I was talking to my mom about sous vide cooking yesterday and one of the things that struck me was that she thinks it involves too much equipment that she would have to purchase, store, and learn to use. This was really interesting considering she loves to be on QVC 24/7 checking out deals on stuff she doesn’t need, including plenty of kitchen stuff.
On that note I want to talk about how to do the water immersion technique, which allows you to start cooking sous vide style without purchasing a vacuum sealer.
What is the water immersion technique and why do you need to know how to do it?
Since sous vide means literally “under vacuum” in French, you have to get the air out of your cooking pouches one way or another. Of course we love using this Ary VacMaster VP215 chamber vacuum sealer because it is efficient, fun, and the pouches look amazing and store beautifully in your freezer.
But if you’re getting started with sous vide and haven’t made the full commitment, in terms of investing in equipment, you can do it this way. This technique is just an equipment-free way of getting air out of your bags so they’re ready for sous vide cooking.
Water Immersion Technique
To say it is a “technique” really makes it sound a lot more complicated than it really is. All you need is a vessel full of water, like a deep mixing bowl or soup pot, and a BPA-free Ziploc freezer bag that contains the food you’re cooking.
Don’t do this using the heated water that you’re going to sous vide in because you don’t want to burn yourself.
Please do your water immersion in water that will not burn you.
I know it is tempting to use the water bath since you have it already sitting there, but your fingers are going to be in very close contact with water as you do this.
You can have your sous vide water already at temp while you do this or it can be still in the process of heating up.
If you’re curious about which immersion circulator is our favorite, it’s the Joule.
Here it is:
- Smallest, sleekest sous vide tool available at just 11 inches tall and 1.3 pounds, with streamlined white body and solid stainless steel cap & base.
- Saves space: Half the size of other sous vide machines, it's small enough to slip into a top drawer. IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi compatible 2.4 Ghz only
- Heats up fast: 1100 watts of power for hyper-fast water heating. System requirements: iOS 8.0 or later, Android 4.4 or later, internet access required for some features
- Perfect results: Visual Doneness feature in the Joule app displays exactly how food cooks. Dinner comes out predictably perfect, every time. Vessel requirements - Minimum water depth - 1.5 inch (38 millimeter). Maximum water depth - 8 inch (203 millimeter)
- Wifi and bluetooth ready: Works with iPhone or Android? connect with Bluetooth alone, or cook from anywhere with WiFi. Bluetooth smart 4.0 wireless technology
- Voltage warning: Works with 120 V outlets only. Due to our precise heating technology, voltage transformers and converters can damage your Joule, and use outside of North America voids the Warranty.
Ok, on to the water immersion technique:
Keep the Ziploc bag unsealed for this since the whole point is to let the air escape. Hold the bag with one hand on each end and slowly lower it into the water.
The water pressure will push the air out as you lower the bag, creating the vacuum effect that we want for sous vide cooking.
Keep lowering the bag while holding it in such a way that the air can escape.
As you get to the point where most of the bag in submerged, there is no perfect way to do this. You obviously can’t lower the bag all the way into the water because then you’ll have water mixed in with your food, and you don’t want that.
So just lower it as far down as you can go while maintaining enough of a grip to carefully seal the bag. And you’re done! You’ve successfully performed the water immersion technique.
Now just repeat with the rest of your bags if you’re preparing several at a time, or move on and start cooking.
What are you making? Have you tried our sous vide ribeye steak recipe?
If you haven’t, it’s pretty awesome and you should take a look at it. Sous vide is all about cooking perfect meat, right? Or, like 98% at least. I know a lot of people are also super into sous vide eggs.
I mean I myself am into eggs but I’m sorry, no egg is ever going to come close to a perfectly cooked steak in my book 🙂