The benefits of cooking sous vide
sous vide makes your cooking, and your living better
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20 reasons to use a sous vide machine
Whilst the consumer market is flooded with all in one kitchen appliances like slow cookers, crockpots and Instant pots, the sous vide tool is quietly making it´s entrance as both a more professional way to slow cook food, precisely and to perfection !
It doesn´t do the searing, and it takes time to cook the food, but that´s the only disadvantage. Science is on your side and gives you so many more benefits.
What started in restaurants as a technical trend, has now become a culinary technique that is here to stay, because of all the following benefits.
1. Cuts out errors and makes you a confident cook
Could you really cook everything perfectly, consistently every time, all by yourself – can you depend on that ? Sous vide virtually guarantees perfectly and evenly cooked food every time.
Even a beginner can use the sous vide machine to cook the trickiest parts of a meal consistently and precisely like an expert chef !
2. Improves the natural qualities of the food
It enhances and preserves the natural flavours and aromas, so it feels like the flavours are more intense from sous vide cooking
It retains colours ( not always a benefit when its raw meat mind you, but pre or post-searing fixes that anyway.) but it is specially useful for food presentation especially for brighter fruit and vegetables.
3. NO messy kitchen
There is less cooking on the stove or in the oven, so first of all, fewer containers mean less mess.
It frees up the traditional cooking space too, so you can use it to do other things… and leaves your kitchen always looking nice and neat !
4. Less wastage
It’s intensely practical. You can just store and regenerate any leftovers. Just vacuum seal and freeze either prepped or leftover cooked food. It can then be easily cooked or ‘regenerated’ in the sous vide another time.
Traditional cooking tends to shrink food so it feels like portions are smaller. Sous vide cooking doesn’t shrink the food, so the portions feel bigger ! We find we now share a chicken breast if its cooked sous vide, rather than have one each when it is oven cooked, grilled or fried! So our meat goes further.
5. Saves money
You can buy low cost cuts of meat and give them the long slow method of cooking guaranteeing the most tender of results.
As mentioned above, there is also less food shrinkage with sous vide cooking. With a minimum loss of humidity, weight and therefore size of the food, it feels like there is more food to go round !
6. Makes entertaining easier
You can pick a temperature and time that will cook your chosen food to the perfect point for you or your guests. Just think, you have a dinner party with 8 guests all wanting medium rare steaks. You can sous vide them all, at the same time, to exactly the same temperature. You could even take care of allergies or special requests by bagging them up separately with extra marinades or seasonings.
Because the cooking process is already perfected for you, you don’t have to spend time tending to it. As a result, you can spend your time on more interesting bits of the dinner like creating marinades, finishing and learning plating up skills with fancy sauces.
7. Gives you extra time
You might not realise this at first because it does take longer to cook the food. However, it’s mostly hands off cooking, so you can spend your time doing something better while it’s cooking. If you are using a wifi system you can set the cooking off before you get home.
No need to worry about taking it out exactly at the ready time either. Once it reaches the cooked temperature, it just holds. You can leave it there probably for another hour or two. Our app tells us exactly how long the food is good to hold, depending on what we are cooking.
Finally, you can batch prep so easily with sous vide when you have the time to, then save time when it´s a more precious comodity. See no. 12 below !
8. Healthier for you and your guests.
Cuts down the stress of cooking, which is a big advantage.
It keeps the nutrients and vitamins in, rather than losing them when you cook or steam more traditionally, so your food is now much healthier for you.
You only need very little oil, fat or salt added to the raw food. You’ll probably use about the same oil for 4 steaks in a sous vide, as you would have done for one on the pan. I know what you’re thinking … that you still have to sear in a pan. However, there’s no need to coat the pan because you are only going to sear for a very short time.
9. More flavour
Sous vide preserves the flavour and texture of the food. The meat is very tender and succulent, with all the juices kept either in the food or the bag.
The vacuum maximises the penetration of the marinades, herb and spices that you add. Consequently, the flavour gets intensified.
10. Makes you a more creative cook
You can experiment in small portions with marinades and sauces, herbs and spices without making too much mess.
At the moment, I’m enjoying experimenting with a 1 egg / 1 portion custard cooked in a jam jar. I want to see if I can replace the sugar with stevia or something more healthy than a half cup of castor sugar! I’m also interested in using the jars and want to explore different herbs and spices with vegetables and fruit.
11. It's a safer way to cook !
With sous vide, you have massively reduced any risk of fire in your kitchen. Just pop the vacuum pack into the sous vide container when you are out at work, or doing errands. It’s got everything under control so you don’t have to worry about the gas being on. You don’t have to be there at the precise moment it’s ready either, it will keep at the same constant temperature and not dry out or overcook. (See temperatures and times post for more considerations here.)
12. It's ideal for batch cooking
You can batch prepare meals for the whole week. Just vacuum seal your raw food all prepped with extra seasonings and freeze.
You can even batch cook in advance, freeze, then just regenerate ( check out our FAQs to see what we mean by that ) the food when you need it.
You could also batch poach eggs in their shells on Sunday, and leave them cooked in the fridge. This takes the pressure off during the week when when time is tight. They just need a quick reheating ( they done cooking so won´t spoil) so you can still easily have a luxurious breakfast when you´re all rushing out to school and work.
13. Yes, it's safe
You don’t need to worry about low temperature cooking not killing bacteria. It still kills bacteria through pasteurisation, caused by cooking in a vacuum seal for a long time.
There is a correct minimum temperature for each food type and your machine and guides tell you exactly what to do. When food is cooked sous vide it reaches a temperature where bacteria is eliminated, so it is safe for pregnant women to eat. Pregnant diners craving for the sous vide goodness don’t need to worry about ordering a wagyu beef cheek prepared this way, because it will be cooked through even though it’s texture is still soft.
As long as you use BPA free plastic, we believe there are also no other known concerns.
14. You can use Ziplock bags, and Eco friendly bags.
You don’t need a vacuum sealer really to get started.
As long as you use BPA free plastic, ( a food grade, freezer type bag usually), there are also no known concerns over using plastic. There will be others that you can use, IKEA bags for example . Make sure the bags you buy are suitable for sous vide cooking – have a look at the temperature guides on the bags and this will tell you the safety of the plastic in the freezer, sous vide, or perhaps the microwave or dishwasher.
Of course, we would prefer everyone to use more eco friendly, re-usable silicone food bags like the brilliant Stasher bags. This one we love because it´s unusually big. It´s on my wishslist !
15. So simple to use
It’s unbelievably simple to use. All you need is an immersion circulator wand, a pot of water and a ( BPA free) plastic bag for the food.
It really is something a beginner can do, especially with the visual aids and guides on the smartphone from Joule to take you step by step.
16. It's more efficient
The transfer of heat through water is eleven times more efficient than through air.
17. Makes you a more adventurous cook
You have the confidence that you can buy an expensive fish or cut of meat to play with, and know that you aren’t going to risk ruining it!
18. You can control the smells
Now this could be a controversial one, but hear me out.
I do love a slow cooker for the smells it produces as you´re getting closer to meal times. However I don´t like savoury, stewy smells first thing in the morning, or when I´m in the mood for something sweet, or not in the mood for food at all, or have visitors !
The beauty of sous vide is that you don’t have any mixed up food or smoke smells or stains to deal with while it´s cooking. That also means definitely no smoke alarm going off ! I you make a stew in the bag, you´ll smell it as soon as it´s released, not before. You can also sear meat at the end, before you plate up, and create those wonderful smells the maillard reaction gives off.
19. The 10 reasons restaurants use it
Sous Vide gives busy restaurants these 10 significant operating benefits.
- Precise and consistent cooking
- Time saving, by prepping meals in advance to free up time in busy periods.
- Better cost control, because the meals (product) shrink less, making portion control accurate.
- Less power consumed, compared to ovens.
- Keeps the chefs cool (literally). Less cooking by heat means that the ambient temperature of the kitchen (and any risk of fire !) is lower.
- Different dishes can be regenerated at the same time, without mixing up the flavours.
- Reduced cleaning times and less cooking equipment required.
- Brilliant for planning and organisation.
- Cuts down stress, which is a big advantage in an already stressful environment. For instance, it takes away any worry about food being undercooked.
- Improves menu planning.
20. Our sous vide tool just keeps on updating.
So this is only the beginning, and it gets better every day !
Sous Vide home cooking has only taken off in the last 5 years or so, and the technical benefits are just coming through now. By using the Joule Immersion sous vide tool, you just get the new developments over the internet so you keep on learning.
As we own a Chefsteps Joule, today, they have just offered to send us a tip for the day, and will send us one every afternoon till we say stop.
Now, that’s a beautiful thing ! Check out the Joule review here.
And this is the one we chose.
Why did we choose the Joule ?
It´s simple, powerful, top of the range, and one of the most popular on the market. It fits in the drawer, handy to take anywhere, even if we wanted to cook on the bedside table in a hotel room ! It´s operated from the phone, either manually, or from step by step menus where you can even choose visually how well done you want your meat. The app on the phone gets updated regularly so we´re always on the leading edge with sous vide cooking !
We bought it from Chefsteps, the chefs team that developed it, but it´s so good that Breville had snapped it as their own now too.
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