Myths and Safety Concerns About Sous Vide Cooking

Sous vide is a style of cooking that uses plastic pouches placed in a water oven or in a water bath. It is cooked over a long period of time at a less than normal cooking temperature.

The main concern of this type of cooking is the safety of the people that are going to eat the food. Some are apprehensive about the method of using plastic bags less than the boiling temperature.

But these are misconceptions. In fact, food cooked using sous vide technique is perfectly safe to eat. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding sous vide cooking and its safety:

1.     Growth of Bacteria From Cooking at Low Temperatures

When cooking, there is a so-called danger zone, which is between 40°F to 140°F. The danger zone means that food cooked in this temperature has the potential to grow pathogenic bacteria which may cause illness to anyone who eats it.

Any food cooked in temperature above the danger zone will be kept safe because bacteria cannot grow above 140°F. Even at 135°F, bacteria will already be destroyed after hours in the heat even if the heat has not reached boiling point yet.

For sous vide cooking, the temperature is maintained at an exact degree. Most, if not all sous vide machines, have a temperature control which will warn its users if the temperature has reached danger zones. Check the reviews of sous vide machines to know about machines with precision control.

The control of the temperature to its precise degree will ensure that food cooked using the sous vide method will not be exposed to possible pathogens. It also guarantees that food made from it will always be safe. Food cooked using this method is safe since this is what most hospitals use for the food of their patients.

It would also be good to know more about the other practical uses of sous vide cooking.

2.     Growth of Bacteria From Storing Food in the Refrigerator

Another misconception about sous vide cooking is that food cooked using this method cannot be stored back in the refrigerator because it might encourage the growth of bacteria. This is false because one of the most important benefits of sous vide cooking is that you can store your cooked food for up to two days.

However, there is some truth to that myth mentioned above. This is because you cannot immediately store food in the fridge after it is cooked.

Remember the danger zone? If you store the food in the fridge immediately after taking it out of the sous vide machine, the food will chill slowly thus putting it in the danger zone and perpetuating the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

If you want to prevent your food from entering the danger zone, you have to freeze the food immediately after getting it out. Submerge it in an ice bath so it will be below 40°F and then you can store it in the refrigerator afterward.

Another tip to keep your food safe is to store it in the freezer rather than the fridge to ensure that it will stay out of the danger zone. And check this article on sous vide safety – staying out of hot water.

3.     Unsafe to Cook Food Using Plastic Bags

It is really unsafe to cook food in extreme temperatures using plastic bags. But sous vide cooking uses low temperature so that is already one misconception slain. Another is that sous vide cooking does not use ordinary plastic bags.

You might imagine that chefs use those plastic bags that you get from grocery stores, but you are wrong. This type of cooking uses a special type of plastic bag.

The bag used in this type of cooking is free from BPA and phthalate which makes it safe for cooking. To ensure that you have a safe bag, you should only get it from a reliable source.  

One more myth is that the harmful chemicals found in the plastic are transferred to the food while it is being cooked. This is why sous vide chefs use BPA- and phthalate-free bags only to ensure that this does not happen.

Plastic bag manufacturers are also approved by specific governing bodies to assure that they only make plastic bags and pouches safe for use when cooking.

4.     Sous Vide Cooking Dries Out Your Food

Using a vacuum seal for sous vide cooking sucks out the moisture from the food leaving it dry afterward. This is one of the most common misconceptions when it comes to sous vide cooking.

This couldn’t be incorrect when in fact the seal on the bag ensures that the food does not lose its moisture throughout the cooking process and until it is done. Check out this article to know more about the vacuum seals used in sous vide cooking.

5.     Sous Vide Cooking Is Expensive

Some think that this type of cooking is expensive because of the special equipment and tools that are used in the process. These include best home vacuum sealers and sous vide machines.

While it might be true that some machines are expensive, there are also others you can find that will fit your budget. You can even use a slow cooker as sous vide machine if you prefer. You just have to do some research on how this is done.

You can check out the reviews made in this website to compare sous vide machines and which will be in for your budget.

6.     Bag Is Boiled

Most people who hear of sous vide cooking would immediately claim that it is just food being boiled in a bag. This is very untrue.

While it is true that the food is placed in a vacuum sealed bag or pouch, the temperature used for sous vide cooking does not reach boiling point.

Now that you have read the myths and misconceptions about sous vide cooking and its safety, you should now be at ease with cooking using this method or eating food made with this method. Sous vide cooking is perfectly safe, no matter what the critiques might say.

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