Brining is the process of applying brine to food. Brining is often used in cooking and the production of some foods.
Brining is used in cooking meat and poultry. The meat is soaked in a brine solution for a period of time. The brining process helps the cooked meat stay moist by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, through a process called osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked.
Some cheeses are washed in brine during production. The brine itself will add flavours to the cheese. The salty environment will also aid growth of the Brevibacterium linens bacteria. This type of bacteria gives certain cheeses a unique odour and flavour. Cheeses such as Munster, Limburger, Port-du-Salut, Raclette, and Nasal contain this bacteria.
Salt is used in processing fish to extend its shelf life. The salt reduces water activity in the fish flesh, reduced water activity stops microbial growth before significant spoilage takes place.
To ensure that the salt penetrates deep into the fish, brine is frequently used. Sodium chloride diffuses through the fish flesh by a dialysis mechanism and water is diffused out due to osmotic pressure between the brine and fish muscle solution.
Brining also results in the elution of soluble proteins. These proteins form a glossy pellicle on the surface. This finish is considered quite attractive.
Immersion freezing is the proocess of placing fish into a liquid that has a low freezing point. It is used to ensure complete contact between the surface of the fish and the freezing medium. The typical medium is salt brine with a eutectic point of -21.2*c.