Aside from the fantastic flavour and texture, sous vide cooking also allows you to make your meal planning a lot easier, meaning you can prepare large amounts of food to be frozen and easily prepared later.
This is especially useful when you’re trying to work cooking around a busy schedule, and means that you can simply reheat your sous vide cooked meals in minutes when you get home from work.
We’re going to look at the ways which you can cook sous vide from frozen and offer up some tips.
Why Cook Sous Vide from Frozen
There are a number of reasons why it makes sense to cook sous vide from frozen, but the main one is definitely the convenience.
Freezing means that you won’t have to worry about food going out of date and making sure to use up all of an ingredient before it goes off.
Instead, it gives you the freedom to use whichever foods you want, and be a lot more creative with your meal times.
It also allows you to bulk buy ingredients, meaning you can have a stock of ingredients ready to use at a moment’s notice, even if they’re out of season.
Freezing Before Cooking
- Season and vacuum pack ingredients.
- Label pouches and freeze for up to six weeks.
- Cook using your sous vide machine either defrosted or straight from frozen at the required time and temperature, adding on 60 minutes if cooking straight from frozen.
- Sear as usual if desired.
Freezing After Cooking
- Season and vacuum seal food and cook at the specified temperature and time.
- Quick chill the vacuum pouches in ice water for about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Label and freeze for up to a year.
- Defrost and reheat using your sous vide machine for 45 minutes per inch of thickness, allowing an extra 30 minutes if cooking from frozen.
- Sear as usual if desired.
(Bear in mind when you are reheating using the sous vide machine, you can cook two ingredients alongside each other, even if they initially cooked at different times.
For example, some frozen veg which was cooked at 85˚C can be reheated alongside a piece of meat which was cooked at 60˚C, as long as you use the lower of the two temperatures when reheating.)
If you do wish to freeze your food after you’ve cooked it, be sure to quick chill it to quickly bring it down from the cooking temperature beforehand. You can do this by:
- Prepare an ice bath in a container (should be roughly half water, half ice)
- Submerge your vacuum packed pouches in the water
- Chill for at least 30 minutes, more for larger packets
- Add ice if needed, ensuring that the water stays below 5˚C
- Dry the pouches out and place in the freezer
Many people worry that cooking their sous vide meals from frozen won’t result in the tender and flavoursome dishes that sous vide is known for.
However, this isn’t the case! The reason that frozen food often comes out looking a little bit limp and sorry for itself after cooking from frozen is that the freezing process snaps and breaks the protein strands in the food, leaving them flat and flaccid.
However, cooking the products sous vide before freezing sets the protein strands, so that there’s no loss of size when they’re cooked from frozen.
We would recommend that you take your frozen food out the night before to allow it to defrost before cooking, rather than doing to straight from frozen, to ensure maximum flavour.
Another worry is that cooking frozen food sous vide may not be safe, but it’s exactly as safe as it would be if you were cooking from fresh.
Of course, you will have to ensure that you cook the food longer to make sure that it’s safe, but once it’s cooked, it’ll be just as healthy and just as tasty as any other piece of sous vide meat!