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French in origin, this term means "to preserve" which has been a traditional French method of keeping food in storage for longer periods of time. During a time when there was a lack of refrigeration, foods were preserved in jars under layers of fat or syrups as a means to store the contents for future use. Today, a confit is a common procedure or food created to intensify the flavor of ingredients as well as tenderizing the texture. A confit is any food that is prepared and preserved as it cooks for long periods of time with sugars, oils, broth, fat, wine, and similar food substances selected for the type of confit being made. As an example, a confit can consist of fruits that are cooked in sugar, meats that are cooked in fat, vegetables (eggplant, garlic, onion) that are cooked in olive oils and wine, or other foods that are cooked in a base stock and then kept for lengthy durations of time.

Meat confits, generally made with duck (confit de canard), goose (confit d'oie) or pork (confit de porc), as well as fish confits, are all cooked and then refrigerated in their own fat to preserve the meat and to seal in the moisture. When prepared with meat, the confit most often combines herbs such as thyme or garlic and seasonings such as salt and pepper, with oil or fat to become a main ingredient for stews, soups, main dishes, or meat fillings in foods like crepes. Fruit and many vegetable confits use sugar to preserve and flavor the ingredients that are then used as a finishing sauce to season a variety of meat dishes, desserts and other foods.

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