I like to cook things (fish, white meats, fruits, vegetables) with a little flavored liquid. But I can’t afford to buy a vacuum packer chamber so I have devised a method that allows me to vacuum pack things with a little liquid. I take the fresh product and season it with what I would like as my choice and then I freeze it all together. Once frozen, I then vacuum pack it with my home machine . When I am ready to sous vide, I take out the frozen bag and let it defrost in the fridge and then put it into the water bath. So far it has worked and food comes out tasting just fine. Does this sound safe food wise?
Sometimes I just put the frozen vacuum packed bag in the water bath and add about a half an hour to the cooking time. This seems to work as well.
But I’m a little concerned about safety. Are there any thoughts on this from anybody?
Yes, it is safe to use frozen flavourful liquid to cook with your product. Anything that you pull out of this flavourful liquid would really be considered poached rather than cooked sous vide, but that’s just semantics.
Cooking vacuum packed items direct from frozen is also fine, provided you are certain that the plastic on the frozen item is suitable for heat processing and that the seal is reliable.
From a food safety perspective, cooking from frozen is perfectly acceptable. The aim is that the food item should spend a minimal amount of time within the danger zone (4-54C/39-130F).
I continue to be amazed at how often food safety is a topic of concern to members of this community. Just an observation, not a criticism.
You’re doing just fine with your technique. Delicate foods face a little adversely being subjected to the freeze-thaw cycle, but if your outcomes are as acceptable as you say, carry on. Continue to use your best judgement and your food will be safe.
When I want to cook something this way I freeze the sauce separate from the meat. I normally make too much sauce for a single cook and use zip lock bags to freeze portions. I end up making a lot of tomato based sauce after the final harvest each Fall and freeing serving sized portions works great.
Main, if you are doing it in any volume, try using a muffin tin lined with parchment or plastic wrap to freeze liquids.
Chef’s trick: wet the parchment to get it to stick inside the cups.
Freeze the liquids, then pop them into freezer bags and vacuum seal for extended frozen storage. Don’t forget to date and label each bag. After awhile the frosty bags all look the same. You can place one of those frozen pucks in the bag with your food item just before sealing. Leave some slack in the bag before sealing so you can get all the air out.
I recently went to an alleged 4-star restaurant with friends (they made the choice). I ordered their “Chef’s Special Ultimate Crab Cakes”, but was served some kind of fish cake and sent it back via the mortified server after asking, “How could this happen?” She returned and told me the cook told her, “They all look the same.”
That’s scary, i wonder how they stay in business?