If you're new to sous vide cooking, you may be wondering if you need to invest in a vacuum sealer to get started. While it's not necessary, it can make your life easier when preparing food for the water bath.
The main benefit of using a vacuum sealer is that it completely removes air from the bag. This means that there will be no air bubbles inside when you cook your food, hence there will be better heat transfer from the water bath to the food and no uneven cooking.
For more information on why you need a vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking, read the entire article.
- Vacuum sealers are not a necessity for sous vide cooking but make it easier to remove air from the bag when sous vide cooking.
- A vacuum sealer is a machine that removes air from a plastic bag and seals it closed.
- A vacuum sealer is more efficient than using manual methods because it removes all the air from inside plastic bags and you don’t need to worry about uneven cooking.
- A vacuum sealer removes air faster. If you have manually removed air from plastic bags before, you know that it is time-consuming. A vacuum sealer makes this process much easier.
- Vacuum sealers are commonly used by people who cook food with the sous vide method on a regular basis or cook large batches of food using this method.
What is a Vacuum Sealer?
Vacuum sealers work by removing all the air from the freezer bags and then sealing it closed with an automatic mechanism. The term “vacuum” means that there is no air left inside the bag, which prevents uneven cooking during sous vide cooking.
The best thing about vacuum sealers is that they are available in different sizes and shapes which makes it easy for you to choose the one that fits your needs perfectly.
The best part about it is that you don't have to spend too much money on these devices if you're looking for just one for occasional use at home.
There are many affordable options available on the market today, but if you're looking for something more heavy-duty, then you might want to consider getting a professional-grade model instead.
Sous Vide Cooking
If you've never heard of sous vide, get ready to be amazed. Sous vide is a cooking method that uses water baths to cook food at precise temperatures for some periods of time.
The result is perfectly cooked meat, fish, and vegetables that are tender and flavorful. The method is popular with professional chefs but it's also easy to do at home with a vacuum sealer.
Moreover, sous vide cooking is safe. Food is cooked at temperatures needed to kill bacteria and the only real risk with sous vide cooking are food-borne ilnesses from bacteria on your hands or in your kitchen. Make sure you wash your hands well before handling any food, mainly meat, poultry, or eggs.
No need to Monitor Food with Sous Vide Cooking
Sous vide is often combined with other cooking techniques such as searing. It requires little effort from the cook because there’s no need to monitor the food while it’s being cooked.
All you have to do is place it in the bag and immerse it in hot water until it reaches the desired doneness that you want; either medium rare or well done.
Benefits of Using a Vacuum Sealer for Sous Vide
Some people argue that you don't need a vacuum sealer for sous vide. They say that you can use vacuum-sealed sous vide bags or zip-lock bags with a pump and water displacement methods to remove air.
However, these methods of removing air when cooking food sous vide are not reliable, take time, and are tedious. Pockets of air can remain inside the bags which will result in uneven cooking of food plus cause bags to float on water. Here are the benefits of using a vacuum sealer for sous vide:
A Vacuum Sealer is Reliable
There are many benefits of using a vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking. First and foremost, it removes all the air from your bag before sealing it hence it is reliable.
No floating of the bag due to air and no uneven cooking of food due to air present in the bag causing lower heat transfer between the water bath and food.
A good vacuum sealer can remove air from bags in seconds instead of minutes or hours. This means less time spent on removing air from a bag using the water displacement method.
A vacuum sealer will be helpful if you're preparing large batches of food at once (like when you're making dinner for guests).
It Is Easy to Use a Vacuum Sealer
It's easy to remove air from bags with a vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking. Plug in your machine and turn it on. Open the lid of the vacuum sealer and place the bag with food inside the vacuum chamber and close it.
Press the start button and it will start operating. Once the vacuum sealing process is over, it will open its lid to indicate that all air has been removed.
Helps to Properly Seal Ziplock Bags
When cooking sous vide, you need to ensure that the Ziploc bags are properly sealed so that no water will leak inside them or the food will leak into the water bath. When water leaks inside the bags, it will change the taste of the food. Nobody wants this when making food using this method.
A vacuum sealer will eliminate this problem by properly sealing the bag.
Vacuum Sealed Bags for Sous Vide
One of the most important things you need for sous vide cooking method is vacuum sealer bags. They're used by all professional chefs and home cooks because they keep food from coming into contact with water during sous vide cooking.
The vacuum-sealing bags also help preserve flavor and moisture levels in your food.
What Bag Should You Use?
If you're going to use a sous vide bag, make sure it's BPA-free and heat resistant up to 140°F (60°C). This is important because most home sous vide machines run at around this temperature. Also, make sure it's large enough so it fits around whatever you're cooking.
If you're going to use ziplocks, make sure to use heavy-duty ones that have durable seals on them. If you use regular ziplocs, they'll eventually fail and leak water into your food which is not what you want when cooking sous vide.
How Do You Sous Vide Without a Vacuum Seal
You can sous vide cook without a vacuum sealer, but it's a slow and tiring process of removing air from bags. If you're planning on cooking for very long periods or with large quantities, then a vacuum sealer is essential.
However, if you plan on cooking using this method without one, you can use the water displacement method (see also how to sous vide in instant pots).
The Water Displacement Method
The water displacement method is the most common way to sous vide without a vacuum sealer. The process involves placing the food in a ziplock bag and then using your hands to remove the air.
Press the bag with your hands while forcing the air out. Ensure that you have closed the bag but leave a small space where the air will escape. The last step is submerging the bag with food in the water.
Water pressure will force the remaining air out. Close the bag once you are through with the water displacement method.