Sous vide is a cooking technique that involves preparing food in a water bath. The process centers on putting the food in a sealed plastic bag which is then placed in a water bath. The temperature of the water is controlled precisely so that even heat distribution ensures thorough cooking.
This method offers an immense amount of control over whatever it is that you are trying to cook. As opposed to fast cooking methods like grilling, pan frying or stove top cooking, sous vide is a rather slow cooking process. But at the same time, it removes all the guesswork that comes with traditional cooking methods.
With sous vide cooking, you know exactly how long food preparation takes without having to check repeatedly for temperature requirements. The water bath maintains a constant temperature and you can go about your other tasks without the worry of overcooking or leaving the food underdone.
What is the purpose of sous vide weights?
When cooking sous vide style, it is important that sous vide bags don’t float in the water. Should this happen, it will result in the food being undercooked and you won’t get the result you want. Another consideration is that with the bag floating at or above water level, the food inside won’t be exposed to the proper temperature. This can potentially lead to bacterial growth and unsafe conditions.
This is where sous vide weights step in and save the day by making sure that the bags remain submerged and do not float. While many home cooks use kitchen utensils like butter knives, pie weight, coins, or even marbles to weigh down the bags, there are specialty weights engineered exclusively for sous weight cooking.
For the most part, these are larger in size and shaped to stay atop the food item. Others are meant to be placed the bottom of the bag and weight it down from there.
The idea of using the weights is pretty basic. You use these to weight down the bag and prevent it from floating. The floating itself can happen from an excess of air in the bag or sometimes the food being cooked is buoyant.
How to use Sous vide weights?
Using sous vide weights isn’t a very technical process. All you have to do is place the weights in the sous vide bags before sealing it. In case you plan on freezing the items, you can still put the weight inside the bag before you seal it. The only thing you will then have to do is simply take it out of the freezer and place it in the water bath.
However, the one thing that you need to keep in mind is where you put the weight inside the bag. You obviously want to counter the buoyancy of the air or food in the bag so place your weight on top of the food.
This will work for most foods well but not for those that have buoyancy. For these foods, you may need to place he weight in between the foods. Just remember that the correct placement will impact the effectiveness of the cooking.
While most weights are made from food grade materials, if you are concerned about leaching, simply place the weight in a separate bag and then put it in the sous vide bag along with your food. You could also do the same by placing the weight first in the bag and then the food on top.
Sealing the weights separately will also ensure that no flavor gets transferred between items.
Advantages of sous vide weights
- Quick and easy to use
Using weights isn’t very hard and the concept works well. Plus, when compared with other sous vide accessories such as racks, weights are much more cost effective and offer the same function.
- Take less space
Sous vide racks occupy more space and may not be suitable for smaller sized cooking devices. Weights, on the other hand, don’t occupy a lot of space and are easy to store. In addition, sous vide weights are easier to fit in larger bags and don’t limit the water flow.
- Easier cleanup
Weights are low maintenance accessories and easy to clean. If you seal them separately, it further makes the cleanup process easy.
Disadvantages of sous vide weights
- May not always remain stable
There may be occasions where the weights don’t provide adequate stability. At times the weight may drop towards the bottom of the bag but still not prevent the items from floating.
- Numerous weights may be required
In case you plan to freeze numerous bags then you will need multiple weights. You will need to make sure you have enough weights to go around.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the best products in this category:
These weights by SO-VIDA will keep your bags submerged and reduce any associated food risks.
The SO0VIDA weights have a cylindrical design which guarantees higher water flow making sure that food is cooked evenly. The patent pending design is made using a stainless steel core that combined with a food-safe silicone shell makes sure that there is no impact on the taste.
This design feature also allows these weight to be used in any type of container. The size is small and compact, yet heavy enough to keep the sous vide bag well submerged.
These weights are easy to clean and do not take up a lot of storage space. They are also cheap as compared to the racks.
Talking specifically about the features, each piece weighs 5oz. A single weight is enough to fulfill the need of sous vide bag but multiple can be used for large sous vide bags.
The weights come in a packing of 3 and are dishwasher safe. Make your sous vide cooking exceptional by getting your hands on these must-have tools.
Customers who have used the product have stated that these weights are perfect. The use of these weights effectively solves the problem of floating bags. The weights are compact, easy to use and easy to clean. Customers have appreciated the silicone used as it makes cleaning easier.
You can get this set of 3 weights within a price range of $25- $30.
- Easy to clean
- Silicone shell
- Stainless steel core
- Easy to handle
- Comes in a pack of 3
- Weights may soak up the smell of food
- Cylindrical shape means storage in upright position- or weight will roll over
- Pricier than other similar products
Say no to floating bags in sous vide cooking with these weights by Depp. Become a master of cooking by using these weights and keeping the bags in place. You won’t face the problem of undercooked food as these weights will keep the food well submerged.
Each piece weighs 6.2 oz and is weighty enough to make the sous vide bag stay under water for a long period. The product is made using food grade stainless steel and consists of an FDA approved silicone shell that eliminates the risk of food contamination.
The size of the weights is small which means that they can easily be stored anywhere. Cleanup and maintenance of the weights isn’t a very difficult process either.
The design is non slippery which means that these will keep in place well. The same feature will also prevent the weight from rolling over while washing or when kept in storage.
The weights are available in a packing of 2 or 4. Occasionally, the company holds promotions allowing you to purchase the product at a discount.
Customers who have purchased this product have stated that it is one of the best options available in the market. They aren’t very lightweight which means that they will hold heavier items. They have further added that the product is easy to use and a must have for all ardent sous vide cooks.
This item comes with a 100% money back guarantee. The company has also provided tips regarding the use of these weights. Some tips include that they should be cleaned before use, should be kept away from a fire, should not be given to children and kept away from sharp objects.
You can purchase this item within a reasonable price range of about $16- $20.
- Keeps sous vide bags under water
- Saves money, one size fits all
- FDA approved
- Easy to clean
- Dishwasher safe
- Size may be too small for some
These weights are suitable for every type of sous vide cooking container. These Jujupanda weights are made using a pure natural stone that comes in a variety of trace elements.
This special feature means that the taste of the food will not be affected and there won’t be any harm to human health either.
The cylindrical design ensures that maximum water flow reaches the food without any abstraction. The weights are smooth and polished by hand.
Every weight weighs almost 5 ounces and is enough to keep the sous vide bag well submerged in water. But for larger potions, you can use multiple weights.
Jujupanda offers this product in a packing of either 2 or 4 weights.
If you are not satisfied with the purchase for any reason, the company also provides a money back guarantee.
Customers who have used the product have described their experience to be satisfying. They have said that when it comes to weighing down the products, the weights work well.
This is one of the more economical options for sous vide weights ranging anywhere between $11 and $15.
- Easy to clean
- Made using high density Himalayan stone
- Does not compromise or alter the taste of food
- Available in a packing of 2 or 4
- Dishwasher safe
- Money back guarantee
- Poor packaging
A slightly different way to weigh down your sous vide bag is by using magnets. This concept works by pinning the bag to the container wall and allotting maximum cooking space in the container.
The magnet is suitable for use on almost all types of containers including aluminum, stainless steel, copper and polycarbonate. The outer construction is from food grade silicone making it safe for cooking purposes.
This magnet itself doesn’t take a lot of space and you can stick it on the fridge when not in use. It is a strong magnet that won’t demagnetise easily and won’t scratch your container as other clips might. Push down your floating sous vide bags and keep them submerged with this magnet weight.
Customers who have used the product describe it to be small and soft but despite being lightweight it gets the job done perfectly. They have added that the magnet works well and does a great job of assisting in sous vide cooking by keeping the heavier items down and submerged.
This pack of 8 magnets is available for a reasonable price around the $15 or so mark.
- Comes in a pack of 8 magnets
- Doesn’t take up space
- Works well on most containers
- Size may be small to hold larger food portions
- May leave a white residue after use
Since floating bags seem to be the most frustrating concern for many sous vide home cooks, these weight options can help solve this dilemma.
You can also try removing the air completely from the cooking bags, but not everyone can afford a vacuum sealer. So if you are on a budget, you can go with these weight options to make sure that your food stays submerged and gets cooked properly.