12 Different Uses for Sous Vide Cookers
What if I told you that you can use your sous vide immersion circulator to make yourself a foot bath? Would you believe me?
Here I’ll highlight many different uses for sous vide machines, most of which you probably haven’t heard of!
This will include uses that don’t involve cooking food at all, and also some cool, lesser known things you can cook sous vide.
Surprising Non-cooking Related Uses for Sous Vide
There are a lot of these, and I was surprised to find them in my research. Let’s take a look.
Sous Vide Foot Bath
The idea of a sous vide foot bath is definitely unexpected, but people have actually done it!
I think the best way to do this while protecting your immersion circulator would be, as silly as it sounds, to bag both of your feet before putting them in the water bath, leaving the tops of the bags open above the water level and using the water displacement method to remove the air.
I wouldn’t add bath salts to the water bath, as salt can build up and damage your immersion circulator. It doesn’t make sense to put them in the bag with your feet either, since they don’t really work without water.
But, you can always rub your feet with some essential oils or lotion before putting them in the bags to create a great, relaxing spa experience for yourself at home.
As far as temperature goes, this is totally up to you, depending on how hot you want it. Something around 92-100°F (33.3-37.8°C) to start seems reasonable.
Though unlikely, I feel like I should point out the chance of electrocuting yourself if something goes wrong with the wiring.
Sous Vide Wine Chiller
A pretty handy trick is to use your immersion circulator to chill wine or even freshly cooked food (so you can store it in the fridge for later use).
Just fill the container with cold water and ice, and set the temperature to the lowest setting (usually around 32°F [0°C]). Water that is circulating chills quicker, so combined with the ice water, you can chill your wine bottles or cooked food pretty fast. Just like that, you have your own sous vide wine chiller!
Sous Vide Bottle Warmer
Opposite to chilling, you can also use your immersion circulator as a sous vide bottle warmer. You can use it to warm pretty much anything in a bottle that should or can be enjoyed warm, like sake or even breast milk.
You can also warm bottles of honey to make the honey usable again. When honey sits on your shelf for a while, it crystallizes and basically solidifies, so you can’t spoon it, pour it out of the jar, or spread it. You can use your immersion circulator to reheat it to the perfect temperature that’s not too hot, so you can actually use it.
After doing some research, a good temperature many people use for decrystallizing honey is 110-120°F (43.3-48.9°C).
Photo and Film Developing
When developing photos and film by hand, you have to use water that’s at a very specific and consistent temperature for the developing chemical agents to work in processing the film or photo.
Many photographers use an immersion circulator because it’s perfect for keeping the water at the exact temperature they need. Sound familiar?
Any dough with yeast in it needs to be proofed. This is the step in yeast bread or sourdough making where you allow the dough to rest and rise at a warm temperature before you bake it.
To proof dough using your immersion circulator, you can put the dough in a bowl that sits on a rack or on top of some mason jars inside the sous vide container. The container should be filled up to a point where the dough is below the water level but the water isn’t spilling into the bowl.
Recommended temperatures vary for proofing dough with your sous vide but are generally in the 80-110°F (26.7-43.3°C) range.
Alternative Sous Vide Cooking Ideas
Infused Alcohol and Syrups
Infusing alcohol and syrups with your favorite herbs, fruits, or botanicals is a process that takes days or even weeks.
If you’re familiar with sous vide cooking, you know that it’s a process that intensifies flavors. Using it to infuse alcohol and syrups intensifies the flavors and with the application of heat from a hot water bath, you get those flavors much faster—in hours!
The possibilities for making desserts using sous vide cooking are endless. The best way to make these is using mason jars.
Here are some of my favorite sous vide desserts:
- Dulce de leche
- Bread pudding
- Crème brûlée
- Lemon curd
- Ice cream
You can use your immersion circulator to make cheese! Ricotta cheese is a popular one, but you can also make paneer cheese, cheddar cheese, and more.
For more on making cheese with a sous vide immersion circulator, check out my article here.
You can make yogurt at temperatures higher than you might think using an immersion circulator. What’s great about this method is that, with the precise temperature control with sous vide cooking, you can optimize the culture growth in yogurt to make it faster than you would without a sous vide machine.
Condiments, Dips, and Sauces
You can consistently make extremely flavorful condiments, dips, and sauces with your immersion circulator. This includes chutneys, vinaigrettes, hollandaise, and more!
With an immersion circulator, you can pickle your favorite vegetables much faster and without the strong smell of vinegar. Pickle cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber, celery, whatever you like!
A good temperature for pickling with a sous vide immersion circulator is 190ºF (88ºC) for about 3 hours. In just hours, you can get crunchy, flavorful pickled vegetables that taste as if they’ve been pickled for days or weeks!
You might have known that you can make normal burgers with a sous vide immersion circulator, but you did you ever wonder if you can also sous vide meatless burgers?
The answer is definitely yes. Click here to learn more about sous vide cooking meatless burgers.
As you can see, there are so many unique ways you can use your sous vide immersion circulator. And these uses extend beyond just different things you can cook!
Hopefully, this article inspired you to get creative in your kitchen with your immersion circulator. Now get experimenting!
Photo Credit: dirtsailor2003 on Best Running