Last Updated on June 21, 2023 by Shari Mason
Sous vide is a cooking method involving immersing food in a water bath that is heated to a precise temperature.
This helps to keep the food fresh and prevents it from absorbing any unwanted flavors or odors from the water.
Vacuum sealing also allows you to cook the food evenly by removing air from the bag. This method can achieve perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy meat, fish, and vegetables.
But the question is, do you need a vacuum sealer for sous vide cooking? Let’s find out.
Is There A Need For Vacuum Sealer To Sous Vide?
Not really. Using a vacuum sealer for sous vide  cooking is not strictly necessary, but it has several advantages.
Vacuum sealing helps to keep the food fresh by removing air from the bag and preventing it from absorbing any unwanted flavors or odors from the water.
This also allows for even cooking, as the vacuum-sealed bag conforms to the shape of the food, eliminating any air pockets.
“Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.”– Sophia Loren, Actress
Additionally, vacuum sealing can help marinate the food while it cooks, as the flavors are trapped within the bag.
Other methods, such as using a zip lock bag and manually removing the air with a straw or a water displacement method, can be used without vacuum sealing.
Still, they may not provide the same level of protection and result in uneven cooking.
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Pros & Cons Of Using Vacuum Sealer For Sous Vide
- Keeps food fresh: Vacuum sealing helps to keep the food fresh by removing air from the bag and preventing it from absorbing any unwanted flavors or odors from the water.
- Even cooking: Vacuum sealing allows for even cooking as the vacuum-sealed bag conforms to the shape of the food, eliminating any air pockets.
- Marination: Vacuum sealing can also help to marinate the food while it cooks, as the flavors are trapped within the bag.
- Longer storage: Vacuum sealing can extend the shelf life of the food, allowing for longer storage in the freezer.
- Cost: Vacuum sealers can be costly, especially for those who use sous vide infrequently.
- Space: Vacuum sealers  can take up a lot of space, which can be an issue for those with limited kitchen space.
- Maintenance: Vacuum sealers require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure they work properly.
- Limited bag size: Not all vacuum sealers can accommodate larger bags, which can be a limitation when cooking large cuts of meat.
Alternative Options For Sealing Food
- Ziplock bags: One popular alternative is using a ziplock bag. Place the food in the bag, seal it, and then use the water displacement method to remove the air. This is done by slowly lowering the bag into the water and keeping the seal above the waterline. The pressure from the water will push out the remaining air from the bag.
- Mason jars: Another alternative is using mason jars. This is a great option for liquids and small items that can be placed in a jar. Fill the jar with food, leave enough headspace for expansion, and close the lid.
- Foil or plastic wrap: You can also use aluminum foil or plastic wrap to seal the food. This is a good option for small items such as herbs, spices, or small cuts of meat.
- Plate and plastic wrap: Another simple method is to place the food on a plate and cover it with plastic wrap, then press down the edges of the wrap to remove the air and create a tight seal.
How Does Vacuum Sealing Affect The Taste & Texture Of The Food?
- Taste: Vacuum sealing can enhance the natural flavors of the food by trapping them inside the bag, allowing the flavors to infuse and marinate the food while it cooks. This can result in a more flavorful and delicious final dish.
- Texture: Vacuum sealing can also improve the texture of the food by removing the air from the bag and creating an airtight seal. This allows the food to cook evenly and retain more natural juices, resulting in a more tender and juicy final dish.
- Preservation: Vacuum sealing can also help preserve the food by removing oxygen from the bag, slowing down the oxidation process, and helping to keep the color and texture of the food for longer periods.
- Protection: Vacuum sealing can also protect the food from bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause food spoilage and food poisoning.
Does sous vide have to be airtight?
It is not strictly necessary for sous vide cooking to be airtight, but it can greatly affect the outcome of your dish.
When food is vacuum sealed and placed in an airtight container, it allows for even cooking as the vacuum-sealed bag conforms to the shape of the food, eliminating any air pockets.
Is vacuum sealing better than Ziploc?
Vacuum sealing is generally better than using Ziploc bags for sous vide cooking.
Vacuum sealing provides a better seal and removes all the air from the bag, allowing even cooking, better preservation, and marination of the food.
Ziploc bags, on the other hand, even though they can be used for sous vide cooking, are not designed for it and can’t provide the same level of protection, resulting in uneven cooking.
While vacuum sealing is not strictly necessary for sous vide cooking, it does provide several benefits that can greatly affect the outcome of your dish.
Vacuum sealing can help keep the food fresh, prevent it from absorbing unwanted flavors or odors from the water, and allow for even cooking and marinating the food.
Vacuum sealing can also help to preserve the food and ensure its safety. However, it is important to note that vacuum sealers can be costly, take up a lot of space, and require regular maintenance.
Alternative options such as ziplock bags, mason jars, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap can also be used. Still, they may not provide the same level of protection and result in uneven cooking.
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