It is important to understand that sealing your food correctly in food grade bags is essential for the best suvee cooking results. Fortunately there are many ways that you can do this, and these start at the bottom end of the scale with cheap zip lock bags, and go all the way up to using a chambered vacuum sealer machine which will cost over $1,000.
If you really want to get the best from suvee cooking, then investing in a vacuum sealer is a good idea. Using zip lock bags is OK, but it is possible to make mistakes with them and they are not suitable for all forms of sous vide cooking.
Cooking food at high temperatures calls for something more robust than a zip lock bag. If you use these bags at high heat then you run the risk of the seams of the bags breaking, the food flavor not being right, and worst of all the possibility of dangerous chemicals contaminating your food.
Why Is Sealing The Food Portions Properly So Important With Sous Vide Cooking?
You probably know by now that sous vide translates to “under vacuum” in English. The interesting thing is that you can still achieve perfect suvee cooking results by just removing all of the air. A vacuum is a perfect way to do this of course.
When you remove the air from your food cooking bags, you will keep all of the flavors and juices inside the bags during the cooking process. The last thing that you want is water seeping into your food bags as you will lose the flavor.
Your food bags need to be totally immersed in the water bath when they are cooking. If there is air in the bags, then they will have a tendency to float in the water and this could mean that some or all of your food will be out of the temperature controlled water. Do you think that your food will cook well if this happens?
The thing is that water will conduct heat much better than air will. When food is placed in air tight bags it will cook much faster and more evenly. So you must make sure that all of the air is expelled from your food bags before you start the sous vide cooking process.
The Case For The Sous Vide Vacuum Sealer
One of the best reasons to go for a sous vide vacuum sealer is consistency. You will know that when you have a high quality vacuum sealer that there will never be any doubt that the air has been removed from your food bags. A serious sous vide home cook will always want consistency.
There are many different type of bag vacuum sealer machines available and some of them will not be of suitable quality. If you are on a budget, then the best advice is to wait until you can afford a high quality machine. Buying a poor quality vacuum sealer can be just as risky as trying to squeeze the air out of zip lock bags. The good news is that high quality vacuum sealer machines are not as expensive as you may think.
Another advantage of owning a vacuum sealer is that you will be able to store food for a long period. This applies to uncooked and cooked food. You will be able to buy food ahead of time, and vacuum seal it ready for sous vide cooking another day.
Vacuum Edge Sealers
You can get a high quality vacuum edge sealer for less than $100, and they are a good place to start as they are a lot less expensive than the chambered vacuum sealer. These sealers are also a lot lighter and smaller, which means that you can move them around a lot easier.
A lot of people like to pre package food at home ready for future cooking, and an edge sealer vacuum machine is really good for this. It will keep your food fresh for a long time, and will prevent freezer burns.
The biggest issue with vacuum edge sealers is that you cannot include liquid in the bags. The reason is that the pump within the sealer will extract the liquid as well as the air, and this can lead to improper sealing.
Edge sealer vacuum machines do not have the power of chambered sealers, but will still do a good job. The other issue is that the recommended bags are pretty expensive at around 75 cents apiece. If you want to go for an edge sealer to start with, then the FoodSaver range offers high quality at a reasonable price. Starting at less than $100 and progressing to around $200, you should be able to find a vacuum sealer that meets your requirements.
Chambered Sous Vide Vacuum Sealers
This is without doubt the best way to seal your food for sous vide cooking. It does come at a pretty hefty price though. A chambered vacuum sealer is a fairly large machine which will remove the air from food bags even if they contain liquids.
The best chambered sealers have adjustable vacuum levels so you can control the strength of the vacuum. If you are into modernist cooking, then this can really help when it comes to infusing and compression.
The cost of the bags used with a chambered vacuum sealer is a much more reasonable 14 cents apiece. If you want a chambered vacuum sealer then you need to be prepared to spend at least $500, with the best machines costing over $1,000.
You will need a fair amount of space in your kitchen to accommodate a chambered vacuum sealer. They are pretty heavy too, and they can weigh between 50 pounds (22 kilograms) and 85 pounds (39 kilograms) so they are not very portable.
A chambered sealer is the ultimate in vacuum sealing. If you want to buy one then go for a high quality VacMaster machine as these have the very best reviews.
If You Don’t Have A Sous Vide Machine Yet Take A Look At Sansaire
With more and more best sousvide machines coming onto the market it can be difficult to know what make and model to choose. Please read our review of the Sansaire Sous Vide Immersion Circulator.