Sous vide is the process of cooking food in a vacuum and precise temperature. While there are several containers suitable for this cooking method, vacuum bags are arguably the best. Read on and learn the benefits of food vacuum sealers and how they work for sous vide cooking.
Benefits of Food Vacuum Sealers to Sous Vide
Food-safe resealable bags and jars are excellent for sous vide. However, vacuum seal bags are several times better, especially when considering cooking efficiency and food storage. First-time sous vide cooks can get more consistent, and perhaps better, results, too. These advantages highlight the reasons why your vacuum sealing and sous vide machines go hand in hand.
It prevents leaks and moisture loss.
Ziploc bags are suitable for sous vide. The problem is, leaks can happen with resealable plastic, especially if your favourite sous vide recipes require higher temperature settings. This problem is also likely when sous vide cooking for extended periods.
When this happens, your food will not cook properly, plus all the moisture and nutrition go into the water bath. Vacuum-sealed bags are more durable. With the air removed inside these bags, there’s also a lower risk of meat bones puncturing the plastic material.
It improves flavour retention and absorption.
Food vacuum sealers work wonders when paired with marinated food. You see, removing the air out of the bag forces meat pores to open up, allowing your marinade, brine or spice rub to go through. Come grilling time, releasing the vacuum closes the pores with all the flavours locked inside. Flavour and juices also remain even if you cook the food in the bag. With everything hermetically sealed, no evaporation or drying out can take place.
It prevents the bag from floating.
Here’s another advantage of removing as much air from the bag through vacuum sealing. Like inflatable tube rings or boats, the air left in a resealable bag will make it float. And in sous vide cooking, that means uneven cooking and waste of time and energy. A vacuum-sealed bag, on the other hand, will stay underwater throughout. Keeping it submerged ensures that heat transfer from water to food is faster and constant. This way, you get perfect results even without regular monitoring.
It ensures food safety and quality.
Some sous vide recipes require long cooking times. And so, at times, it’s best to use sous vide for batch cooking. But transferring your pre-cooked food in containers can be messy and time-consuming. Once the food is in the freezer, it becomes at risk of other issues like freezer burn and cross-contamination.
Vacuum food sealers help solve these. With sealed bags, you create a barrier that protects your frozen food from frigid air and ice crystal formation. Its flavour and quality stay the same up to the time you want to reheat or cook it further. The absence of air means there’s no room for bacteria or moulds to grow either. The best part is you get to cook and store in one container without the extra waste or clean-up. These benefits are useful if you do meal prepping or have a food business.
It keeps food items organised.
Vacuum bags are more compact, stackable and space-efficient. This way, you can buy and store food in larger quantities. You can also meal prep family-sized portions of meals with ease. And with your food portioned and properly labelled, it’s easier to keep tabs of your supplies.
How to Seal Food for Sous Vide Cooking
Sealing and cooking your food for sous vide need the right equipment and steps. Here are some of the things you need to prepare.
Things you need
- Food vacuum sealer. An external-type sealer is best for home use. For convenience, look for brands that also make vacuum bag rolls that you can cut to size.
- Sous vide machine. Immersion circulators are more compact than sous vide tanks or ovens. Make sure to choose one base on power and temperature precision.
- Frypan or skillet. Most sous vide dishes need stovetop cooking for colour and more flavour. A cast-iron pan can give your steaks and fillets the perfect sear.
Steps and tips
- Add flavour to your food. Aromatics like herbs, garlic, ginger, oil or butter and citrus zest will work well. Generously season your cuts of meat, poultry or fish with salt and pepper then coat it evenly with your choice of flavourings.
- Prep the bag and seal. Use the right bag size and follow the steps on vacuum sealing.
- Cook your food based on preference. Prep your water container and set your immersion circulator. Follow the guidelines in your manual for proper cooking times and temperatures. Afterwards, sear your food with the aromatics to get a flavourful crust.
While food vacuum sealers are useful in the kitchen, they also come in handy for non-food items. Check out this article to learn how to use these machines for your documents, travel essentials and more!