If you like to experiment a little in the kitchen, or have foodie friends who enjoy trying new things, you’ve probably already come across the term sous vide. It’s an alternative method of cooking that promises incredibly succulent meats and other foods without you ever having to worry about overcooking, charring, timing, or other issues. It may sound too good to be true, but sous vide is a real, high-tech cooking method that’s all about water. Let’s take a look at how it works and what it’s best used for.
What is sous vide?
Sous vide, a French term meaning “under vacuum,” is a water-based cooking technique that can be used across a wide variety of foods. It doesn’t work too well for things like baking or sautéing, but when it comes to meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and other menu items, it can prove very effective.
Sous vide has grown more popular with the advance of smart kitchen tools that can accurately judge temperature and set automatic timers. Despite the presence of high-tech cooking, however, sous vide is actually a very simple concept. It involves two important steps:
- Sealing foods and their related ingredients in a plastic bag. Sometimes a canning jar or other receptacle is used, depending on the method.
- Placing the sealed food in water, often in a pot or specialized cooker, and cooking it there at a precise temperature for a certain amount of time.
Wait, so are we just boiling foods now instead of roasting them? Not exactly, since the food is safely sealed away from the water, it doesn’t boil (unless you want it to), and the temperatures are often lower than the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). It simply cooks in a very uniform way, and there are several advantages to this type of cooking that food fans and ambitious chefs greatly appreciate.