- past of macerate
Macerating refers to softening or breaking into pieces with liquid.
It can refer to a form of food preparation. Raw, dried or preserved fruit or vegetables are soaked in liquid to soften and to absorb the flavor of the liquid.http://thefoody.com/glossary/glossarym.html In the case of fruit, they are often just sprinkled with sugar, then left to sit and release their own juices. This process makes the food more flavorful and easier to chew and digest.
Also, French Polynesians macerate their native flower, Tiare, which is also known as the Tahitian gardenia, in refined coconut extract for a number of days to infuse the fragrance of the Tiare into the oil. The result is Monoi de Tahiti oil, which is used to moisturize and perfume the skin.
Macerating is often confused with "marination", also known as marinating, which is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking.
A related use is in "macerating toilets", which use a grinding or blending mechanism to reduce human waste to a slurry, which can then be moved by pumping. This is useful when, for example, water pressure is low or one wishes to install a toilet below the sewer drain pipe.