Vacuum Sealed Sous Vide: Low Temperature, High Quality
Sous Vide is Vacuum Sealed
The very name sous vide, means “under vacuum” in French. Since the chamber vacuum sealer removes the gases from the bag being sealed it is easy to see why its namesake is what it is. The technique was developed in France during the 1970s as a means of industrial food preparation but the sealing of foods for preservation and cooking goes back much further than that. So too does the use of the hot water bath employed in the sous vide method. Together these processes are used to create the low and slow cooking technique used in sous vide. The advantages offered by these steps are many, including, improved flavor, nutrition, efficiency, cost-savings and increased safety.
By sealing the meat in with fat and seasonings, these ingredients are kept in close contact with the foods where they give it flavor and depth. The sealing process also keeps the meats own natural lipids and juices in the muscle fibers where it needs to remain in order to achieve succulent results. This moisture retention prevents the shrinkage of ingredients caused as water evaporates and seeps from foods. During traditional cooking methods, the moisture lost can be between 15 and 30 percent of the foods volume. Sous vide preparation provides more product by keeping all of the flavor, juices and nutrients in the foods.
Moisture isn’t the only thing lost in traditional cooking methods; exposure to high heat, air and immersion in water all contribute to nutrient and flavor/aroma loss in foods. Sous vide cooking offers better protection from these risk factors than other methods, sealing in nutrients and yielding a higher-quality meal.
Seal of Approval
Vacuum sealing offers another advantage to anyone in the commercial food, restaurant or catering industries; it allows for ingredients to be prepared perfectly in advance and set aside for later finishing. This simplifies service for a crowd, especially when timing is critical and prep loads are high.
In addition to being a time-saver, sous vide is also cost-effective. Heat transfer through water is about 11 times more efficient than the transfer of heat through air, making sous vide a more effective method than baking, roasting or grilling. Saving also come in the form of lower food costs from reduced waste and re-cooks, as well as lower labor cost due to automation of the process and the fact that novice cooks can produce Michelin-quality results by using this revolutionary technology.
Sous Vide and Kitchen Safety
In terms of food safety, vacuum sealing foods for preparation helps ensure food safety in several ways.
- It cuts down on the potential contamination of foods. Once sealed in the bag, ingredients can be transported, stored and handled all without being touched or making contact with sources of cross contamination.
- The heat used to cook ingredients in sous vide kills harmful bacteria and their toxins while the prolonged nature of the cooking allows the entire item to be brought up to the desired temperature, through and through.
- Temperatures used in sous vide cooking are precisely controlled. This assures that ingredients have reached the desired temperature – they can be neither under- or overcooked.
An immersion circulation cooker is an important part of the sous vide process but it is the unique addition of the vacuum seal that assures better safety, nutrition and flavor. Vacuum sealing helps eliminate air pockets and creates maximum contact between the food and heated water. There has been some concern about plastic—especially when heated—and its chemicals leaching into foods. For the healthiest products, be sure to select vacuum bags free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), lead, polyethylene and any phthalates.