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The process of maturing a food or beverage to improve the flavor of the item being aged. The purpose of storing a product so it can age is to improve the overall taste and to impart the distinct characteristics provided by each storing technique. For wine and many liquors, ageing refers to the amount of time the product is stored in oak barrels, stainless steel barrels, or in bottles. Beverages can be aged for a few weeks or for lengths of time that can be for many decades.
When applied to cheeses or meats, ageing decreases the amount of moisture contained in the food, which results in a shaper and more concentrated flavor. Typically, when cheese or meat is aged, the food also becomes harder in texture. Cheeses become less buttery or smooth textured while the color darkens. Meats can become grainer in texture and noticeably less moist.
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