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March 22, 2019
How much water…do you waste when cooking?

On the occasion of World Water Day (22 March), I thought of leaving food aside for a while and talk ONLY about water. While I was wondering what to write, I realized that it is impossible for someone to not mention water when talking about cooking! Why? Because -believe me- we use (and sometimes waste) a lot more water than we might think in the kitchen. I'll start with two simple examples:

  • We boil pasta. The water with which we fill the pot to boil the pasta ends up in the sink. One way to avoid wasting it is to fill our pot according to the amount of pasta we want to boil. In that way, we can somehow save a little of the water that we waste. This is the…obvious water! The water that we see.
  • And let’s get to the second example. How much water do we waste when…we fry potatoes? Yes, not when we boil, but when we fry potatoes. Don’t answer right away…Why? Because if part of our food ends up in the trash (in this case the potatoes), a quite large quantity of water is thrown away with it too. I refer to the water that was used for watering and growing the potatoes – a fact that applies to many foods, of course. This is the…hidden water.

So, these two examples concern cooking. But, if we think about how much more water we use in our kitchen (I won’t refer generally to our everyday lives, but only to the kitchen part), we will realize how important it is to try and manage it as wisely as possible. Why? Because, unfortunately, it is not a given. It is a valuable good that we should all have and appreciate at the same time.

What we can do is to adopt some simple habits, starting from our kitchen, which will help us manage water properly and limit its waste as much as possible. Which are these habits? I’ll tell you right away!

  1. Use the appropriate utensils in relation to the food quantity that you cook. In that way, you will save both water and energy :-)
  2. Manage your leftovers properly. As I mentioned above, a significant part of some foods consists of water. By throwing them away, you throw away the water that was needed for growing them. Here, you can find even more information and advice regarding that matter.
  3. Reduce your meat consumption. Why? Because for its production, we need a lot more water than we would need when producing e.g. fruits, vegetables, or wheat. Specifically, (according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) of Great Britain) for the production of 1 kilo meat 5.000-20.000 liters of water are required, while for the production of 1 kilo wheat about 500-4.000 liters of water are required. As for the potatoes that we mentioned above? Only 287 liters of water are needed for the production of 1 kilo.
  4. Do not leave the tap water running while washing the dishes (a large bowl could help in that) and put the dishwasher to use only when it is full.
  5. Use water wisely under which you wash your fruits or vegetables. In fact, you can gather it in a large bowl and then water your plants with it.

Lastly, I have for you an application through which we can all calculate our “water footprint” (that is, how much water we consume) and act accordingly. This application, along with a lot more information regarding the particular matter, you will find at this website right here: waterfootprint.org

And do not forget: I just wrote about a few ways to save water. You are welcome to write your own ways under this diary and so, make it even more useful for whoever might read it :-) In that way, my diaries are transformed into live conversations and I like that a lot!

Akis

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