Let’s head into the kitchen, where being more water efficient not only helps us cut our bills and have a lower impact on our beautiful British waterways. When we save water we also improve the taste of our food and help to preserve more of the nutrients during the cooking process.
Want to save water every time you cook? Make a habit of:
Boiling less water in a kettle rather than on the hob. This could save you up to £12 a year on your energy bills!
Using a lid on your pans for faster boiling and super quick steaming.
Use less water to boil
Making pasta, rice or boiled potatoes? Water efficient cooking can help you to delicious results more quickly:
Measure your pasta into a pan and add a couple of large pinches of salt. Boil your water in a kettle to save energy, then pour over enough to just cover the pasta. Bring the water back to the boil, stirring the pasta constantly to stop it sticking and lower to a gently rolling bubble for around 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Test for your preferred ‘bite’, cook for a minute or two more if you like a softer feel, and drain.
The easy measurement is one part rice to two parts cold water, into a pan with a tight fitting lid, preferably glass so you can see what’s happening! Bring the pan to a boil and, without removing the lid, turn down to the lowest simmer. Leave for around 10-12 minutes and then check the rice. Once the water has been absorbed, take the pan off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes with the lid in place. The rice will gently steam until fluffy.
Cut the potatoes into quarters or eighths for faster cooking. Add salt and just enough cool water to the pan to cover the potatoes and, with a lid in place, bring the potatoes to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook through for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes reach the consistency you like. Drain and serve.
Switch to steam for fish and veggies
Steaming on the hob is a quick, healthy and low water method of cooking fish and veg, and is especially economical if you have a steamer you can bung on the top of the pasta or potato pan as they cook.
If you’re doing vegetables on their own, though, steaming in the microwave wins out for using even less water and energy. Four minutes and you’re done! Take a look…
No microwave or steamer basket? No matter! Simply place your prepared veg into a narrow, steep sided pan and pour in a 2cm depth of water, boiled in a kettle. Put on a lid, leaving a small gap for the steam to escape, and steam over a medium heat for around 10 minutes. Perfect!
Savour that cooking water
You must have seen the colour of the water after cooking greens and other veggies? That, as my mother would say, is ‘goodness’. She’s not wrong, vegetable cooking water contains valuable nutrients, along with a hit of flavour.
So don’t pour away goodness, keep a jug in the fridge and save the water from your vegetables for stock, soup and gravy-making, breadmaking and boiling rice, pasta and potatoes. And if your cup runneth over? Some folk swear that washing their faces in cabbage water gives them nicer skin, but if that’s somewhat outside your comfort zone, houseplants thrive on a little cooled veg water!