A doctor in New York, when asked what he liked about his sous vide, answered that “the food is tender, the flavors are infused and all you need to do is finish something off with a quick sear.” A recent college grad in Las Vegas said that sous vide is “a new tool to experiment with” and “it’s difficult to screw up.” This, to me, is the beauty of sous vide in a nutshell.
Hearing the words sous vide (pronounced soo veed) makes me think of a fancy restaurant menu and professionally trained French chefs like Thomas Keller
Sous vide is simply a way to cook food using water and a plastic bag. What makes it so special? The food is sealed in the plastic bag then cooked in water at a relatively low temperature (110-150°F) for a long period of time. The idea behind sous vide is to cook food evenly and retain as much moisture as possible. Some people also find that the flavors are more concentrated using this method of food preparation, giving sous vide a competitive edge in the market. Sounds really fancy, right?
The best part about this cooking method is that lots of companies think we should have sous vide at home. Why not? It utilizes a water bath, which anyone can do, and plastic bags, which everyone has on hand. Seems like a really simple way to prepare food. Your husband could probably do it. And, because everything is cooked in the bag there’s little to no cleanup at the end of the meal.
On top of being an easy way to prepare meals in advance, this type of preparation allows food to retain vitamins and minerals that are lost in cooking with high heat. Additionally, you don’t have to prepare food in olive oil or high sodium broth, thus cutting down on calories, added fat and sodium. On the flip side, marbled fat won’t drip off meats and poultry the same way it would if you were grilling or baking.
Now let’s talk price. While the machines on the market are pretty expensive ($350 and up), there are a handful of startup companies who think sous vide cooking should be more accessible. They are offering sous vide probes that begin at $179, which we think is pretty palatable (and a nice Christmas present, to boot). The most well-known brand is Anova, which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign only a few months ago. The coolest part about Anova is that the probe syncs up to an app for your smartphone and you can control the cooking on the go. You heard us correctly – you can start cooking your dinner while you’re still out running errands. Now that is a woman who can do it all.
A brief side note about Kickstarter for readers who don’t know what it is: Kickstarter is an awesome way for people with great ideas (or not so great ideas) to raise money to start a product. People around the world can donate as little as $1 to a project they think is worthwhile and help it come to fruition. There are a bunch of perks to Kickstarter campaigns. In the case of Anova, those who donated $99 when the campaign was still starting out got the cooker at that price, which is a great deal. More than getting something though, you’re helping people build their dream product or launch an amazing project so even the small contributions add up.
But back to diving into the sous vide waters. One concern some RD’s have is about cooking food in plastic bags. It is important to choose bags that are free of PVC, which can release harmful chemicals when heated. There are also concerns around plasticizers and other additives, so we recommend using Jarden’s Food Saver Bags, which are made from polyethylene glycol and nylon, and don’t contain BPA, phthalates, or other plasticizers with EA-leaching additives.
To summarize, sous vide is an easy way to plan ahead and prepare delicious healthy meals for your family.
Here are 3 things you didn’t know about sous vide cooking before. With sous vide, you can:
1. Start cooking your meal while you’re not even home.
2. Prepare food with only a plastic bag and a pot of water.
3. Retain nutrients otherwise lost during cooking
If you are a sous vide user and don’t yet have Thomas Keller’s cookbook, check it out here. Below we’ve linked you to two of our favorite sous vide recipes and we would love to hear your favorites as well!
Bacon, rosemary and garlic sirloin steak