Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How often do you need to change the water in your Sous Vide machine? Given food never touches the water I don't think I need to change it every time, but it does seem like I should change it once in awhile. Any rules of thumb?

share|improve this question
    
I would suggest changing it when you see particles floating in it, it smells off, or you catch pets drinking or playing in it. –  SAJ14SAJ Apr 2 at 22:42
    
The food may never touch it directly, but how sure are you that the exterior of the bags/vessels are 100% free of any bacteria or other contaminants? –  Aaronut Apr 2 at 23:38
2  
@Aaronut I think the point was that the water couldn't contaminate the food, not that the food couldn't contaminate the water. –  Jefromi Apr 3 at 0:06
    
I think your constraints here come from legionella danger, not from food pathogen danger. Not so sure what the max safe time for standing water is, though; the basic advice is "don't do it". –  rumtscho Apr 3 at 10:03
    
Thanks All. I was just concerned that the heating of the water then cooling may make it more likely to create bacteria. –  Madmanta Apr 3 at 13:38

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The water frequently sits in the danger zone for bacterial growth, and even though it is a sealed bag, fats can migrate through the plastic (not considering contamination to the outside of the bag either from cross contamination or from juices drawn out during vacuuming/sealing).

I would suggest changing the water if:

  1. is looks dirty/cloudy
  2. it smells like anything other than water

Additionally from the PloyScience site:

Occasionally or when a cooking pouch may have leaked, simply replace the water with a vinegar/water solution and run unit at 160°F for 25 minutes to remove any residuals or lime.

So you can probably throw a little vinegar into the water to up the pH and make it more hostile to bacteria (though it will smell up the house when you use it).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.