Sous vide is an increasingly popular method of cooking in the home. By placing our food in plastic or silicone pouches, releasing the air (to get that “under vacuum” characteristic that the French words “sous” and “vide” translate to), and cooking it in a very precisely heated water bath, we can make reliably incredible meals time after time with very little margin of error. That should be reason enough in itself, but it is very far from the ONLY reason why.
If you’ve been asking yourself, or your friends “Why cook sous vide?”, then we have the answers for you!
Anova’s Top Ten Reasons to Cook with Precision
10. No more overcooking.
Throughout my life, my food-loving and fantastic cook of a mother regaled me with stories of how my grandmother “cooked things to death”. Well-done, dry, and frequently as hard to chew as one would expect shoe leather to be! She tried to make up for the overcooking by becoming expert at gravy, but being able to achieve juicy results would have saved her from this daily chore. (I can’t really complain – my grandmother’s gravy was AMAZING, and I am lucky to have learned from her!)
Because you have such precise control over the temperature at which your food is cooked, it never again has to be dry – even if you prefer it well done! It can be perfectly well-done, loaded with flavor and still juicy from being cooked in a humid, self-braising environment.
Even if you leave your food in the bath longer than the prescribed amount of time, sometimes even by hours, your food will not reach greater levels of doneness. There are, of course, guidelines to help you maintain the textural integrity of whatever you are cooking, but they have already been figured out for you.
9. Sous vide saves you money.
Whether it’s decreased food waste (because you will never again be overcooking!), cutting down on going out to eat because you can fearlessly prepare amazing restaurant-quality meals at home, or being able to purchase less-expensive cuts of meat and transforming them into heavenly meat-sterpieces, there are countless ways that this $200 or less investment will provide you with hugely cost-effective returns!
Look at this 2-lb/~1kg boneless English roast #anovafoodnerd Thomas M. Price, Jr cooked with his Anova Precision Cooker. In his words, “…that’s a $7 roast I made look and taste like loin. I swear my @AnovaCulinary changed my life.”
Even if you ate double portions of 8oz/~225g, that is only $1.75 per serving of tender, juicy, medium rare meat. Talk about rewarding!
8. Sous vide cooking is safer.
Even as (or maybe ESPECIALLY as) a professional chef, I have burned myself multiple times. Oftentimes, you can tell a chef or baker by the burn scars on their inner arms. Cooking usually involves fire and very hot temperatures, and getting a little too close to those flames or heated metal can be both dangerous and painful!
The funny part is, when we cook with traditional methods, we are manipulating high external temperatures to achieve a much lower internal temperature. We use a 400ºF/204ºC oven to get the inside of our roasting chicken to reach 165ºF/73.9ºC. That’s a little wild, right?
With sous vide, we choose the target temperature from the get-go, and most fall between 104ºF/40ºC and 185ºF/85ºC. The Anova Precision Cooker will never reach boiling no matter how high you set the temperature, and most of the the most-common settings are still cool enough to be able to dip unprotected hands into. This makes burns much less of a concern, even if the water were to tip over.
7. Kids love getting involved with sous vide.
I can’t tell you how many parents have told me how their kids, all the way down to toddlers, love getting involved in the cooking AND eating process when their Anova is involved! As we mentioned in the last point, sous vide cooking is safer in general. And oftentimes, as preparation for putting food in the bath can be as simple as sprinkling seasonings and drizzling oil – perfect jobs for little hands! Studies also show that children who are involved in home meal preparation make healthier choices both in and out of the home more often than their non-cooking counterparts.
Also (and this is purely anecdotal though the stories have poured in from all directions!), kids enjoy the texture of “Anovafied” vegetables and proteins, not to mention the custards, of course! Why? Because to put it as a parent did to me just today, “Kids like good food, too.”
6. Sous vide is healthier.
Cooking with your Anova Precision Cooker requires less oil, fat, and salt than traditional cooking methods. Slow-cooking preserves more nutrients, and also makes them more accessible. It can help you accommodate special diets like Keto, Paleo, gluten-free, and more with no problem. We devoted another entire blog post to the multitude of health benefits – check it out here!
5. You can do it almost anywhere.
You don’t need a full kitchen to cook with an Anova Precision Cooker. You just need an electrical outlet, a container, and a supply of water (and the bags of food, of course!). We have customers report that they travel with their immersion circulators to ensure that they are eating healthy, delicious meals wherever they go. The list of “wherevers” has included hotel rooms, hunting cabins, and believe it or not – the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers! (That was me…)
Photo credit: Ben Chun “Double Doorway” via Flickr
Of course, this little-equipment-needed method lends itself to the tiny-home movement, but also has build-your-kitchen-anywhere potential.
4. Sous vide cooking is low maintenance.
Cooking sous vide does not require excessive amounts of attention. You do not have to be standing over a hot stove making sure that your food does not burn; you heat your bath, drop your food in, and set the timer. If you use our handy app, the timer is already set and the unit will let you know with an alarm when your food is ready. That said, you never need to use an app or smart phone if you don’t want to – you can keep it as simple as you please. How convenient, and perfect for people with limited mobility who still want to make and eat amazing dishes!
3. Sous vide is fantastic for make-ahead meals.
You can prep a week or even months in advance easily. No longer do you have to be afraid to buy the bulk package of chicken breasts on sale, because you can portion them out however you choose, marinate, cook, and freeze OR marinate, freeze, and THEN cook. Check out our post on batch cooking to learn more.
You can also use your Anova to help reheat non-sous vide prepared meals from the fridge and freezer. With all of the recent concern about the safety of microwaves, isn’t it great to know that you can have a highly portable appliance help you reheat your food?
2. You can appeal to a number of palates at the same time with very little effort.
Joe likes his steak with simply salt & pepper. Chris wants his treated with a coffee rub. Julia likes hers with Montreal Steak Seasoning & Worcestershire sauce. They want to eat together at the same time. The answer? Different pouches, same water bath!
You can also easily manage different degrees of doneness perfectly with a little extra time spent cooking. This can make family dinner – or even a dinner party – much less stressful.
And if you choose your recipes carefully, you can even prepare entirely different recipes at the same time, like our #anovafoodnerd @ritsthechefwannabe, with chops, fried chicken, and wings going at the same time! We love it!
1. The Anova Precision Cooker makes life easier.
In so many ways is this true! From all the other ways listed, to the 8 Weird Ways to Use Your Precision Cooker we recently shared, sous vide is a cooking method that can make your life easier, especially with Anova. You can cook from your couch or set the temperature of your water before you leave work. You will have fewer pots and pans to wash. The friends you invite over to dinner will think you’re a culinary genius, and you won’t even have broken a sweat!
The next time somebody asks you “Why cook sous vide?”, we know you’ll have an answer! And if this article has answered YOUR question, but you want to explore more, visit our website. Big hint – if you enter your email in the banner at the top of the page (March 2017), you will get an extra special discount in the US – and there is an automatic discount at checkout in all other regions where the Anova Precision Cooker is available!What do you think #anovafoodnerd fam? Did we leave any reasons that sous vide cooking is amazing out? Let us know in the comments!