What are Sous Vide Balls?
Sous vide balls also known as sous vide water balls, are plastic balls that float on top of your sous vide water container and insulate the surface of your water bath. They come in different sizes and are made of varying qualities of plastic. Sous vide balls tend to come in packs of between 250 and 300 balls (which would make any ping pong player jealous!). They are a fairly new sous vide cooking accessory in the sous vide cooking space. Here we explore what sous vide water balls will add to your sous vide cooking experience.
What do sous vide water balls do?
When used together, sous vide balls act as an insulator or a blanket that lies over the top of whatever kitchen pot, container or water vessel you are using for your sous vide cooking. Here is a simple diagram of the process involved to use them:
And here is why sous vide water balls are becoming a popular sous vide accessory:
A useful alternative to a tight fitting sous vide lid
Many people use sous vide water balls as an alternative to a lid for the kitchen pots or containers they use for their sous vide cooking. This is because lids that fit tightly over your pot or container are sometimes hard to find. Sous vide water balls leave no gaps over the top of your pot or container. This keeps steam and heat in. And there is another advantage too – sous vide water balls can be used with different water vessel sizes. They will simply fall into place over any shape or size of water bath.
Help to minimize water evaporation
Adding a layer of sous vide water balls over your water bath forms an instant heat blanket. That means water cannot evaporate from your water bath easily. In turn that means you don’t need to worry about refilling your water bath (during the day or night!). And that, fellow sous viders, makes sous vide balls very beneficial.
With rising utility bills, a 48 hour sous vide cook might make your guests deliciously full, but your pockets empty. Sous vide cooking gets a pretty bad wrap when it comes to electricity use. Using sous vide balls minimizes heat loss from your sous vide water bath. This equates to a lower electricity bill for you.
Maintain a consistent temperature
Sous vide water balls ensure that your water bath doesn’t experience temperature fluctuations. By adding the sous vide water balls to the top of your water bath, your sous vide cooker/immersion circulator doesn’t work any harder than it needs to. And the consistency of temperature means that your sous vide ingredients will cook evenly too.
Provide easy access to food while you are cooking
Generally speaking home cooks use foil, plastic lids and plastic wraps to cover their water baths when doing a sous vide cook. Using sous vide water balls means you can do away with less effective covers. And you then have very easy access to your food. Clever!
5 things to look for when you buy sous vide water balls
- Look for sous vide water balls that are made with BPA free plastic and contain no air holes (air holes will make the balls sink)
- Consider the quantity and size of the sous vide water balls; you need to make sure that the water balls will cover whatever water bath container you are going to use
- A small diameter is best. The larger the diameter of each water ball, the larger the gap between the balls which leaves more room for water to evaporate and for energy to be lost
- Look for the inclusion of a mesh bag. Having a mesh bag means you can dry and store your sous vide water balls easily between uses
- See if the company is offering any sort of money back guarantee just in case the sous vide water balls don’t meet your expectations
There are many sous vide water ball products to choose from. Here are our top 3 sous vide water ball picks:
Alternatives to sous vide water balls
If sous vide balls don’t look to be your thing, you have lots of other options for covering your sous vide water bath. You can use cling wrap, foil and even towels to cover the top of your water bath. There is a sous vide specific pot with lid on the market from Tuxton Home that you might like to consider. It is difficult to rate the performance of this pot given it is a new product on the market. Stay tuned for updates as the reviewer feedback on the Tuxton Home pot and lid builds.
We know that many of you use larger polycarbonate containers for your sous vide cooking. If over 200 bouncing balls in your kitchen doesn’t sound like fun to you, you could consider a lid for your sous vide water bath. There are some designs on the market with tailored cut outs for specific immersion circulator. Now that’s convenient. If that sounds like something that might float your boat, check out our article Sous Vide Lid Options for more details.
So there you have it sous viders. We think that sous vide balls are a fairly nifty invention. They are really beneficial for those who cook in regular kitchen pots but also for those sous vide cooks who use a range of different water container sizes for their sous vide cooking.
There is no doubt that sous vide water balls address a couple of the most common sous vide cooking problems – water loss and evaporation and heat loss from your water bath.
Check out a range of other sous vide accessories by clicking here.
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