Water is a valuable, non-renewable resource. Growing up as a child of the 70's and 80's, we seemed to have a very laissez-faire attitude about water in Alberta. It was here when we needed it, and would always be.
Now, however, our kids are growing up in a different world. There are routine water shortages and droughts. We watch the snow pack and rainfall levels, and we hear every year about devastating forest fires here in Alberta as well as around the world.
Today, we're going to talk about cooking water. Let me give you an example of how I changed what I do with it.
First, I now steam potatoes in a steamer pot rather than boiling them. They turn out just as cooked, and cook just as quickly, but use much less water. Another benefit to cooking potatoes in this way is giving them the opportunity to retain more of their nutrients. When vegetables are immersed in boiling water, some of their nutritional value gets absorbed by the water and then (usually) thrown away (more about that in a few minutes!). Another benefit of steaming gives you the opportunity to add passive flavour to your vegetables. Last night, for example, I added dried rosemary and sliced lemons to my steaming water. That gave my potatoes a subtle flavour boost that made them just that much tastier when it was time to eat them.
One of the ways I reuse cooking water is to strain out the solids- in this case, the rosemary and lemon- and refrigerate it overnight. Use it as a base for soup or stews the next day, or label it and freeze it flat to use it in the future. If that seems like too much work or too much planning, consider reheating it to a boil the next day and using it as the base for washing your not dishwasher-safe dishes. Add some soap and just enough cold water to make it possible to immerse your hands, and wash away.
Obviously my favourite way to re-use cooking water is to cook with it again. You retain all the nutrients that made their way into the water, and constantly buying soup stock isn't the healthiest or cheapest option. However, sometimes life gets hectic after dinner and you forget to put your cooking water in the fridge overnight- option #2 at least gives a second life to your water before it gets dumped.
Today, I challenge you to re-frame how you think about cooking water for every step of the journey. From how much you run the water before filling the pot, to how much water you cook with, to what you do with it after the fact. #wastereductionweek 2016
Enjoy your day, friends!