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vaccum seal and low temperature cook

Is anyone using this method to cook food? Any hints about where to start? I've read about it, but would like feedback from people using this method before I think about buying that vaccum sealer I see on the shopping channel.

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  1. Two questions here, the vacuum sealer and the slow cooking method.

    I purchased a vacuum sealer and i d NOT use it for slow cooking. I use it for eliminating freezer burn on dishes I make on weekends and want to preserve. It works fantastically. That alone is worth buying it (Costco has it cheaper than the TV).

    Others will chime in on the slow-cooing method, but I'm there on the freeze and re-heat mode alone.

    1. I bought a vacuum sealer at Kohl's on sale a couple of years ago, it was the lowest price at the time. I LOVE it. We have a 16 cu ft. freezer and I make a lot of soups, stews, etc. on weekends. The thing I like best is to portion out, say, veal stew in individual packages, which can be microwaved or boiled for those nights when no one's schedule coincides and we all have to eat at crazy times. I also have success freezing fresh fruit in season in summer and make fruit pies or cobblers in winter. We have had some success freezing lunch meat and cheeses. Works great when meat is on sale at market. At holiday time, I froze IQF cookies and put in re-sealable bags and this worked well. My set came with canisters, but I never use those. The other thing I like is that you can make bags to order that fit the food you are working with. I have also had success making a bunch of lunchbox sandwiches freezing them and then all my daughter has to do is grab one in the morning and go. By lunch, they are defrosted and still tasty.

      1. I would not buy any vacuum sealer but FoodSaver by Tilia. Good warranty and good service, if needed. One word of advice...like most pump appliances (power washer, etc) you must use the appliance frequently, else the pump will become inactive. Needs exercise. I have been experimenting with the sous vide method of cooking, and it is quite sucessful. If interested, google "sous vide" for ideas. I also find that vacuum sealing cooked meat (like roast beef) keeps the meat relatively fresh after months of freezing.

        5 Replies
        1. re: OldTimer

          I second the FoodSaver. I have been really happy with it.

            1. re: OldTimer

              Yes, that is the unit I have. I also recommend a high power (little more money) appliance to ensure the vacuum device is strong. The more it sucks out the air, the less freezer burn and tastier your food will be.

              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                Do you know a non commerical product that has higher power (more suck) than Food Saver? I was not able to find one.

                1. re: harryharry

                  No, I investigated and bought a high power Food Saver.

            2. I have Food Saver too. I have not done any sous vide cooking with it but I did seal up the leftover rib roast from Christmas and a month gently reheated it, still in the bag, in simmering water. My DH said it was the best leftover roast beef he'd ever had.

              1. Thanks for all the input. I'd still be interested to hear people's sous vide tips and experiences.

                3 Replies
                1. re: oralfixation

                  If you have a public library near you go see if you can get a look at Jeffrey Steingarten's article in the Oct. 06 Vogue on sous vide cooking. He was very thorough about it in his article.

                  1. re: Candy

                    Is Steingarten the guy on Iron Chef Amer whose Mommy never taught him how to hold a fork?

                    1. re: OldTimer

                      Yep...that'd be him. Drives me nuts to watch him. I also always feel like he's talking with food in his mouth, even when he isn't.

                2. I was intrigued by the idea of cooking sous vide, so did a lot of research on the subject. My conclusion: this is not for the amateur home cook! The method requires an extremely reliable constant low temperature (this involves a means of circulating the water). The equipment costs are prohibitive. There is no way of doing this safely on the cheap.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca

                    I have read the horror stories also, but I cook sous vide in a vat of water in a 190 degree oven, and I'm not dead yet. I have been doing some comparative testing however, and my confit obsessed adult children prefer the duck cooked in fat...but only as a matter of taste and texture. If it is the preferred Chinese method to poach chicken for one hour in slowly cooling water, how dangerous can it be to poach fowl vacuum sealed in the same water? It starts out at 212 and cools down in the hour. Likewise salmon poached in water to 160 degrees is no safer than vacuum sealed salmon cooked similarly.

                    1. re: OldTimer

                      30 years ago, my favorite method for poaching a whole chicken was to put the bird in a pot of boiling water, cover, turn the heat off, and let it sit for two hours. Back in those days, salmonella wasn't a concern. Today, a majority of chickens in supermarkets test positive for this bacterium. Unconventional cooking methods are an invitation to illness, alas.

                    2. re: pikawicca

                      $50 for a temperature-controlled recirculator on eBay. That's less than a FoodSaver.

                      Then again, I've worked in labs for a decade so this seems obvious to me...
                      (Never pay retail, always unload anything you don't use (right back onto eBay))

                      If you want to make it happen, you can, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Hell, if you know what you're doing you could rewire a slow cooker to act as a water bath. All depends on what you are after. I decided that I liked the Maillard reaction and low-temp poaching just fine, after some review (but I can always borrow a water bath or a recirc from the lab if I change my mind ;-))

                    3. Here's a link to a thread I started on sous vide cooking last year:
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28409...

                      Be sure to view the linked threads since they're pretty useful. I'm ashamed to say that I still haven't tried this method w/ my scientific water bath machine; it's collecting dust in the garage. My husband wanted to get me a Food Saver as a Christmas gift but I told him "nah." My kitchen is bursting at the seams right now and another gadget is going to send me over the edge. Maybe someday...

                      Please report back on your sous vide experiments. I don't think the gadgets should cost too much if you shop around.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        Thank you so much Carb Lover. If I actually go through with this I'll post. I may have to wait until after my birthday. . .

                        1. re: Carb Lover

                          Luckily i have the space in my kitchen to have a Food Saver at hand. We bought one at Christmastime a Christmas gift to the kitchen not to one of us in particular. But anyway i love it and it is saving space for me in my freezer, I used to toast and freeze all of my nuts but now thay all get vacuum packaged and stored in the pantry. If I buy bigger packages I can divide them up and keep things fresh, we have less waste. In my Nov/Dec baking frenzy i over bought on some stuff like brown sugar ( I was so sure I had used the last but no, now i have 3 bags) and the extra all got vacuum packaging. I love the ease of doing the boiling bag thing too. It keeps things moist and tasty. Think about adding one.