Gastrovac sucks your food -- Boing Boing Gadgets

Our Joel on Boing Boing Gadgets found this PopSci piece on serious "pro" kitchen gadgets used by the molecular gastronomy crowd. I'm fascinated by the Gastrovac, which sucks the moisture out of food so it sponges up all the wine/marinade when the vacuum seal is broken; I once had some beef prepared this way and it was incredible.
Think of the Gastrovac as a crock pot, vacuum pump and heating plate in one. Suspend your food--pear slices, for example--in a basket above a flavorful liquid, such as wine broth. Seal the machine, and hit a button to turn the cooking chamber into a vacuum. The low-pressure environment pulls all the air out of the food, compressing it like a squished sponge. Near the end of their cooking, drop the pears into the broth and restore the pressure. The liquid rushes into the cells, infusing the fruit with an intense wine flavor. And no oxygen means no oxidation--so instead of turning brown, fruit comes out as brightly colored as it was when first sliced.
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  1. “The Smoking Gun” looks like half the components were sourced from the local head shop. “Smokehouse flavor,” indeed…

  2. I want beer infused steak, and i want it salted with the tears of joy i’d shed eating something that awesome.

  3. As someone who’s kinda into his molecular gastronomy, I so want one. Unfortunately, the price is a little steep ($3,000).

    Still, it’s my understanding that you can start playing with sous-vide cooking techniques with a lot less cash – I was pricing hand vacuum pumps when I stopped for a BoingBoing break and saw this.

    (A hand vacuum pump costs about £54.)

    Sounds like a great Make article, actually, if I don’t misunderstand the purpose of the magazine – how to do sous-vide cooking on the cheap.

    The other funky MolGast gadget is a lot cheaper – a regulated water bath. I’ve seen them for as little as £150 new, and there are absolutely hundreds of interesting things you can do with them. F’r example, you can reliably cook a soft-boiled egg perfectly, every time, by cooking it between 62 and 68 degrees Centigrade – one of the proteins in the white solidifies at 62, but the yolk doesn’t coagulate until 68.

  4. While this is a neat idea, it certainly does nothing for the nutrition of the food, especially fruits and veggies. Most all of the nutrients in food is in the water content of it. That’s why the longer or hotter you cook veggies, the less nutritious that veggie is because the water content is being cooked out of it. Click on my site link to discuss this further.

  5. It’s the opposite of a pressure cooker.

    Stunts with pears are all very well, but for years I’ve wanted a vacuum cooker so I could reduce juices and sauces without heating them.

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