Most of us tend to feel the heat in the kitchen. Whether it’s because the in-laws are coming over, or there’s an important anniversary dinner to prepare – in fact, even if you’re just facing the judgement of your overly fussy child. There’s a lot of pressure to cook a tasty dinner, which is why we don’t want you to sweat about saving water. Instead, we want to give you quick, simple and easy tips that help you to use less water while cooking, without all the extra worry. The last thing you need is some complex thought process behind how you can use less water when Grannies homemade roastie recipe is failing for the third time!
1 – Defrost like a champ
Defrosting food takes about as much effort as writing your food shopping list. It’s a case of knowing what you’re going to eat and getting the right ingredients ready. If you’re susceptible to using water to help thaw out your frozen foods, this is the easiest tip for saving water. Be prepared. If you’re already in the kitchen making dinner, and you know tomorrow night is chicken fajitas, grab your frozen chicken out of the freezer now and pop it in the fridge. Failing that, use your microwave to defrost an item. There really isn’t any need for water!
2 – Think about your pots
Big family dinners call for big family pots, but when it’s just your household, do you really need that ginormous pot for your veg? Just because it’s the first one you grabbed from the cupboard, doesn’t mean you need to use it. Find a pot that is appropriately sized for what you’re cooking. Not only will this use less water while cooking, but it will also save you water when it comes to washing up.
3 – What methods use less water while cooking?
Boiling our food is second nature for most of us, especially when it comes to our veg. But if we’re looking to save water, boiling shouldn’t be our go-to process for cooking. Steaming is super easy and you don’t need a steamer to do it. Put roughly 2 inches of water in the bottom of your pot, place 3 golf-ball-sized aluminium balls in the pot, then place a plate on top. Put your veggies on the plate and cover your pot with a lid. Alternatively, pop your veggies in a microwaveable bowl, put a small amount of water in the bottom and cover with a microwaveable lid. Turn your microwave on high heat and cook for about 5 minutes. It’s saving water, but we also think our veggies taste better when steamed!
4 – Washing up bowls and dishwashers
Arguably one of the trickiest areas to navigate when it comes to using less water in the kitchen. How to clean the dishes. We’ve talked recently about how cleaning often creates a lot of wastewater. This tip is arguably the most complex because it may change depending on how much, and what, you cook. If you’ve got multiple pots and pans and plenty of plates – enough to fill your dishwasher – the most water-friendly action is to scrape all the food into your food waste bin and pop it all in your dishwasher. Alternatively, one dinner with a pot and plate will call for a small bowl of soapy water and a hand scrub. One thing to avoid is a running tap. There’s no need to rinse before using your dishwasher or rinse after scrubbing a plate. Remember a running tap uses 6 litres of water every minute – so avoid it as much as you can.
5 – Boiling foods
We’ve spoken about avoiding boiling cooking methods by steaming, but that doesn’t exactly work for pasta shells and rice. Even fried rice requires a bit of boiling to soften the grain. But the key to using less water here is to not overfill your pot. For every cup of rice, use two cups of water. For every 100g of dried pasta, use 500ml of water (this may increase slightly depending on the pasta shape). Measure your water before you use it, very rarely will you need to fill a pot with water.
You see, you don’t need anything special for using less water while cooking. All you need is a little more time and these tips. No special equipment, no new appliances, not even a different type of pot – we’ve seen a lot of gimmicks over the years, but saving water is simple and can be done at little to no cost. If you wanted to go one step further, you could grab yourself a water-saving gadget; Greenredeem Thames Water members can claim theirs for free in their dashboard area. Stop sweating about saving water in the kitchen, implement these simple tips and focus on not burning those homemade roasties!