If you love cooking the sous vide way, you might be in search of strategies to make it even better, and you’ve likely come across sous vide water balls during your research. Should you bother using these? What are the benefits of incorporating the use of water balls? We’ve got you covered with some helpful information below.
Water Balls Help Insulate and Prevent Evaporation
When you don’t have a cover for your water bath, it can take a while for the water to reach the temperature that you set, and it can also be more difficult for your sous vide machine to maintain that temperature throughout the cooking time. With sous vide water balls, you can create more insulation to help hit the right temperature, and keep it there, more efficiently.
Less heat is lost with the help of water balls, but they can also prevent the loss of water through evaporation as well. If you’re cooking ingredients for an extended period of time, you know how annoying it can be when you notice the water level dropping. With water balls in place, you can reduce a lot of that evaporation, which means you don’t need to worry about adding more water to the bath and affecting the temperature as a result.
When Using Water Balls Can Help Keep Things Simple
If you’re planning on preparing a recipe that will take a long time to cook, it’s a good idea to use water balls to help prevent evaporation. This will allow you to fully take advantage of the benefits of sous vide, which include being able to set it up and walk away until dinner is ready. You won’t have to worry about the water level dropping to the point that your sous vide machine turns off for safety. The ingredients will cook uninterrupted, just like they were meant to.
Also, if you are accustomed to using things like plastic wrap, foil, or a plastic lid over your water bath to trap the heat and prevent evaporation, you will probably find that using water balls is a lot easier. All you have to do is place them in the water to let them float at the top. Provided that you’re using enough balls, they will cover the entire surface of the water, regardless of the size or shape of the pot or container that you’re using to cook sous vide. Plus, unlike plastic wrap or aluminum foil that you have to throw away after every use, you can buy the water balls once and then use them again and again.
When Water Balls Might Not Be Necessary
Overall, if you’re cooking a recipe that requires a higher temperature or a longer cook time, sous vide water balls can come in handy. But they aren’t always necessary.
For example, if you are preparing a recipe that doesn’t take that long, and you don’t need to worry about evaporation as a result, you may not need to use water balls. It might still be a good way to ensure efficiency and save energy, but the benefits might not be as great as they would be if the cook time were much longer.
Also, if you are using one of the many high-quality sous vide ovens that are available, you already have a lid, so you don’t need to worry about making one yourself with water balls, plastic wrap, or foil.
Give Them a Try to See How You Like Them!
Using water balls can be a smart way to take full advantage of the perks of sous vide. They can help prevent evaporation, help maintain the right water temperature so your machine doesn’t have to work as hard, and even help prevent excess steam from getting on your immersion circulator. Plus, when you’re done using them, you can simply remove them from the water, dry them, and store them for next time, so there’s no cleanup needed either.
Final note: while you can try ping-pong balls and get good results with them, there are also water balls sold specifically for sous vide enthusiasts, so you might want to invest in them and add them to your toolkit for preparing amazing home-cooked meals.