If you don’t want to spent thousands of euro on a professional waterbath (Roner) or even a hundred or two on a temperature controller (SousVideMagic) for your ricecooker or crockpot, then this might be something for you too: an electrical canner. The one on the photo
is used to be regularly on sale at Lidl for just 30 to 40 euro.
Okay, it’s not to the 0.1°C precise like a real Roner, but the 3°C or 4°C fluctuation up and down is good enough for me. You don’t have to keep an eye on it and it’s save to leave the house or go to sleep. The only real drawback might be the size, it’s rather big for an average kitchen.
To use it, set the temperature you want and fill it with hot water from the tap, measure the temperature with an external kitchen thermometer and add boiling (or cold) water to reach the desired temperature. Leave it for a bit to see if the temperature is stable and then throw in your vacuum sealed food. Easy as that. I’ve been using it for quite some time now. Not that often, but I’m still pleased with it. This is my latest favorite:
500g white asparagus
3 T (clarified) butter
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
Peel the asparagus and trim 2 cm or more of the ends.
Line the asparagus in a single layer in a bag.
Heads up, towards the opening.
Add butter, salt and sugar.
Seal the bag and cook for 30 minutes at 85°C.
They might seem too crunchy at first sight, but they’re just perfectly soft and tender. Simply serve with boiled egg, ham and the butter it’s cooked in. Or better, make a hollandaise sauce!
PS Thomas Keller uses a splash of milk instead of the butter, but my vacuum sealer can’t handle liquids. I’ll try freezing some milk next time, but I guess when you serve your asparagus with a buttery sauce anyway, it won’t make much difference, butter might even be better.
What equipment do yo use to vacuum?
I use the Silver Vacuum Sealer from Princess (no 492966).
I have no experience with other vacuum sealers so I can’t really recommend it but I think it’s okay. I just get frustrated that you can’t seal wet things as it will keep sucking the liquid out of the bag and not seal it. But I think all home vacuum sealers have that problem. Freezing things first will help, but I don’t like freezing food, just for this silly reason. Best thing is to use dry ingredients and use butter or goose fat instead of oil. Things like that. Or freeze just the liquid ingredients, like the marinade itself.
I bought a Krups vacupack plus (for €3,50) at a second hand store and it works like a charm.