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Specialty Tools for Specific Cooking Tasks
If you’re a serious home cook or a professional chef, you’ve likely heard of sous vide cooking. This popular cooking method involves vacuum-sealing food and then cooking it at a precise temperature in a water bath. By cooking the food in this way, you can achieve perfect results every time. However, to truly master sous vide cooking, you’ll need some specialized tools. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best tools for sous vide cooking, and how to use them to up your cooking game.
1. Sous Vide Machine
The first thing you’ll need to invest in if you want to master sous vide cooking is a sous vide machine. This specialized cooking appliance allows you to cook food at a precise temperature, which is essential for perfect results. There are many different sous vide machines on the market, ranging from budget models to high-end options. When choosing a sous vide machine, look for one with accurate temperature control and a good timer function.
2. Vacuum Sealer
To cook food sous vide, you’ll need to vacuum seal it to prevent water from getting into the bag. A vacuum sealer is an essential tool for this task. You can purchase a vacuum sealer specifically designed for sous vide cooking, or you can use a regular vacuum sealer with special sous vide bags.
3. Sous Vide Bags
Regular plastic bags aren’t suitable for sous vide cooking, as they can’t withstand the high temperatures involved. Instead, you’ll need special sous vide bags, which are designed to withstand high temperatures and vacuum sealing. These bags are available in various sizes and can be reused many times.
4. Sous Vide Container
To cook food sous vide, you’ll need a container to hold the water and your vacuum-sealed bags. A sous vide container is a specialized container designed specifically for this purpose. Look for a container that is large enough to hold your food and has a lid to help maintain temperature.
5. Sous Vide Rack
A sous vide rack is a useful tool that helps keep your food submerged in the water bath while cooking. This ensures that your food cooks evenly and helps prevent any floaters.
6. Cooking Torch
While sous vide cooking produces perfectly cooked food, it doesn’t result in a crispy, golden-brown finish. For this reason, many chefs use a cooking torch to sear the food after cooking. A cooking torch produces high heat and is perfect for searing meats, fish, and vegetables.
7. Sous Vide Weights
If you’re cooking something that tends to float in the water bath, such as vegetables or fish, you can use sous vide weights to keep them submerged. These weights are specially designed to hold down your food without damaging it.
8. Digital Thermometer
While a sous vide machine can maintain a precise temperature, it’s still important to verify the temperature of your food with a digital thermometer. This ensures that your food is cooked to the desired temperature and is safe to eat.
9. Cooking Clips
Cooking clips are useful tools that help keep your vacuum-sealed bags secure while cooking. These clips prevent the bags from moving around in the water bath, which can result in uneven cooking.
10. Silicone Sous Vide Bags
While vacuum-sealed plastic bags are the most common type of bag used for sous vide cooking, they are not environmentally friendly. Silicone sous vide bags are a great alternative, as they can be reused many times and are easy to clean. These bags are also microwave and dishwasher safe.
Sous vide cooking is a popular cooking method for good reason – it produces perfectly cooked food every time. To truly master sous vide cooking, you’ll need some specialized tools. A sous vide machine, vacuum sealer, sous vide bags, sous vide container, sous vide rack, cooking torch, sous vide weights, digital thermometer, cooking clips, and silicone sous vide bags are all essential tools for sous vide cooking. With these tools in your arsenal, you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time!
FAQ: Sous Vide Cooking Tools
What is sous vide cooking?
Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) is a cooking technique where food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag and cooked in a precisely controlled water bath at a low temperature for an extended period of time. This results in perfectly cooked food that is juicy, tender, and full of flavor.
What sous vide cooking tools do I need?
To cook sous vide, you will need a few essential tools:
- A sous vide machine or immersion circulator
- A vacuum sealer or a reusable silicone bag
- A container or a pot that can hold water and the sous vide machine
- A thermometer to check the temperature of the water bath
What is a sous vide machine or immersion circulator?
A sous vide machine or immersion circulator is a device that heats and circulates water to a precise temperature, usually between 120Â°F and 160Â°F. This ensures that the food is cooked evenly and to the desired temperature. The machine or circulator is attached to a container or pot filled with water, and the food is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and submerged in the water bath.
What is a vacuum sealer?
A vacuum sealer is a device that removes the air from a bag and seals it shut. This creates a vacuum-packed environment that preserves the food and allows it to cook evenly in a sous vide water bath. Some vacuum sealers also have a built-in attachment for creating a vacuum in reusable silicone bags.
Can I use reusable silicone bags instead of vacuum-sealed bags?
Yes, you can use reusable silicone bags instead of vacuum-sealed bags. These bags are made of high-quality, food-grade silicone and can withstand high temperatures without leaching harmful chemicals. They are also dishwasher-safe and can be used over and over again, making them a more sustainable option in the long run.
What container or pot should I use for sous vide cooking?
You can use any container or pot that can hold enough water to cover the food and the sous vide machine. However, it is important to choose a container or pot that is heat-resistant and can handle the temperature of the water bath. An insulated container or pot with a lid can also help maintain the temperature of the water bath and reduce evaporation.
Do I need a thermometer?
Yes, you need a thermometer to check the temperature of the water bath and ensure that it is at the desired temperature. A digital thermometer with a probe is ideal because it can provide accurate readings and can be easily calibrated. It is also important to check the temperature of the water bath periodically to ensure that it stays consistent throughout the cooking process.
What are some other useful sous vide cooking tools?
Here are some other useful sous vide cooking tools:
- Sous vide weights or clips to keep the food submerged in the water bath
- A searing torch or a cast-iron skillet to sear the food after it is cooked sous vide
- A sous vide cookbook or app for recipe inspiration and cooking guidelines
- A timer to keep track of the cooking time
Can I use a slow cooker instead of a sous vide machine?
No, a slow cooker cannot be used as a substitute for a sous vide machine. Slow cookers operate at a higher temperature and do not provide precise temperature control, which can result in overcooked or undercooked food. Sous vide cooking requires precise temperature control to achieve the desired level of doneness.
Is sous vide cooking safe?
Yes, sous vide cooking is safe as long as you follow proper food safety guidelines. It is important to use food-grade plastic bags that are specifically designed for sous vide cooking. The bags should also be properly sealed to prevent any bacteria from entering the food. Additionally, the food should be cooked to the appropriate temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.
Sous Vide Cooking Tools
- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker â This tool allows precision temperature control in water baths for perfect cooking. Connects to smartphones via Bluetooth, and allows for digital display of cooking time and temperature. Available on Amazon for $129.00.
- Nova Plus Sous Vide Precision Cooker â This device has a higher power output than most other immersion circulators on the market, heating up water baths faster. The LCD digital display and WiFi connectivity make it easy to monitor cooking progress. Priced at $199.00 on Amazon.
- EVERIE Collapsible Hinged Sous Vide Container Lid â This lid is compatible with 12, 18, 22qt Rubbermaid and Cambro sous vide containers. It is made of sturdy polycarbonate material and has a hinge that allows for easy access while cooking. Priced at $19.99 on Amazon.
- Ambient Temperature Sous Vide Weighted Magnets â These magnets are designed to keep sous vide bags fully submerged in water baths, ensuring even cooking. Each magnet has a stainless steel weight attached and can be used with a variety of bag sizes. Priced at $15.99 on Amazon.
- EVERIE Sous Vide Container 12 Quart with Universal Silicone Lid and Sous Vide Rack â This sous vide container is made of food grade polycarbonate material and is compatible with most immersion circulators. The included silicone lid fits snugly and the sous vide rack helps to keep food bags organized. Priced at $39.99 on Amazon.
- Sous Vide Bags Kit for Anova and Joule Cookers â This kit includes 15 reusable sous vide bags made of BPA-free material, a hand pump for vacuum-sealing, and sealing clips. The bags are dishwasher-safe and can also be used for storing food in the freezer or pantry. Priced at $23.99 on Amazon.
- Joule Sous Vide by ChefSteps â This immersion circulator is one of the smallest and most compact on the market, making it ideal for home cooks with limited kitchen space. It can be controlled via a smartphone app and has a magnetic base for easy mounting. Priced at $199.00 on Amazon.
- Rubbermaid Commercial Products Food Storage Container â This container is made of durable polycarbonate material and has measurement marks on the side for easy portioning. It is also dishwasher safe and NSF certified for food safety. Priced at $19.00 on Amazon.
- FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer â This vacuum sealer is a must-have for sous vide cooking, as it allows for air-tight sealing of food bags to prevent water from entering during the cooking process. It includes a starter kit with bags and rolls. Priced at $99.00 on Amazon.
- Sous Vide Torch Kit by Searzall â This kit is designed to give sous vide-cooked foods a crispy and caramelized exterior using a hand-held torch. The Searzall attachment is made of stainless steel and aluminum and fits most butane torches. Priced at $99.00 on Amazon.
Pros&cons of Sous Vide Cooking Tools