What is sous vide


The main trend of modern cuisine is healthy nutrition. There are more and more different ways to cook delicious and healthy food.   Frying-free and boiling-free cooking, such as steaming or vacuum, is preferable. Sous vide is one such modern cooking technique. What is sous vide? What is the benefit of this type of food preparation? What devices to choose for sous-vide cooking at home?

So, what is sous vide cooking? Sous vide is a way of cooking food in a vacuum package. The technology of the process stems from this sous vide definition. The ingredients are pre-sealed in a sealed plastic bag. The remaining air is pumped out of the bag. After all this, the package with ingredients is lowered into water, the temperature of which usually does not exceed 70 – 100 °C. In other words, they are sewn up. This process takes longer than other types of heat treatment of food. But due to the fact that the cooking temperature here is much lower, you get to control the process well, avoiding undercooking or overcooking.

Today, special devices are presented on the market for sous-vide cooking: sous-vide machines and related gadgets –  vacuum sealers. A vacuum sealer is needed for packaging in a plastic bag with the removal of air from it. The sous vide machine enables the cooking process.

What to cook

Meat, fish, vegetables and seafood are prepared with the help of sous vide. You cannot cook raw flour products and cereals. Each product has its own temperature and cooking time, you need to carefully monitor this.

Approximate sous vide cooking temperatures and times for different types of dishes

Fish+50 °C40-80 min
Мarbled beef steak without bone (medium )+58 °C45 – 90 min
Marbled beef steak with bone (medium)+58 °Cfrom 4 to 7 hours
Pork (well done)+70 °Cfrom 3 to 3.5 hours
Chicken breast (well done) +75 °Cfrom  1 to 3 hours  
Vegetables +85 °Cfrom 2 to 3 hours

Top-3 Benefits of cooking sous vide

1. Useful microelements and vitamins

Sous vide allows you to save nutrients and trace elements that are usually lost during cooking.

This is possible due to vacuumation, when oxygen, which is usually involved in oxidation reactions, is removed from the package. It also helps to avoid denaturation – the loss of the biological value of the proteins of many food components.

2. Natural juiciness and texture

Sous vide cooking preserves the natural moisture and natural appearance of the ingredients.

3. Taste & aroma

Spices and marinades penetrate deeper into the dish, the taste and aroma become more intense. If the meat is tough, prolonged low-temperature cooking will make it softer and more tender by hydrolyzing connective tissue collagen to form gelatin.

Myths vs Truth

There are always different opinions about everything, and especially about new methods in any field. Everything new is often met with fears and stereotypes. Let’s dispel some myths about sous vide.

Quality of heat treatment

There is an opinion that sous-vide cooking in hot water is carried out at such low temperatures that such heat treatment is not sufficient to kill all possible parasites and bacteria.

All products that get to the forge from the supermarket undergo sanitary control, which means that there is no need to be afraid of parasites оr bacteria. In addition, bacteria multiply when food is at a temperature of +4.4 to 60 °C. Therefore, it is important that all ingredients before cooking sous vide should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature not exceeding +3 ° C.

Also, for each ingredient there are recommendations for the cooking time and they must be followed. You can also lightly sauté the ingredients right after sous vide so that the outer surfaces are seared at a higher temperature. After cooking, the dish should be eaten immediately or cooled to +1 °C and then frozen.

Contact of plastic with food

Some may fear that the plastic bag may release harmful substances when heated. In fact, it is recommended to use food-grade plastic bags for vacuuming. They are safe enough. The fear of plastic is not justified: in our kitchen, dishes, cutlery and surfaces can contain plastic. All of these intended for contact with food are tested and can be used.

So, do not be afraid of sous viding, especially when using special devices – sous vide machines that control  the correct cooking mode, cooking time and temperature.

Sous vide machines for domestic kitchen

What is sous vide machine? There are two main types of sous vide machines: standalone immersion circulation and stationary water oven. For immersion models, you will need a special container (pot) with water. Stationary water oven models have built-in water bath.

In the process of choosing a sous vide, you must first decide on two main questions:

  •  How often will the device be used?
  • How much food do you plan to cook this way?

Compact standalone immersion circulation

The advantages of a standalone immersion circulator include the fact that it takes up less space and is suitable for working with a wide variety of containers.

The disadvantage of this type of device is evaporation of liquid from the container during the cooking process. But this is easily solved by using a special cover.

For immersion sous vide, it’s usually about the power and volume that he’s comfortable working with. For example, an 800W household submersible sous vide can heat 20 liters of water in 45 minutes to 56°C.

The water oven

For stationary sous vide as the water oven, capacity is the main factor. For most stationary sous vides for home use, it does not exceed 12-13 liters.

They provide both thermal insulation and a special cover that prevents evaporation. Also, stationary sous-vides have special grills that allow you to rationally place products (for example, steaks) inside. In this case, the user is limited to a given capacity.

What type of sous-vide to choose?

The standalone immersion circulator devices are more compact and versatile. They will be the best choice for home cooking.

Such a device is convenient to store and it does not take up much space in the kitchen. For an immersion model, it is important to pay attention to the following characteristics: power, recommended capacity for work, the presence of pre-programmed modes and optional settings.

For example, you can pay attention to the AENO brand sous vide model with a power of 1200 W for comfortable heating of up to 15 liters of water when cooking, with 4 different automatic modes for different ingredients. Also, the device involves manual temperature setting from 20 to 95 °С and cooking time up to 100 hours.

How to cook

Cooking delicious and healthy food using modern sous-vide technology will be easy for you with special devices: a vacuum sealer and a sous-vide machine.

1. Prepare the ingredients and pack in a plastic bag.

2. Remove the air with a special vacuum sealer.

3. Fix the sous vide on the wall of the cooking container using the special fixative.

4. Add water no lower than the “MIN” mark and no higher than the “MAX” mark on the device.

5. Put the bag of ingredients into the water.

6. Turn on the sous vide machine and set up the necessary settings: temperature and number of hours. Or choose pre-programmed mode if you have a smart device model. Press start.

7. Wait until the end of cooking. Remove food with food tongs only after turning off the device. Remove the sous vide machine after it has cooled down.

Some chefs in restaurants prefer to quickly sear the meat in a hot pan before vacuuming, which gives it an intense roasting flavor and also kills bacteria on the surface. This can be used for home cooking lunches and dinners. After sous vide cooking, it is advisable to immediately serve and eat dishes. Otherwise, you need to cool them and freeze for storage.

Cooking according to modern culinary technology sous vide in compliance with all recommendations, conditions and safety precautions in the presence of high-quality high-tech kitchen devices will be a pleasant experience for you in cooking delicious and healthy food. Sous vide machines and vacuum sealers will be great helpers in your kitchen.

Find out more about the models of these kitchen devices in the AENO catalog:

Sous vide https://aeno.com/product/sous-vide-asv01

Vacuum sealer https://aeno.com/category/kitchen#vacuum-sealer

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