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I would like to find "food safe" glass marbles for sous vide cooking. They can be used for keeping bags from floating, to space out ingredients in a bag, or even as "filler" space in a chamber vacuum to get a higher level of vacuum sealing. Even for bags that don't float, the extra weight can keep the bags from moving in the current generated by a immersion circulator with a strong water pump.

Here is an example of using them as a anti-floating weight.

enter image description here

Many "toy" glass marbles are in China or other countries. They may have lead or cadmium or have other dangerous metals or chemicals added -- especially if the glass is colored and even clear glass may be made with chemicals that are not "food safe".

Does anyone know where to purchase glass marbles or beads that are guaranteed to be "food safe"???

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I think I am going to use large "steelie" marbles. To make sure they don't rust, I am going to vacuum seal them individually so they don't rust or if they do, they won't impact any flavor onto the food. – Adisak Sep 30 '11 at 22:03
If all you need is to weight it down, why not just use rocks and twine? And if you do want to put things into the bag with the food, you have a vacuum sealer. Can't you seal the weight first, then toss the sealed weight into the bag? – Megasaur Oct 2 '11 at 9:26
@Megasaur: That's what I meant by my comment of sealing them individually. I don't want to use rocks and twine because I don't want any sort of debris in the water bath -- It's a low possibility but debris that gets taken into the immersion circulator input can end up breaking my $1200 toy. – Adisak Oct 5 '11 at 15:54

I would recommend using Whiskey Stones. They are used in whiskey instead of ice cubes. So they should be heavy, won't rust, and are supposed to be immersed in liquid that you'll consume. I think that probably meets all your criteria.

Whiskey Stones Whiskey Stones

Another alternative is to use a rack. This comes with the Sous Vide Supreme and I find it quite useful for keeping meat submerged. It does however only accommodate certain sizes of meat. It works quite well. You can buy it separately online for $12.

enter image description here

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You can always go with steel pie weights.

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Do you know if they'll rust? I saw ceramic pie weights too but it they are water/oil permeably they may absorb flavors and pass them onto the next sous vide dish.… – Adisak Sep 29 '11 at 23:32
Thats why I didn't recommend the ceramic ones. They're stainless steel, under normal use - they shouldn't. – rfusca Sep 29 '11 at 23:39
I think I am going to use large "steelie" marbles. To make sure they don't rust, I am going to vacuum seal them individually. – Adisak Sep 30 '11 at 22:02
@Adisak: Rust shouldn't be a concern in sous-vide applications, as they won't be coming into contact with air or water. – Aaronut Sep 30 '11 at 22:05
@Aaronut: There's always some water in the vacuum sealed packages. Meats still release some juices in sous vide cooking. – Adisak Oct 5 '11 at 15:53

There are glass marbles that are used by Whisky enthusiasts to keep the amount of air in half-emptied bottles down. They should do your job.

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Do you have a link for these ? – Adisak Oct 5 '11 at 15:57

You could always use binder clips and clip them to the outside of the bag.

If you need more weight you could hook/tie something to the clip.

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These marbles are lead-free and made in USA

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My solution is to use a simple vegetable steamer, as shown here:

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Toss a couple of knives, from your flatware, into the bag. The items pictured (without bones) should not float if you were able to get air out of the bag...not sure why any weight would be necessary in that case. Bones contain air(as do veggies). In this case a weight, rack or clip is helpful.

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Knives (or even forks) may inadvertently pierce the bag. Spoons however, sound like a good idea. – Adisak Aug 20 '13 at 20:00

I just ordered some 1" 304 stainless steel balls from here. They're reasonably priced and I think they will safely get the job done.

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