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“Confit” is one of the most mis-used words in cooking

Confit means that something has been cooked in its own fat…

… like duck or pork or even turkey… ideally for a long time… but also…

But it does also mean “preserved” and is the past participle of “Confire” according to my bg fat old dictionary. Also, according to a Guardian article some 12 years ago! So why the controversy…? Well it’s because the word means and meant preserved which evolved to preserved in fat. That was the way to keep meats through the winter and spring. (I’m sure I’ve explained before, the bacteria-barrier benefits on confit – even if it’s not in a vacuum sealed tin.) Conserve can be the same gist as preserve. My big dictionary says “confire” means “preserve/picle/candy – as in “preserving.

Now it seems everything that a chef wants to la-di-da up is suddenly a confit of something.

Confit is the past participle of Confire – to Preserve

Well if it’s a preserve (and has been preserved and kept)… fair do’s. But often it isn’t anything of the sort. And that’s where the misuse comes and I guess why people keep getting upset by it!  Not sure a lemon confit has really been preserved, has it?! Or a tomato. Quite possible is the fact that confiture (French jam/preserves – no doubt with the same route) has hi-jacked the “Confit” bit and so people thinkof sweet things.

NB Google “Translate” and some other translation websites give the meaning only as “candied”! (i.e. preserved with sugar) and leave out the word preserve altogether. The debate goes on…

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