THE VITALOK™ COOKING METHOD
The VITALOK™ cooking method uses lower temperatures and less added water than traditional cooking. This prevents nutrients from breaking down, while retaining more of the water-soluble vitamins and minerals in the foods you cook.
The VITALOK™ cooking method works by creating a moisture seal between the pan and the lid. As steam condenses on the inside of the pan’s lid, water begins to collect between the pan and the lid in an area that we call the ‘set down’.
When the set down area has sufficient water in it and the proper cooking temperature is maintained, it forms a moisture seal. This seal helps prevent moisture escaping from the pan, carrying away nutrients and flavour with it. Instead, it helps to cook the food in a gentle steam vapour.
How to form a VITALOK™ moisture seal
Cover the pan with the correct lid and place on a medium heat.
If you are using a gas cooktop, ensure the flame covers the base of the pan to achieve a medium heat. If the flame extends beyond the base of the pan, reduce the heat.
In approximately 3-5 minutes, vapour will begin to escape from between the pan and lid, with a faint fluttering sound.
You can test whether a VITALOK™ seal has formed by spinning the lid on the pan. If the lid spins freely, it means there is a cushion of moisture between the lid and the pan (the ‘set down’ area).
Once the seal has formed, reduce the heat to low.
If water sputters from between the pan and the lid, or the lid rattles, the heat is too high. Reduce the heat to low or remove the pan from the burner to cool slightly.
Checking Your Food
As lifting the lid will unavoidably break the moisture seal, whenever you check your food you will have to allow the moisture seal to form again before VITALOK™ cooking can begin again. So, try not to check your food too often.
This will save time in the cooking process and also helps to preserve the foods' natural colour, flavour, texture and nutrients.
It is best to check your food by lifting the lid just high enough to insert a fork inside the pan, so that at least some of the moisture is retained and it won’t take as long to recreate the seal once the lid is replaced.
As you gain confidence cooking with the VITALOK™ method, you will learn how quickly foods cook, allowing you to check your food less often.
Sometimes, the heat on a cooktop burner cannot be reduced to sufficiently low temperatures for the VITALOK™ cooking method to work. This is particularly true of gas cooktops, where reducing the flame often results in the flame going out.
A heat diffuser, also known as a flame tamer, is a flat, metal implement that sits over the flame for greater control and a more even heat transfer to the cookware above.
The use of a heat diffuser can also help to reduce hot spots in the pan and also make it harder for your pan to boil over.