Can You Use Zip Lock Bags for Sous Vide?
Sous vide cooking requires that you put the food into a plastic bag. Ziploc bags are actually the best for cooking sous vide. This is because they are designed to withstand heat which means they can never melt.
However, you should avoid using them if you intend to expose your pot to high temperatures for many hours because they can melt or get torn. The good thing about zip lock bags is that they can be sealed without using any machine.
Will chemicals leach into the food?
Another worry is that the chemicals from the plastic may leach into the food when heated, since a study and some other research got people to suddenly start pitching their plastic containers in the trash. That may be so, but it isn’t any more likely than with vacuum bags designed for sous vide cooking — they are made out of the exact same kind of plastic.
To be on the safe side, stay away from any plastic baggie made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). A little research on the company’s website should tell you what the bags are made of. High-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene and polypropylene are the safest plastics to cook with. Thankfully, that’s what Ziploc bags and most other zippered bags are made of.
Efficiency at its best
When you use zip lock bags for sous vide, you can be sure that the food will taste just like you want it to. This is because all the additives are absorbed by whatever you are cooking. Since the bags are tightly sealed, there is no room for any air going in or out. In fact, the nutrients and the spices remain intact because there is no room for evaporation.
This means that the food aroma can’t even be smelled by those around you including the guests that are waiting in the living room. The other advantage is that the bags are not costly because they are constructed from recyclable plastic material and polythene.
Recycle water used in sous vide
Although sealed zip lock bags are later immersed into a water bath, that water can be used for other uses once the meal is ready. This is because the water is never contaminated by the food ingredients. The zip lock bags prevent the food from coming into contact with the water. You can therefore use the water to clean dishes, bathe the baby and water your plants among many other uses.
However, caution should be observed when cooking meat that has bones. This is because the bones can prick holes into the zip lock bag and cause the water to go in. It’s actually advisable to remove any sharp pointed bones prior to putting it into the bag.
No need of waiting for meal to cook
When you use other types of bags to cook sous vide, you can never re-open the bag while the food is still cooking. This means that you are denied the opportunity of checking whether your food has already achieved the softness that you want.
Such bags are sealed using a machine and that’s you can’t open them until the meal is ready.Moreover, such bags don’t allow you to add any soup when you are sealing.With zip lock bags, you can open the sack when cooking is in progress and still be able to seal it back perfectly.
This ability gives you an edge when you are cooking meat because you can tell whether the food has become soft enough or you still need to cook it a little bit longer. With this feature, you can even add spices and soup without fear of messing up everything.
It doesn’t matter whether you are using a sous vide pot or a circulator because you will still get the same results. Here are some tips that will give you an edge when using zip lock bags.
Fill the pot with water: Regardless of whether you are using a circulator or a pot, it’s recommended that you fill the pot with water such that the food in the sack is inside the water. If the water is very little, the food will not cook evenly.
Pouring plenty of water in the cooking pot is better especially when you want the food to cook for many hours. This will reduce chances of evaporation. In fact, there are people that recommend covering the pot with foil paper but it’s not necessary. This helps in cooking the food much faster because the resulting heat is not lost through evaporation.
Frozen Food doesn’t require thawing: Since the food will cook slowly, you can put food straight from the freezer into the zip lock bags.This is because the time that the food will be cooking is enough to unfreeze the food.You can only pre-heat the food if it has to be cooked within a very short time.
Attach zip lock bag on one side of the pot: If you use a sous vide circulator, it’s advisable to attach your sealed bag on one side of the cooking pot. This helps in preventing the bag from being sucked by the circulator. You can actually attach the bag using a plastic clip.