Sous vide safety & food preparation

The sous vide method of cooking is simple and produces delicious results. Chefs love sous vide because it allows them to experiment with different times and temperatures, and achieve different tastes and textures.

Provided you follow times and temperature guidelines, basic food hygiene practices, and use fresh ingredients, there is no higher risk cooking sous vide than using other cooking methods.

Basic hygiene

sous-vide-hygieneAfter calculating the precise temperature and cooking time needed to cook your sous vide food safely, the only risks associated with cooking are the same as with traditional methods – controlled and hygienic preparation, handling, cooling and storage.

It’s safe to cook sous vide, but as in all food preparation you must follow basic hygiene rules.

  • Ensure you use fresh, great quality ingredients
  • Always prepare your foods on a hygienic, clean work surface
  • Wash hands and utensils before, during and after the food preparation process
  • Use separate chopping boards for raw meats, vegetables and cooked items
  • Refrigerate cooked food items under 5℃

Getting started

Cooking sous vide is simple, but it’s important to get the preparation right to ensure safe cooking.

  • Use vacuum sealing bags or rolls that are suitable for the purpose – do not use cling film or zip lock bags
  • Fill the water bath with fresh water, and change after use
  • Establish precise cooking times and temperatures according to the weight of the filled pouch
  • Lay the ingredients flat in the pouch before vacuuming
  • Don’t overfill the bags or overload the bath – one cut of meat or slice of fish per bag, with no more than 8-10 portions per Clifton bath. Ensure food items do not overlap during the cooking process

Cooking

Safety when cooking sous videUsing a Clifton water bath is easy and comes with a step by step guide to the cooking process.

  • Never start cooking your food items until the Clifton water bath has reached the required temperature
  • Always ensure you complete the full cooking time required for the item
  • You can use a suitable food probe to test the core temperature of the food if required
  • It’s possible to leave food items in the water bath for longer without spoiling the food item
  • Finish off your dish in a hot pan, or use a blowtorch to give a crisp texture and look

Storage

After cooking sous vide, it’s possible to store food for consumption later by bringing down the core temperature as quickly as possible.

  • Food must be rapidly cooled. Keep the food vacuum packed and use an ice bath (half ice, half water) to bring the temperature down quickly
  • Label food correctly with ingredients and date prepared/cooked
  • Sous vide cooked dishes have a prolonged shelf life in a fridge

Regeneration

sous vide regeneration and re-heatingRegeneration is the process of reheating and serving sous vide food that has been stored in the fridge. For consistent and safe results, it’s best to use the water bath to bring the food back up to serving temperature.

  • Regenerate at a lower temperature than the item was originally cooked at, so the cooking process does not continue. This can be typically 5℃ lower than the original cooking temperature.
  • With chilled food, the time needed to reheat the dish is only as long as a typical weight of the same type of food. Frozen food must be defrosted before reheating in the Clifton water bath.
  • Sear reheated sous vide food quickly, so as not to raise the core temperature of the food which may overcook it.

By following the guidelines set out on this page, you will be able to enjoy the amazing tastes and textures of sous vide food. Find out more about cooking times and temperatures for sous vide food.