Before you try out your brand new sous vide machine, you have to make sure you have the necessary materials to do so. There are few bigger letdowns than researching a recipe, acquiring all of the ingredients you need, and then realizing you’re missing an essential piece of equipment.
While a large stovetop pot may fit your immersion circulator, steel pots are not the most efficient temperature insulators, according to Serious Eats, and temperature insulation is the most important factor of sous vide cooking. A large, at least 8-quart plastic container is best for regulating your water temperature as well as providing enough room when cooking for a larger number of people.
Many sous vide recipes call for long cooking times. Therefore, you’ll need the right type of bags to work with, ones with a secure enough seal that will last, like zipper lock freezer bags. This said, the most effective way to seal your ingredients is to use a vacuum sealer. They are certainly a monetary investment, but their quality, consistency, and longevity make it one worthwhile.
Once you submerge your sealed bag of whatever you’re cooking, it is imperative for it to stay completely under water for the entirety of the cooking time. Per Serious Eats, this can be ensured using binder clips attaching the bag to the side of the container, or by placing several ping pong balls on top of the bag keeping it from resurfacing, a method that also helps minimize evaporation.