The eating habits of the society have changed with the importance of time, and the individuals have been directed to feed with the foods prepared more easily and quickly. On the one hand, as the consumption habits change, the increasing awareness of the consumers with the developing technology has prompted the desire to consume the food products which are prepared quickly and easily by the people. But the food items are not lost and the compounds which are not harmful to health by advanced processes are consumed. To meet consumer expectations, sous-vide is a technology that finds application in both home and catering sector. Food industry is also adopting this technology.
The Sous vide method has been reported to provide reliable, durable and quality products that are served to this purpose by providing heat treatment applied to the vacuum packaged product and thus enabling the food to be preserved for a long time without losing its freshness and being easily heated and consumed if desired by the consumer. Sous-Vide technology is a result of consumer demand for fresh and good quality food.
Sous vide packaged foods or ingredients are defined as baking under control by applying raw food or raw material to the raw food in a package and vacuuming after applying certain temperature/time. The French word “sous vide” is used in the sense of “under vacuum” and is defined as a cooking technique applied to raw or half-cooked food (Schellekens,1996). Sous vide is described as one of the subcategories of low-oxygen packaging technology in a separate chapter from the vacuum packaging technique. Because the vacuum packaging process is only one of the production steps of the sous vide technology. Therefore, sous vide is defined as vacuum cooking technique, unlike vacuum packaging. According to Sous vide history, it is known that this technique has been preferred to other cooking methods by the chefs since the 1970’s due to their different advantages. As food’s advantages over storage time and increased sensory quality began to come to the forefront, it began to be shown as one of the alternative cooking techniques planned for use in mass consumption places after 2000’s.
The Sous vide technology is adopted in many food sectors, vegetables, meat and fish. BeefyGreen applies the Sous vide technique for pasteurizing of oyster mushrooms.
Sous Vide Technology Process Stages
Cooking with Sous vide technology is separated from cooking in a traditional way. The first is the raw product heated in a heat-resistant, vacuum-packed plastic bag into which food can be placed; and the second is that the cooking process is carried out at precisely controlled temperatures and times.
Since food is cooked in a vacuum package with sous vide technology, which is a kind of pasteurization process, the temperature is uniformly distributed throughout the food during cooking, so that the temperature distribution in the conventional cooking method is not observed in the sous vide cooking of foods.
When cooking with Sous vide technology, the food is put into heat-resistant plastic bags and vacuumed to close the mouth. The vacuumed bag is cooked according to the appropriate temperature-time parameters by placing it in the cooking chamber which can control the temperature and water circulation in it. At the end of cooking, the product is removed from the water and served directly or cooled down and stored for later use in food preparations.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Sous Vide Technology
Advantages of Sous vide application
- The ability to apply foodstuffs that are stored cold and susceptible to degradation, such as poultry, fish and mushrooms.
- Preventing the moisture that may be formed in the packaging due to conventional packaging.
- It is ensured that fresh water and volatile aromatic components remain in the product.
- It is a method that can be applied in a short time with little work force or specific food knowledge.
- If the customer is ready for service in a short time and easily when requested.
- It is possible to make the food more attractive by adding various ingredients such as garlic and oil.
- Prevents oxidative reactions leading to bad smell and taste in the food.
- By means of vacuum packaging, it is possible to prevent the activities of aerobic microorganisms.
- Extending the shelf life to produce products in terms of producers and sellers in terms of economic and consumer.
- It is preferred in hospitals, schools, factories and restaurants due to the preservation of nutrient composition of the foods applied and the fast Serviceability.
- Thanks to the fact that it is applicable to meat, poultry, vegetables as well as many other foods, it is possible to provide a wide range of menu facilities for collective service units such as restaurants, hotels and factories.
- Transfer of heat from the water to the product efficiently, and the product is exposed to a homogenous heat, so that it is at the same temperature from the center to the center, which is very close to the characteristics of the fresh product and provides extra moist and crispy product than the traditional baking.
- It is possible to store rafts for a longer time while saving money from the place and work force.
- Serving innovations in the catering sector, depending on quality and shelf life.
- The producers in the industry are strengthening the market competition.
The disadvantages and risks that the Sous vide method can bring are:
- The pre-processing time is long.
- The additional cost of operating the equipment and packaging films used in vacuum packaging and pasteurization applications.
- The necessity of making a tight cold chain.
Sous vide food processing confers numerous advantages with regards to the quality of the final products, primarily the preservation of nutritional ingredients in foods, and the excellent sensory characteristics such as well-preserved colours, rich flavours, and intense tastes. Sous vide satisfies, to a significant extent, the demands of consumers who are searching for quality, nutritionally valuable food with sensory properties similar to those of raw food. As regards safety of sous vide food, special attention should be paid to choice of raw ingredients, continual control of processing (temperature/time regime), temperature control during storage and proper determination of shelf-life of the final product.
As a modern food preparation technique, sous vide provides opportunities for restaurants and food industries to expand their product base and, thus, achieve greater profits and become more competitive on the market. By applying well-designed marketing, sous vide processing should help food manufacturers gain consumers who are interested in healthy diets and new food experiences.