by Andrew Heinzman on
You don’t need to warm up water in the microwave or on the stove. Electric kettles are cheaper than ever, and they can help you make the most out of your tea or coffee drinking experience.
At ReviewGeek, we’re big fans of cooking via the sous vide method. It’s a fantastic way to get precise results and, with a few extra accessories, it’ll be the most dead simple cooking method you use.
Sous vide cooking, also known as using immersion circulation, it’s a super easy way of cooking precisely so that your food is cooked perfectly. The Anova Precision Cooker is our favorite sous vide device. However, you need the right accessories to go alongside so we’ve checked out the best tools to get you started.
In case you’re still unsure about the benefits of sous vide, here’s a quick overview of two of the key advantages of using the method. It means no more undercooked or overcooked meat as everything is cooked just right with no risk of overly dry chicken, for instance. Unlike grilling, stir-frying, or oven baking, or other cooking methods where temperature control is much more difficult, sous vide cooking is precise to the tenth of a degree. The other big advantage is you don’t have to spend tons of time watching things cook. You can step away and leave it to do all the hard work for you. Kind of like a slow cooker but way cooler and way more precise.
Sold? Cool. Grab the Anova Precision Cooker then come back here and we can guide you through the other items you need to reap the full benefits.
It’s possible to use any old pot that’s deep enough but it makes sense to have a dedicated container. Even more so given that plastic is a better insulator, and this kind of cooking is all about good insulation. The Rubbermaid Commercial Food Storage Container is ideal as it’s available in a number of different sizes, and it’s robust. It’s dishwasher safe and made from impact-resistant polycarbonate so it’s ideal for everyday use.
Is it exciting? Not in the slightest but it’ll feel more that way once you’ve started using it to cook tasty food! Besides, the ability to look through the container and see your food cooking gives it a real mad scientist vibe.
You need a lid for the container and there are plenty of options. If you’re not afraid to do it yourself, you can buy a regular Rubbermaid Food Storage Container Lid for $5 and cut the hole out for yourself. The lid is needed to decrease evaporation and it’s useful to cut the hole just how you want. The plastic is relatively soft and easy to cut with a utility knife. The DIY route is the option recommended by many avid sous vide chefs but we won’t blame you if you’d rather buy a ready-made lid.
Prefer to avoid the DIY work and just buy a ready-made lid? The Sous Vide Container Lid with Collapsible Hinge is a pretty good option. It’s available in the right sizes for the Rubbermaid container and has a collapsible hinge for added convenience. With an appropriately tight seal, you won’t have to worry about any heat loss or water evaporation. It’s good and durable too, as well as dishwasher safe.
You need some kind of dish rack to place in the container so that you can place the bags of food safely alongside each other. It’s possible to repurpose a dish rack you already own, providing it fits, but we’ve assumed you’re brand new to all this. Buy Geesta’s Stainless Steel Sous Vide Rack and you won’t have to worry.
It’s made from stainless steel so there’s no risk of rust, staining or corrosion. A crossbar holds the pouches in place to prevent floating or any half cooked issues, and you can easily fit in plenty of pouches at once. When it comes to lifting things out, there’s an extended handle so you don’t have to worry about touching hot water. It’s fully collapsible for storage purposes too.
It’s really important that you keep your food bags submerged. Otherwise, the food might not be cooked properly or evenly. One of the easiest ways to keep the bags submerged is to buy some weighted magnets. The KORE Sous Vide Weighted Magnets are a pretty stylish and easy option to pursue. Available in a pair, the magnets can be used outside of the food bag so that the weights never directly touch the food. That gives you the benefit of not needing to wash them quite as much as other options.
Made from food-grade silicone and stainless steel, they’re sturdy too and sure to last for a long time. You’ll soon wonder how you did without them.
OK, so there are other ways in which you can hold the bags down. One easy method is to use bulldog clips to attach the bags to the rack. It’s not as neat or as stylish as using dedicated magnets but you may find you prefer this route. Buy a pack of 20 metal bulldog clips for $8 and you can always use them for something else if you switch to using the magnets.
The key to sous vide is to have the bag of food completely sealed so that it can cook properly. Manual vacuum sealers are one such option but if you can, go with an automatic one for maximum effectiveness. The Mooka Vacuum Sealer does everything you could want thanks to its drying and moist modes.
The bottom pad of the heating strip has a mica sheet incorporated in it, and is able to withstand temperatures of up to 800c. The sealer is rated for continuous use up to 40 concurrent uses (not that you’ll be frequently sealing 40 vacuum bags in a row)—but it’s good to know the design is sturdy.
If you’ve been using Ziploc bags with your sous vide instead of proper vacuum sealed bags you’ll be blown away by what a difference it makes, and it can come in handy for kitchen and household tasks besides sous vide cooking.
On a budget and don’t mind doing some of the work yourself? Buy the Forsous Sous Vide Bag Kit and you can seal the bags manually courtesy of a hand pump. It’s super simple to pump out the air to ensure the bag is sealed tightly. It’s just maybe not as easy as doing it with an automatic device. On the plus side, it doesn’t require electricity, just good old fashioned physical exertion. You’ll also save on buying rolls of vacuum bag material and cut down on waste by reusing the bags. On the downside, you have to wash and dry the bags (and some recipes with strong flavors may leave lingering smells in the plastic).
One of the few disadvantages of sous vide is how the food looks visually after you take it out the bag. There’s an easy solution and it’s called a food searing torch. Use the Ingeniosity Products Culinary Torch Lighter to add some color, crunch and searing to your meat. It makes a huge difference to the end result, both taste and looks wise. Plus, it’s really pretty fun pointing a torch at something (safely).
For those non-sous vide moments, this also doubles as a perfect tool for creme brûlée too.
We’ve talked a lot about cast iron skillets before because they make a huge difference no matter what you’re cooking. As we have to narrow it down to one choice, we’ve gone with the Lodge 10.25 inch Cast Iron Skillet, thanks to its good price, high quality, and ideal size for most forms of cooking.
Like with the searing torch, this is all about finishing off your sous vide meat. Sticking it in a skillet for the last few moments gives you time to add some crunch, smokiness, and added texture that you don’t get from sticking with solely sous vide cooking. Plus, the skillet is good for many more cooking adventures.
Cooking via sous vide is hot work and you need to leave it safely somewhere for a while. So to avoid damaging your kitchen surfaces, buy the Love This Kitchen Premium Silicone Trivet Mats to place the container on. Heat resistant to up to 442 Fahrenheit, they’re thick yet flexible thanks to the silicone construction. On top of protecting surfaces, it’s also very grippy so your soud vide container stays put.
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