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Sous vide- worth getting? Do you use it much?

(15 Posts)
Elouera Thu 09-Jan-20 21:22:25

We cook a great deal and thinking of getting the anova nano sous vide (but open to other brands if you can recommend one?) Do you use yours as much as you thought, or does it sit at the back of the cupboard?

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deplorabelle Fri 10-Jan-20 12:53:31

I'm sorry I don't have one but I looked at the advert out of curiosity. I would have thought you could get the same effect with a large casserole of water in the oven. Once the water is up to temperature, drop the container of food in and keep in the oven to maintain the water bath temperature.

I wouldn't fancy washing out vacuum seal bags so I suspect I'd get through a lot of "reusable" bags through not being able to get them clean enough to reuse.

Elouera Fri 10-Jan-20 13:32:52

Thanks for your thoughts. I've never heard of the bags being washed and reused! Food can also be cooked in glass jars which I certainly would reuse though.
A sous vide not only heats the water and keeps it at a set temperature, they also move the water around for even heat distribution. In theory sticking a casserole dish in the oven may work, but it would certainly be hotter on the edges and unlikely to cook the food through properly at the exact temperature.

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deplorabelle Fri 10-Jan-20 14:07:10

You couldn't really put the jar under a vacuum could you? I thought that was essential to the method. The fact that they say you could also use a jar made me call bullshit in the first place because that means no vacuum between the food and the container (so then you will get hotspots at the edge of the jar)

I just asked my physicist husband who reckoned you would get convection flow at 80 degrees so my casserole in the oven example wouldn't need stirring to maintain temperature. Under 80 (which I've looked up and discovered is a lot of sous vide cooking) you might need to stir it. So, that would be an argument for your sous vide cooker.

What do you envisage using it for?

bellinisurge Fri 10-Jan-20 14:09:59

I use glass jars in a pressure canner. It's a bit fiddly and expensive to get the stuff initially. But, for example, the other night had a home cooked chilli that I made and pressure canned in glass jar in Spring 2018.

inwood Fri 10-Jan-20 14:17:13

We had one and got rid, took up too much space in my tiny kitchen and seeing as you need to fry everything off for flavour seemed a bit pointless.

Cohle Fri 10-Jan-20 14:17:23

I have one. I don't use it a lot to be honest. It's only really worth it for certain cuts of meat and you have to sear the meat anyway, so it seems an enormous faff.

It can give some things an odd texture I've found as well. Fish is horrible in it for example.

Most sous vide cookery is done at very low (and specific) temperatures. It's certainly not something I could achieve in my oven.

Elouera Fri 10-Jan-20 14:40:26

deplorabelle- sous vide does mean vacuum in French, BUT, the food doesn't need to be in a vacuum. The point of those bags it to remove air so they don't float. You don't even need to use a machine to remove the air- you can just use a zip lock bag and remove as much air as you can so it doesn't float- it doesn't need to be vacuumed out. This is why you CAN also use jars. As you said, you don't have one, but there are multiple examples on youtube.
I'd use it mainly for meat- picanha, rib-eye, lamb etc

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deplorabelle Fri 10-Jan-20 21:41:59

Oh I thought the vacuum was for temperature regulation (and to keep the food dry and to seal in flavour in place of searing, but now I learn you have to sear sous vide food anyway) What's the point of combining precisely temperature controlled cooking with searing? Surely one defeats the other? It seems to me like it's mostly a gimmick.

Cohle Fri 10-Jan-20 22:03:33

The idea is that food cooks consistently throughout, so you don't end up with e.g. steak that is very rare in the middle and overdone at the edges, instead it is totally uniform throughout. You sear only very very briefly to add colour/flavour.

There is lots of information, and photographs, available online if you want to read up on it.

It's a lovely way to cook food, just a bit of a faff at home.

WhyDoesItAlways Fri 10-Jan-20 22:19:10

I have an above and yes it is a bit more of a faff than other ways of cooking but it does cook great meat. I'm pretty sure you couldn't use water in an oven to mimic sous vide as you can't be precise enough with the temperature. The difference between a rare and medium steak is only a few degrees. And yes you can cook in jars but this is mainly for desserts.

I probably use mine every couple of weeks. I mainly use it to cook steaks and roasts. Lamb and short ribs are my favourites.

The theory behind it is that the temperature controls the doneness of the meat and the time controls the texture (e.g the longer you cook the more tender the meat). So I can cook a steak for 4 hours which makes it lovely and tender and it remains rare because the temperature has stayed constant.

The use of plastic is the only downside to sous vide cooking but you can now buy reusable silicone bags which can be run through the dishwasher to clean.

shadesofwinter Sat 11-Jan-20 09:11:55

My brother bought DH a sous vide wand from Aldi a couple of years ago. It certainly doesn't get used regularly but when we have used it the things we've cooked have been amazing. My brother uses his a lot more and loves it.

ItsAllAboutTheBaseNoGerbils Sat 11-Jan-20 11:29:20

Yes....we have 2! Get used loads. 2 means we can have 2 baths going at different temperatures, eg for veg which is usually higher temp, and meat which tends to be low.

We use a gas bbq to do the finishing sear to avoid filling the house with smoke.

It is a fag to get all the kit out then dry and store it again, but the results are worth it. Long cooking of cheaper cuts of meat gives very tender results, and steaks are always perfectly done.

You can also keep the cooked food in its vacuum pack in the fridge for many days even weeks depending on what it is, and reheat and use later. (You need to chill in an ice bath immediately after cooking to be safe if doing that). This can make entertaining or family meals easier as stuff can be done in advance.

Ziplock bags can be used instead of vacuum ones, but they are not suitable for higher temperature or longer cook times as they are not as tough. I have tried a reusable silicon ‘bag’ thingy.... it worked, but was small, so had limited use, and was hideously expensive for what it was. And it retained the food smells, even after dishwashing several times. Disposable is the way to go!

Using an oven or hob to do the heating is not accurate enough to get the temperature to the exact one required, and keep it even throughout the bath. Mechanical circulation is needed.

Sous vide cookery has a very technical basis, and it is essential to understand the basics, to ensure food is safely cooked. But there is loads of info out there and it’s not difficult.

We started off with an Anova , using ziplocks in a stockpot to try it out with minimum cost. Next came tabletop vacuum device, then a ‘proper’ container with lid.

It’s well worth it if you are into cookery.

handbagsatdawn33 Sat 11-Jan-20 18:28:20

I bought one a few years ago, unpacked it & read the instructions (gulp).

Then DH said where are you going to put it? The pressure cooker, slow cooker & air fryer are on top of the fridge/freezer because of lack of space.

I reluctantly re-packed it & returned to Amazon.

Elouera Sat 11-Jan-20 20:28:06

Thanks for everyone that actually has one and sharing their experiences. We are looking at the stick models (anova nano)- not the ones that are integrated into a large slow cooker and take up a great deal of space.
For searing afterwards, what have you used? I have a blow torch, but someone said it can leave the meat tasting of the gas!

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