Getting Started With Sous Vide Cooking

Many years ago an ex-girlfriend of my son called him early on a Sunday morning with a frantic question: How to cook bacon. She wanted to make her new boyfriend breakfast and didn’t know how to cook bacon. Knowing that my son was an accomplished cook she called him. He, of course, kindly answered her question. He told her to boil it…. just like she would spaghetti.

That memory came back to me just now for 2 reasons:

  • The fact that a lot of people don’t know how to cook.
  • Cooking in a water bath is almost fool-proof…. but maybe not for bacon.

Sous vide has always intrigued me. It’s one of the things that is on my list to try as soon as I can justify another kitchen toy. Sous vide can cook a perfect steak without worry. (Cook first, then brown for color & flavor.)

Read on to learn more:

This past eighteen months or so has proven to be one of the toughest periods in recent history. While many lost their jobs or were placed under tight restrictions, another problem emerged. A lot of people simply didn’t know how to cook! Putting them under pressure to do more cooking and thinking about which foods to buy for themselves.

Many people may have been dependant on family or friends for meals. It’s not easy being thrust in at the deep end as regards food if you are not sure what you are doing. Methods of cooking that make life easier have become more freely available to the public and now may be the perfect time to try them out.

While sous vide is not a new method of cooking, it has mostly been used in restaurants and by chefs aiming to increase your dining experience. With a little bit of effort, you too now can eat top-quality meals from the comfort of your own home.

Sous Vide cooking Explained

Translated from French to English, it results in “under vacuum”. It means that the food you wish to cook is placed in an airtight bag. It can also be applied to any form of cooking that is performed in an extremely temperature-controlled water environment, allowing for no temperature fluctuation which helps to cook the meal to perfection.

Seal the food into a bag and then immerse the bag into hot water. Using an immersion circulator, set the temperature that you would like the food to be cooked at. This will remain constant throughout. This removes the need to keep checking the food and to see if it’s cooked. It is all automated and will keep a constant temperature which is essential especially in our busy lives. 

Although it may sound complicated these machines are very easy to use. If you are beginning to cook, or indeed fancy yourself to be quite adept in the kitchen, using sous vide cookers can only help you. Without too much effort, you too could be cooking like a professional chef.

What Equipment do you need?

A Sous Vide circulator is the most vital item to ensure this method runs smoothly. Nowadays, there are a wide variety of these cookers available so be sure and do some research before you buy. These devices can help relieve any worries you have regarding cooking.  

A vacuum sealer or zip-locked freezer bag is essential so that all air surrounding the food is removed. This gives the water the freedom to completely envelop the items you wish to cook. While either is sufficient, a vacuum sealer is recommended. Take some time to browse the internet to see which are the best vacuum sealers on the market.

A container in which the water is held is also required. Some people like to use a pot, although it’s the circulator that helps provide the heat and not a stove. Another popular choice to use is a Dutch oven. Being made from cast iron helps to retain heat and the temperature will stay consistent.

There are various sites available to get information from. It’s always worth checking out streaming sites like Youtube for step-by-step videos on how to cook particular things.

Are there Benefits to cooking Sous Vide?

Ways of traditionally cooking may soon be out in the cold due to the benefits of sous vide. Because of its capability to deliver the results you wish for, you may never look back. The temperature is controlled so accurately, it’s hard to make a mistake. Overcooked foods can be commonplace using traditional methods.  

For example, often with meat, it may look great when cooked using traditional methods. However, upon cutting the meat you may find it may not be cooked through the middle fully. The complete flavor of the meat can be reduced by overcooking, whereas with sous vide you will not have this issue.  

The consistency of the meal never varies as the equipment you use will control the temperature. Using a vacuum bag will ensure all the natural juices of the meal remain intact and the taste is unaffected.

Leaving your food alone to cook with the sous vide method can free up a lot of time to focus on other things you wish to do without any worries. Cooking using traditional methods tends to result in a lot of food wastage. With sous vide, the volume of the food is not affected due to the consistency of the temperature.

Summary

Sous vide cooking has made it easy for people of any skill level to get involved in cooking high-quality meals easily. The fact that these items are easily available these days has made the option even more appealing.

With little equipment, you can find yourself creating meals you would be happy to pay for dining out. There are plenty of advantages to be found with using this method. With the pandemic still ongoing, maybe now is the time to develop your cooking skills even further.

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