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Claire - Chef's Cookware

Sous-Vide

Cooking at low termperatures

12th February 2007 16:22

Sous-vide is French for "under vacuum", is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients by heating them for an extended period of time at relatively low temperatures. Food is cooked for a long time, sometimes well over 24 hours. But unlike a slow cooker, sous-vide cooking uses airtight plastic bags placed in hot water well below boiling point (Usually around 60°C).

The method was developed by French chef Georges Pralus in the mid-1970s. He discovered that food cooked in this way kept its original appearance, did not lose its nutrients and maintained its natural texture.

Warning Deadly botulinum bacteria can grow in food in the absence of oxygen: sous vide cooking must be performed under carefully controlled conditions to avoid botulism poisoning. To help with food safety and taste, relatively expensive water-bath machines are used to circulate precisely heated water; differences of even one degree can affect the finished product.

More detail about this fascinating process can be gained from this informed article from The New York Times.

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