One of the main concerns in regards to Sous Vide is associated with the safety of cooking foods at such low temperatures. Most people have the belief system that it is not safe to eat foods which are not cooked at high enough temperatures. The concerns are different when it comes to the home cooks and restaurants as well as between whether food is served immediately and the food that is stored in the freezer or refrigerator for extended periods of time.
One common misconception about cooking is that the temperature is what is required to kill bugs. However, the temperature is not the only important factor as the length of time that the food is at this temperature is equally of importance.
The federal guidelines have suggested that the following time and temperature combinations are applicable when it comes to Sous Vide as an effective method to kill bacteria such as E.Coli and Salmonella in food:
•130F, food needs to be cooked for 87 minutes
•135F, food needs to be cooked for 28 minutes
•140F, food should be cooked for a minimum of 9 minutes
•145F, food should be cooked for at least 3 minutes
•150F, food should be cooked for at least 51.85 seconds
•160F, food needs to be cooked for 5.19 seconds
•165F, food should be cooked for a minimum of 1.64 seconds
We cook food with the purpose of making it tasty and safe to consume. The method of Sous Vide cooking is not different, but you do have more control over safety and taste. The Sous Vide cooking techniques require that you select the temperature in accordance to the “doneness,” and then you cook the food until it reaches the correct texture and safety.
Food that is raw has an extensive array of microorganisms in and on it. The majority of the microorganisms are beneficial or spoilage bacteria which does not make us sick. However, a few of these microorganisms are recognized as pathogens that have the ability to make us extremely sick, especially when you have eaten enough of them.
While there are a variety of food pathogens that have the ability to do harm and make us sick, your main aim when cooking is to kill the most dangerous and toughest. The three food pathogens that are a concern when cooking Sous Vide will be the Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella species, and the E.Coli bacteria. Since we are not aware of some pathogens present in food, the majority of experts suggest that we cook food to decrease: Listeria by a minimum of 1 million to 1, E.Coli by 100,000 to 1 and Salmonella by 10 million to 1. This is easy to do with Sous Vide cooking with the simple task of keeping the food at least 130F or hotter in the water bath until a sufficient amount of the bacteria is killed or destroyed.
The temperature of the water bath is vital when cooking food such as beef, and it will take around four times longer when using 130F compared to cooking the beef at 140F. What you are cooking is also of importance, at 140F it will take on average 60% longer to cook chicken than it will for beef. Other factors such as the fat and salt content in the food will also have an effect on how long you should be cooking the food for. However, these differences are minor when compared to the species and the actual temperature.
Keep in mind that thicker foods such as rib roasts will take a lot longer to cook compared to thinner pieces. For this reason, it is advisable to cut up your food into individual pieces which cook faster.
Read reviews about the best sous vide machines.