Sous Vide for Christmas!!
This amazing cooking technique boasts great results and sustainability!
With the skyrocketing interest in sous vide cooking, I started hearing among friends that they thought sous vide wasted too much water. I thought “you know, they’re probably right. But I’ll look into it anyway”. Another aspect of sous vide which worries people is the idea of cooking in plastic. The research I have done leads me to believe two major producers of plastic bags, Glad and ZipLoc, use a safe type of plastic. It is entirely safe for cooking at pre-boiling temperatures. These bags also have no harmful additives that would leach into the food. ** Stay away from off brands, particularly made in China **
As I was researching, I found an excellent article on Cook’s Illustrated. In it they state that meats are cooked to a temperature at least 130F or greater. If not, the meat is seared in a pan before putting it in the sous vide cooker.
Also, unless you are using sous vide in a restaurant or institution it is not necessary to remove all the air. Just getting out most of the air is good enough.
As far as the water that seems to be wasted with sous vide, since the water does not come into direct contact with the food, there is not much danger in it. Professional chefs usually use the same water for up to a week for the sous vide. They add water to account for evaporation. After a week the water can be safely used like any gray water and used to flush toilets or to irrigate non-edible plants or the lawn. The only change I can suggest is buying reusable plastic bags, like these bags.
It seems that sous vide is a fairly sustainable way to cook, especially if you reuse the water. So enjoy your sous vide cooker without guilt. You’re still a conservation crusader.