To caramelise is the process of browning sugars. Granulated sugar can be caramelised in a pan until it turns golden brown and takes on a nutty flavour.
Fruit and vegetables can also be caramelised by cooking them slowly in a small amount of fat until they are brown and shiny.
See how to caramelise onions for burgers below,
Methods of caramelising
- Wet caramelisation;
This method is often preferred by home cooks, as it’s easier to avoid burning the sugar.
Takes longer, but this can lead to more complex flavours.
- Dry caramelisation;
Used by candy makers due to shorter cooking time.
- Coloured caramelised sugar;
Wet caramelisation with added food colouring.
Whilst most people choose onions to caramelise, almost all vegetables can be prepared this way.
All vegetables contain sugar which is required to activate the caramelising process.
Root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots and leeks are usually higher in sugar than other vegetables and hence caramelise more successfully.
How to Caramelise Vegetables
- Start by peeling the vegetables then slice or chop as required, not too thick, we want them to cook quickly.
- Now heat a pan on high then add butter.
- As soon as the butter melts add the vegetables and turn the temperature down so that all the vegetables will cook but not burn.
- Keep the vegetables moving as they’re cooking this will also help to prevent burning.
- Once the vegetables have been cooking long enough to soften, add a little brown sugar to assist the caramelisation.
- Continue to keep them moving in the pan during this time until they begin to turn golden brown on both sides.
How to caramelise onions
Sweet, golden-brown caramelised onions in just a few simple steps.