What Really Happens If You Sous Vide Your Food For Too Long?

From pasta to basic burgers or baking, it's easy to overcook foods using certain methods. Overcooking pasta is one of the most common bad habits people have when cooking, making it mushy in consistency. Hungry Harriet notes that some of the most common mistakes that lead to overcooking are "cooking on too high a heat," "vision and eyesight problems," and "fear of undercooking" or food poisoning. And while these are valid fears, they tend to make food less than enjoyable and achieve the opposite of what you're looking for in a meal. 

Now, a method that is rising in popularity, may be the solution to that. It's called sous vide, and Food & Wine explains that sous vide is a French method of cooking that takes place in a "temperature controlled water bath." It provides "the benefit of cooking at a specific and consistent temperature," nearly always ensuring a perfect meal. According to Bon Appétit, this is achieved by "sealing food in an airtight container—usually a vacuum sealed bag", true to its name, which translates to "under vaccuum." But what if you leave your food in sous vide for too long?

It's not as simple or foolproof as it seems

If you ask Sous Vide Tool's team, while you can't exactly overcook them in the common sense of the word, you can definitely leave your food in too long and create a pasta-like mushiness. They also stress that the food continues to cook once removed from the water bath, so if you're not unsealing the bags right away, an ice water bath shock is essential to stopping the cooking process and "killing off some of the bacteria that cooking at high heats would normally remove."

Another common sous vide cooking mistake is not cooking foods of various fat levels at the right time and temperatures, which could let water in and ruin your food, letting water evaporate, and even, you guessed it, overcooking, especially if you sear your meat after cooking. So, while sous vide's method certainly makes cooking more hands off and easily timed, its definitely still one to keep an eye on and put in the work to master.