To some, sous-vide may seem like rocket science that requires years of professional experience and lots of fancy equipment, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
In fact, there are plenty of simple hacks which you can try at home which will make your life cooking sous-vide a whole lot easier!
1. DIY Vacuum Sealing
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, there are a couple of do it yourself methods you can use.
The first involves using a straw. Simply put the food in the bag, and zip it almost all the way closed, before sticking a straw in the opening.
Then you simply need to suck the air out, pull the straw out, and quickly seal the bag! Sure it’s not glamorous, but it works!
An alternative is to fill up the bag with your food, then submerge it in water with the top open.
This should push most of the air out of the bag so that you can easily seal the top. While neither of these approaches will give you the results that a proper vacuum sealer will, they work just fine if you haven’t got round to buying one yet.
2. No Water Bath, No Problem!
As long as you’ve got a thermal circulator, it doesn’t really matter what the container you’re using looks like on the outside, so long as it can safely hold your ingredients.
You’ll also need to make sure that you leave a little bit of room for the water to circulate around the container too, but other than this, anything goes!
That could be something more conventional such as a cooking pot or slow cooker, or something a bit imaginative, such as a drinks cooler!
3. Perfect Poached Eggs, No Vacuum Packing Required
A lot of people just use their sous-vide machines for cooking meat, which is great, but not many know that it’s a sneaky way to get perfect poached eggs every time.
All you need to do is simply pop your eggs into a water bath or container with a circulator and leave for just under an hour.
You don’t even need to use a vacuum sealer, because the egg’s shell will naturally act as a seal.
4. Infused Spirits, Oils and Extracts
Another lesser known use of sous-vide machines is that you can use them to infuse spirits and extracts, a process which usually takes weeks.
Sous-vide cuts the wait down to just a couple of hours, gently infusing all of the flavours together in a fraction of the time.
5. Chill Your Drinks
We’ve mentioned how a cooler can double as a sous-vide machine, but you can also flip this the other way and use your sous-vide machine to chill your drinks!
Simply set your circulator to the lowest temperature you can and add in some ice cubes.
Keeping the water moving around the bath means that the drinks will cool much quicker than normal, and once it’s reached the desired temperature, your beers, wine or whatever you want to chill should be nice and cool in as little as ten minutes!
You could also use this method to chill food to store in the freezer or defrost meat as well.