We’re all about trying out new kitchen gadgets, but there are only room for so many in the kitchen (especially if yours is on the smaller side). There are, however, enough space-efficient sous vide tools out there that we'll be making room for at home. Namely: a sous vide circulator and vacuum sealer.
Sous vide is a technique that professional chefs and restaurants have been using for decades, but it has gradually gained popularity with home cooks. While the name sounds fancy, the technique merely involves sealing food in an airtight container (usually a vacuum-sealed bag) and immersing it in temperature-controlled water. (The French term “sous vide” translates loosely to “under vacuum.") The idea is that, when cooking with evenly heated water instead of the traditional superheated air in the oven or metal on the stove, you can raise the temperature of foods precisely to achieve the exact doneness you’re looking for.
While the sous vide technique is often and most famously used to cook meats to the perfect temperature, it can also be used to make anything from braised vegetables or vegetable purees, flavour infused oils, or pickles. Serious cocktail enthusiasts use it to infuse spirits with aromatics, essentially turning vodka into gin. To try it at home, here's what we recommend:
VacuVita Home Base and Food Storage Bags
VacuVita is a countertop vacuum food storage gadget that comes with its own special vacuum-sealable containers. Not only are they an easy combination to use for sous vide, but the air-sealed containers are amazing at storing food for longer stretches of time while minimizing spoilage. The device removes air from the containers using a hose. In the SAVEUR test kitchen, we use this technology to store cereals, crackers, and breads to keep them fresh; you can also use them for refrigerated leftovers, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Finally, you can use them for quick meat marinating, reducing the marinate time from overnight to as little as 15–30 minutes.
Joule Sous Vide by ChefSteps
Joule is a great sous vide circulator for novices as well as professionals. Its metallic base holds steady in most home cook pots without the use of a clip, and it features a lightweight and minimal size without compromising power. The machine functions through its own app, which guides you through the entire process with step-by-step videos, visual cues, and helpful recipe tips. You simply indicate what you're cooking, pick your preferred doneness from the in-app photos, and Joule will take care of the rest by setting the ideal temperature and cook time. Additionally, Joule will let you know how much longer your food can stay in the water without overcooking. These features have ensured that the process is seamless.