I’m currently planning for a camping trip in a few weeks, and part of that research includes what we’re going to eat. It’s going to be a lot of meals you can fry up in a cast-iron skillet, or boil in a pot of water, so I’ve been sifting through the Internet (particularly Pinterest) for some clever ideas. One of the most outrageous ideas I’ve seen so far involves omelets…boiled in a plastic bag.
My curiosity was perked, so I did some digging about plastic bag omelets. And wouldn’t you know, this method of boiling food in plastic bags actually has a name. It’s called the sous vide method, and it can be used for all kinds of foods. Yet while it’s convenient (especially if you’re cooking in the middle of the woods), it’s not exactly the safest way to cook an omelet.
What is the sous vide method?
“Sous vide” means “under vacuum” in French, which refers to the food being sealed in a plastic bag under a particular kind of pressure. If you Google “sous vide” you’ll actually have a few machines come up that allow you to cook properly in this fashion. The water bath it comes with is temperature-controlled, allowing for your food to cook in the water at a slower pace. The food can cook either in a plastic bag or a glass jar.
While this method is effective (and many find it delicious), if you’re not careful, there could be a lot of harm to your food, particularly if you cook it in plastic.
Why cooking food in plastic could be dangerous
According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, “Studies have found that certain chemicals in plastic can leach out of the plastic and into the food and beverages we eat. Some of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as metabolic disorders (including obesity) and reduced fertility. This leaching can occur even faster and to a greater degree when plastic is exposed to heat.”
This not only means the food in plastic containers you heat up in the microwave, but also for the bags you use to cook a sous video omelet.
Now it would seem the solution to this would to buy a bag that is BPA free, meaning the plastic wouldn’t have those harmful chemicals attached to it. However, one study shows that even plastic that claims to be BPA-free leached out chemicals such as “estrogenic activity,” meaning the bags had chemicals similar to human estrogen.
Even if this method of cooking an omelet works nicely for those hanging out at a campground, be wary. It’s not the safest way to cook an omelet because of any chemicals that the plastic bags could release. Instead, it may be worth just frying up an omelet in a skillet.
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