Time is precious, and it seems like there’s just never enough of it in the day. Whether it’s work, the gym, getting the kids ready, or simply sleeping, for many people there just aren’t the hours in the day to spend time preparing healthy and nutritious meals.
When you get home from a nightmare commute after a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is have to stress over what to have for tea, especially if you’ve got a family full of mouths to feed.
Unfortunately, this lack of time is what leads to many of us taking the easy route out, and either putting a ready meal in the microwave, or picking up the phone and ordering a takeaway, but this is where batch cooking comes to the rescue!
Batch cooking means cooking food in large quantities, and is actually one of the best advantages that a sous vide machine can bring to your home, so we’re going to break down why it’s so great, how to do it, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
Batch Cooking Advantages
- The most important thing is that, just like regular sous vide cooking, batch cooking simply makes your life easier. All you have to do is pop all of your ingredients in vacuum packed bags, put them into your water bath or container, and leave them to cook, freeing you up to crack on with whatever else you have planned for your day!
- Once you’ve done the initial preparation, you could be set for the next few days, or even a couple of weeks, depending on how much you want to prep at once.
- Instead of relying on convenient, but unhealthy meals such as takeaways, you know that each night’s meal is going to be nutritious and healthy, even more so because sous vide locks in all of the good nutrients which often get lost through conventional cooking methods.
- It cuts down on wastage, and make sure that you get the most out of all of your ingredients.
- It can also work out cheaper than you might think, because you can buy your ingredients in bulk, which will usually save you a bit of money.
How It’s Done
Simply put multiple pieces of meat into your vacuum pouches, and fill up your sous vide water bath or container as much as you want, as long as you leave plenty of room for the water to circulate.
As for how many pieces you can fit inside one bag, it’s a good idea to make sure that you stick to one ‘layer’ and make sure not to have so many pieces that they’re overlapping, as the more of the surface area that is exposed to the water, the more effective the cooking process will be.
You can split the ingredients up into multiple bags if you want to control portion sizes or maybe freeze some of the bags to use in a few days or weeks too.
After you’ve finished cooking, if you’re not going to be eating them straight away, it’s important that you take your ingredients out and blast chill them to under 5˚C.
If you fail to chill your ingredients and leave them in the ‘danger zone’ roughly between 5˚C and 60˚C, then there’s a high chance that harmful bacteria will grow.
The best way to do this is to put your ingredients into an ice bath of 50% ice and 50% water immediately after they come out of the sous vide machine, and leave them there about half an hour to an hour.
Once this is done, you can keep the food in the fridge for about three to four days, but even better, you can freeze them for up to a year!
When it comes to reheating, we recommend that you thaw frozen ingredients out in the fridge before reheating, although you can put them straight back into the sous vide bath if you wish.
We recommend that you heat the ingredients back to their initial cooking temperature, although this will obviously take longer if you’re doing so straight from frozen.
And of course, remember to quickly sear your ingredients before serving to give them that crispy, flavoursome finish.