Sous vide comes from the French language, and means “under vacuum.” The concept is not new for those working in the cooking industry. However, thanks to numerous popular cooking shows, the trend of sous vide are starting to increase among home cooks.
Sous Vide Canning
Also, precision cooking gadgets for this type of cooking are now readily available and affordable for home cooks. Why then is it not very popular for canning? Perhaps because many home cooks are a little afraid to try this unfamiliar method that is largely seen as the domain of professional chefs.
What Are the Principles Behind Sous Vide Cooking?
The process of sous vide involves vacuum sealing the food in a bag and then cooking it at low temperatures for a very long time in a water bath. The idea behind this is to cook the food to perfection. The results obtained are impossible to achieve with any other cooking technique.
What Are the Advantages of Sous Vide Cooking?
There is no stress of over or undercooking your food. This very precise method guarantees perfect results. Steaks will be cooked according to the exact level of doneness you desire, and fish will no longer be dried out.
Once the temperature has been set and the food is inside its vacuum bag, it can be left unattended for the duration of the cooking time.
What About Canning Though?
Sous vide canning is really only suitable for canning acidic foods like pickles. That’s because the water bath used doesn’t get hotter than 130˚C which isn’t hot enough to kill botulism spores in non-acidic foods. It’s a great method to use for people who want a crisp result for their pickles though.
Pickles and sous vide canning
An acidic brine is used for sous vide canning pickles (usually half water, half vinegar). No pathogen can grow in a very acidic or highly basic environment. Although vinegar is the main acidic ingredient, the spices used in pickles aid in a pathogen-free environment.
Therefore, pickles and sous vide canning go hand in hand. However, care must be taken. The procedure can go wrong and result in spoiled pickles.
Busting the myth
The notion is that sous vide cooking does not warm the food enough to kill pathogens and that it leads to the growth of food pathogens like botulism. This is true. However, even if the food is not heated sufficiently, the acidic brine will lower the pH to less than 4.
This environment is not friendly to the growth of pathogens. Hence, you should feel safe and confident in using this procedure for acidic foods. We can conclude that sous vide canning is safe and effective for pickles only.
It cannot be used for jams, vegetables, or meat. This is for a few reasons:
- Sous vide foods do not get hot enough to kill botulism spores, hence only high acid foods are suitable
- To obtain a good seal on canning jars, boiling is needed.
- For jams and jellies, boiling is necessary for the pectin to set.
The reason that sous vide canning is unpopular is probably that it has such a limited range of applications, that is, acidic pickles only. Many home canners wish to can other foods as well, hence their reliance on the safe and simple pressure canning method.