FitttZee » Knowledgebase » All About Moisture in Cooking

All About Moisture in Cooking

Is it really liquids that make food juicy and moist? Check out all there is worth to know, how to cook meat that’s ready to flow!

Moist heat techniques wield an exceptional power to tenderize robust fibers, whether it’s the resilience of meat protein or the sturdiness of plant cellulose. Yet, this softening prowess isn’t universally advantageous, sometimes rendering moist heat a less fitting choice for certain foods.

Methods like sautéing and deep-frying, which involve fats, fall under the category of dry-heat techniques. It’s simply because water doesn’t mix with fat.

Moist Cooking Methods

  • Blanching
    A swift dip of food into boiling water followed by an ice-cold plunge, serves various purposes. It helps loosen fruit and vegetable skins while arresting the natural enzymes that cause their deterioration. Many freeze fruits and veggies after blanching to retain their vibrant colors and freshness during storage.
  • Boiling
    At the standard 212° F / 100°C at sea level, showcases its robust bubbles that can disrupt delicate foods. It’s ideal for robust fare like beans, pasta, and hardy vegetables. Quick and efficient due to high heat.
  • Braising
    A slow simmer of sizable meat cuts in a modest liquid amount.
  • Poaching
    A gentle submersion of food into water hovering between 160° – 180°F / 70° – 82°C. Perfect for delicate foods like eggs and fish, escaping the chaos of rapid boiling ensures a graceful cook.
  • Scalding
    150°F / 65°C, assists in dissolving solids like sugar, flour, or chocolate into liquids, maintaining their form without disrupting their essence. In the past, scalding was a technique employed to combat bacteria in milk before pasteurization gained popularity.
  • Simmering
    Gentle cooking above 180°F / 82°C. It favors slow-cooking processes, preserving moisture and flavor—ideal for tougher meats and hearty soups.
  • Steaming
    Harnessing the power of vaporized water, emerges as the gentlest moist-heat method. Its nutrient-preserving prowess surpasses boiling or simmering, as food doesn’t immerse in hot water.
  • Stewing
    Akin to simmering but with less liquid, generates swift yet gentle bubbles. It’s perfect for tenderizing tough meats or fibrous vegetables, with the retained liquid serving as a flavorful sauce.

Moisture & Juices

Contrary to widespread belief, submerging in liquid doesn’t always guarantee tenderness.

In the realm of moist heat cooking liquid serves as the conduit for transferring heat. This method gracefully dances with lower temperatures, elongating the cooking duration.

Water, that universal medium, boils at 212°F / 100°C (at sea level), capping the temperature until every droplet evaporates. Breaking this limit requires the application of pressure.

At microscopic level a raw piece of meat resembling a cluster of liquid-filled straws woven together. At this stage, these straws are brimming with moisture.

When heat enters the equation the meat starts to cook. These straw-like structures contract, expelling liquid regardless of whether the cooking environment is moist or dry.

When approached skillfully, cooking at moderated temperatures and extended periods with moist heat could yield a juicier, more tender outcome. But it’s not about the liquid, it’s about water’s ability to keep the temperature for an elongated time. Which could also be a problem if it’s too high. Try boiling a chicken breast until its internal temperature hits 170°F / 75°C, then let it cool—a dry outcome awaits.


Brining is out ally when it comes to retaining juices but not our savior.

Submerging raw meat in a saline solution alters the proteins’ composition, enabling them to hold onto more moisture than they naturally would. Added liquid can slightly dilute the meat’s flavor though so there is a tradeoff to consider.


  • Cooking environment does play a role in cooking
  • Juicier meat is the result of temperature control
  • Brining helps retaining moisture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *