Vacuum Cooking at Low Temperatures

Gaia de Bernardini 29 november 2021

20211129 161918

Vacuum Cooking at Low Temperatures

In the Netherlands there is a line of low temperature vacuum-packed vegetable products.

Under the Smoke & BBQ brand, smoked beets, corn cobs, cauliflower and more are masterfully prepared with this technique.

 

A good piece of meat or fish on the BBQ should always be accompanied by vegetables.

But why choose for low-temperature vacuum-cooked vegetables?

This type of cooking has a long history

The low-temperature vacuum cooking technique has a brilliant Anglo-American count as a precursor over two centuries ago (Sir Benjamin Thompson in 1799), it was adopted in France about forty years ago.

It is suitable for many foods, from meat to vegetables. It is a method widely used in collective catering and by great chefs that is now entering home kitchens.

 The vacuum-packed technique of food preserves the nutritional and organoleptic properties of the food unaltered. The organoleptic properties are those properties that a food has and which are perceptible through the sense organs. Cooking determines changes in the organoleptic properties of the food, therefore taste, color, consistency and aroma vary independently and in relation to the cooking system adopted.

By avoiding oxidation, the "life" of the food will be longer and every nuance of its flavor will be preserved. But how is all this possible?

 Vacuum packing, as the word itself says, is a technique consisting of creating a vacuum around the food we want to preserve. By vacuum we mean the complete extraction from the inside of the storage envelope of the air contained, and therefore also of the oxygen.

In fact, the latter is responsible for the deterioration of food, oxidation and the proliferation of bacteria over time. Using a machine equipped with this function, “vacuum packing food” will prevent the food contained in the bag from quickly rotting, degrading or having unpleasant and sudden changes in taste and flavor.

Foods preserved through proper vacuum packing also last up to 5-6 times longer.

 How low temperature cooking works - The phases

Low temperature cooking consists of 3 phases:

 1) preparation of the bag:

sealing the food in special plastic bags for vacuum packing. At this stage it add salt, spices and flavorings to the bag.

 2) cooking:

Once the set temperature is reached (between 50 and 70 degrees),  the sealed bag  is completely immersed cook for the necessary time. It is important that the degrees remain fixed throughout the cooking cycle. Since the temperature is very low, cooking times are longer than traditional methods.

 3) the finish:

browning of the cooked food, in the oven or pan.

 Usually the foods that are best suited are fish fillets or steaks, cuts of meat, many types of fruit and vegetables already cleaned and cut, whole eggs.

 The advantages of low-temperature cooking in meat and fish

 What is observed in meat and fish is a slow and delicate cooking of muscle fibers: by maintaining the temperature between 60-85 °C the connective tissue, composed mainly of collagen, manages to dissolve, in favor of the tenderness of the meat, while at the same time the muscle proteins are not "stressed" by excessive temperature changes and retain juices and nutrients inside them.

 Fruits and vegetables

Cooking at low temperatures reduces the loss of vitamins and minerals.

The nutritional advantages are remarkable especially for those microelements such as water-soluble vitamins and minerals that are often lost in the cooking water or deteriorated by high temperatures.

Here it is mainly fruits and vegetables that take advantage of it, achieving results similar to steaming.

 With cooking at low temperatures, the amount of salt and seasonings is reduced.

The amount of salt and seasonings added is optimized at best and reduced by 50-70% compared to cooking in a pan or in the oven, with gains in digestibility and health.

Furthermore, after cooking the food must be cooled as quickly as possible and if not consumed immediately, stored in the refrigerator.

Below a  short summary of all the benefits of vacuum cooking at low temperature cooking:

 - Increased protein digestibility

 - Inactivation of anti-nutritional factors present in raw food

 - Lowering of the microbial load

 - Increased carotenoid bioavailability

 - Increased iron bioavailability 50-70% less fatty toppings

 - Reduced use of salt with the use of marinades with aromatic herbs

 - Preservation of minerals and water-soluble vitamins

 - Sensory benefits, tenderness and succulence of meat

Another  positive aspect of vacuum at low temperature cooking is the “Food safety”.

The vacuum storage, having an hermetic closure (until new opening) of the bag, allows to cram many foods on the refrigerator shelves that will never come into contact with each other.

For those with allergies or intolerances, this is a significant advantage in terms of food safety.

Not only that, a food that is vacuum-sealed will not even come into contact with any other food in an advanced stage of deterioration.

 If you want to know more and try it go to the site:

https://smokeenbbq.nl/groente/

or become a member of the FaceBook group Smoke&BBQ.

 


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