Conserving Water in the Kitchen is Easier than You Think
Water plays a vital role when cooking practically anything you want. And when you’re done eating, a ton of water can get wasted during after-meal cleanup efforts. In this article, you will learn about a variety of ways that you can conserve water in the kitchen and lead to a lower water bill every month.
How to Use Less Water While Cooking
Running Water isn’t the Only Way to Defrost Food
A little advanced planning can save a lot of water. Using running water to fthe thaw chicken or seafood is a huge waste of water. Use the refrigerator to let the food reach its temperature naturally.
Steam, Don’t Boil
Steaming vegetables uses less water than boiling them. Typically, steamed vegetables retain more of their flavor, color and nutrients. When steaming multiple vegetables try to do so at the same time by using separate sections in the steamer. Also, if you are boiling water for pasta, you can set the steamer basket right on top of the pot of boiling water.
Use a Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers are great for saving time, energy and water.
Use a Bowl Instead of a Colander
When rinsing fruits and vegetables rinse them in a bowl of water instead of running water. The dirty water can be used to water your lawn or indoor plants.
Single Pan/Slow Cooker Dishes
Plan your menu to include at least one slow cooker or single pan dish per week. This helps save you time and water from cleaning multiple pots and pans.
Use the Right Size Pan for the Dish
Using the correct pan size not only helps conserve water, but doing so helps to save time since you won’t be heating up unnecessary surface area. Likewise, the the smaller the pan, the less water that’s needed for cleaning.
Even if your recipe does not call for a sauce, deglazing your pan will help to make quick work of cleaning later.
Cook in Bulk
If it’s a family favorite, cook several meals worth of food at a time and freeze of refrigerate the leftovers for quick, pan free meals later on.
Don’t Toss the Water
Pasta water and water used for steaming can be added to sauces or used to water household plants (just make sure it cools down first).
Conserving Water After the Meal
Doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen after a great meal is everyone’s favorite household task, right? Jokes aside, there is a lot of water to be saved by changing up how you wash your dishes and manage the kitchen as a whole.
Don’t Hand Wash Dishes
A recent study showed that hand washing dishes uses as much as 27 gallons of water. The average dishwasher only uses about 5 gallons per load. Starting in 2019 the maximum gallons of per wash cycle will decrease 38% to 3.1 gallons per load.
Fully Load the Dishwasher
Speaking of dishwashers, loading the dishwasher not only saves water but extends the life of the appliance. Additionally, read the owner’s manual to see how to best load the machine. Consumer Reports also has a great guide on how you can load your dishwasher for maximum effectiveness.
Scrape, Don’t Rinse
Companies that make dish detergent urge customers to skip the pre-rinse and just scrape the food into the trash can. The detergent actually needs small particles of food to attach to so the soap can do its job. Without those food particles, the detergent just rinses away.
Save the Garbage Disposal – Compost Instead
Instead of throwing leftovers and table scraps down the drain, compost them to help save water while creating a great tool for your lawn and garden. This will save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
Upgrade to an ENERGY STAR Dishwasher
Dishwashers built before 1994 end up using more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. In 2013 the Department of Energy mandated a max of 5 gallons per cycle. And, as noted above, by 2019 dishwashers will have to be built to use only a little more than 3 gallons per load, so it might be better if you hold off until then to upgrade.
Soak Pots and Pans
Don’t use the sprayer to loosen baked on food – Start soaking your pots and pans after cooking but before eating to make it easy to scrape food off when it’s time to do the dishes.
Install an Under-sink Water Heater
A 4-5 gallon point-of-use water heater can give you instant hot water at the faucet. These small water heaters fit right under the sink, cost $100-$200 and is a easy DIY project.
How Much Water You Use is Important
Conserving water can have a good impact on your life by lowering your bills. However, there is an even more important impact that saving water will have: you will be directly helping the environment and your immediate community. The next time you’re cooking a meal or cleaning up your kitchen, have the above tips handy to help better manage your water usage.