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When it comes to using sous vide to cook food, there's one aspect that is often overlooked: sous vide vegetables and fruits. There's a lot of talk about steak, chicken and other meat but many people ignore the vegetables at first. While I do think sous vide has the biggest benefits with meat, it does make some dang tasty vegetables that some people swear by!
In our previous lesson on how to determine sous vide temperatures we discussed how temperature affects meat. Vegetables have a similar concept, but their temperature range is much smaller.
Most vegetables are held together with pectin and pectin only begins to break down above 180°F to 183°F (82.2°C to 83.9°C). This means almost all vegetables are cooked at least at 183°F (83.9°C). Hotter temperatures will cook the vegetables more quickly, but basically will have the same texture at the end.
The normal cook time for sous vide fruits and vegetables is generally between 25 and 90 minutes, with the tougher vegetables taking longer. The longer they cook, the more tender they will get.
There is so much variety in fruits and vegetables, so be aware that all cooking times will be estimates. For example, a late-season, ripe Bosc pear will cook much faster than an early-season, slightly underripe one.
When bagging your fruits and vegetables, make sure they are in a single layer in the bag to ensure even cooking. They also tend to release more gas than meat does so you will need to check occasionally to make sure your bags are not floating. You may need to use a sous vide rack or weight the bags down to keep them underwater.
Here are some of my favorite fruit and vegetables recipes.
Hopefully now you have a few ideas of how you can enjoy cooking vegetables with sous vide.
In this lesson we discussed using sous vide to cook vegetables.
Do you know anyone that is struggling with sous vide and would find this information helpful? Why not do them a favor and send them a link to this Exploring Sous Vide email course or get them a printed version of this course!
Thanks again and happy cooking!
Jason Logsdon, Amazing Food Made Easy