Using Fruit Powders to Tenderize Meat

All-natural, Tasty, and Easy to Use

Are you forever on the hunt for a clever way to improve the texture of a cheap cut of meat? Are you sensitive to the effects of MSG or just prefer not to use it? Then natural fruit powders are your answer. You can turn tough, cheap meat cuts into juicy, tender bites by using fruit powder as a meat tenderizer.

Certain fruits contain enzymes that break down protein molecules necessary to tenderize tough meat cuts. Indigenous populations around the world have used fruit to tenderize their meat in traditional recipes for centuries. You can make a modern version of folk dishes by marinating or rubbing your meat with fruit powder and adding your favorite herbs and spices.

Using fruit powders as an ingredient in your marinades or rubs also ensures that the full flavor distributes easily, evenly, and faster throughout your meat cuts. Muscle fiber will break down faster than fat.

Fruit tenderizers

  • Tomato Powder: Tomatoes are acidic which is why you’ll find many barbecue sauces made from them (it’s not just for their great flavor and tantalizing color).
  • Figs, Pineapple, Kiwis, Papaya: These contain vegetable enzymes that dissolve protein and connective tissues and work best on thin cuts.
  • Citrus Powders. These contain acids that soften muscle fibers (and add flavor too). For citrus powders, try lemon, lime, or orange.
  • Ginger: You’ll often find ginger listed as an ingredient in marinades. Did you know it’s not just for its flavor? Ginger has a proteolytic enzyme that naturally breaks down protein.


Fruit enzymes work at higher temperatures

Enzymes in our bodies tend to work best around 98.6°F/37°C. However, enzymes from fruits, such as papaya or pineapple, work best between 125-160°F (50–70°C). If left too long on the meat, they can completely digest it. What does it mean for your meat?

  • If you are dehydrating your meat, use marinades with fruit powder added and rinse the meat after marinating but before dehydrating. It is best to wash off rubs as well.
  • If you are grilling or oven roasting your meat, the higher heat will stop the process of tenderizing and need not be rinsed off. Rubs work well in this instance.

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