that described how the income tax rate works. It was a duh moment. I mean, I’m a smart guy and reasonably well educated. Heck, I have an MBA, but I just hadn’t thought much about it before.

What was the big reveal? That we all pay the same tax rate on each dollar. So if someone makes more than $157,500 they pay an income tax of 32% on those dollars, but they pay the same 22% on dollars 38,701 through 82,500 that you and I would. I’m not making any policy recommendations here, I had just never thought of it that way.

This is exactly how I felt the first time someone explained macerating to me. Practically, macerating is often described in recipe directions as sprinkling cut fruit or berries with a little sugar, tossing them together and letting them sit. Got it?

Jonathan holding blueberries. Macerating is to fruit what marinating is to meat and vegetables.
Photography by Jenny Lehman

Then I was told that macerating is to fruit what marinating is to meats and vegetables. But tossing something in sugar doesn’t sound much like a marinade, does it? However, when you toss that fruit in sugar, the sugar draws liquid from the fruit so it ends up marinating – or macerating – in its own juice.

Mind blown. Enjoy the rest of your day. Maybe go and macerate a little fruit. Just for fun.

Fresh macerated berries

Serves 6

You can leave out the Grand Marnier and just let the sugar pull the juices from the berries to serve as a marinade, but the orange liqueur adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Brandy would be nice too 🙂

Strawberries at the farmers market
Photography by Jenny Lehman


  • 2 cups berries, choose one or mix up your favorites
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs Grand Marnier


  • Toss everything together and refrigerate from one hour to one day. Toss them occasionally to coat them in the juices. They’ll last 3-5 days in the fridge depending on how ripe they are. But don’t worry. You’ll eat them all long before then.

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