CONSERVING WATER IN THE KITCHEN
Polkadot Dinners is making a concerted effort to reduce our water usage. There are so many ways to cut back on wasteful water practices. Here are just a few, VERY SIMPLE things we can all do to help preserve our most precious resource:
Stop pouring out unused coffee!
Do you finish every cup? How much are we pouring out of our unfinished cups? What about the rest of the pot?
Instead of pouring unused coffee down the drain in the morning, SAVE IT! Especially in the summer time, cold coffee is SOOOO refreshing! Refrigerate the coffee you didn’t drink this morning, and enjoy it cold in the afternoon or even the next morning. Easy on the ice. Remember: IT’S BEEN IN THE FRIDGE, IT’S ALREADY COLD! Ice will just water it down as it melts anyway. If you absolutely MUST have ice in your chilled coffee, then simply freeze some of that same coffee in your ice cube tray! VOILA!
In addition to simply drinking delicious chilled coffee drinks, there are other ways to use your left-over coffee that are just as amazing:
- Make a chilled coffee smoothie! Whether you’re scooping protein powder, peanut butter, or fresh fruit into your blended breakfast, making your smoothie with left-over chilled coffee is a great way to add flavor AND get your morning boost, without using more water.
- Use it in other recipes! Pour it into your marinades for a deep, rich flavor. Add it to your BBQ basting sauces to enhance the flavor profiles of the other ingredients. BAKE WITH IT! There are so many amazing coffee desserts that call for brewed coffee. Who knows, maybe you’ll create a fabulous new recipe! I would LOVE to see your left-over coffee recipes. Post them below if you’re so inclined 🙂
Steam your veggies…besides, boiling vegetables is sooo 1960 (and not in the cool way).
Not only will you retain more of the vitamins and minerals in your vegetables by steaming them versus boiling them, you will also use WAY less water to get those veggies perfect. Side note: THEY WILL TASTE BETTER! Who wants bland, boiled, mushy veggies anyway? Better yet, GRILL THEM! Grilled veggies are so delicious and the weather is just perfect for grilling. Grilling doesn’t use ANY water at all, and who can resist an eggplant or zucchini with perfect grill marks? This chef can not. Read about all of my favorite grilled veggies here.
Don’t use more water to boil your pasta than necessary.
We are all guilty of this: Filling a huge pot all the way up to the top to boil some pasta that could have been cooked in 1/4 of the water we just wasted. Just cover it barely. We don’t have to send it to a lavish spa to hang out with its friends…its only pasta.
Use recyclable paper plates and wash fewer dishes!
Dirtying fewer dishes is a beautiful thing…for the environment as well as for YOU! Of all the things I love to do in the kitchen, I really don’t ever stop to reminisce about how much fun I’ve had while washing the dishes. NO THANKS! Recycle. It’s the new “black”.
Speaking of doing the dishes: Make sure that you’re not running your dishwasher unnecessarily. Wait until it’s full to run it. We don’t need to use a full cycle to clean half a load of dishes, do we? We can also stop “doing the dishes” before the dishwasher “does the dishes”. There is some debate over which method uses less water on average: hand-washing, or dishwasher washing. While I may not be an expert in the field, I can tell you with a high level of confidence that doing BOTH is WASTEFUL!
Don’t use running water to defrost your food!
Besides it being incredibly wasteful, it is also NOT recommended to defrost your food by running water over it until it is thawed. The best, safest, and most water-friendly way to defrost your food is by placing it in your refrigerator to thaw. Defrosting food in a controlled temperature will ensure that bacteria will not begin to grow. And here’s another tip: IT WILL TASTE BETTER!
Install a Low-flow faucet.
A quick internet search of the subject brought up hundreds of results for low-cost, low-flow kitchen faucets that are easy to install, and will reduce your water usage in the kitchen significantly. Check with your local water district to see if there are any rebates available for low-flow faucets, toilets, and shower heads.
Check out this Water Footprint Calculator from National Geographic.
This is a free tool, and I encourage you to take a look TODAY. It is an eye-opening resource that shows how much we are using without even realizing it. Knowledge is power, people!
There are literally thousands of ways that we can all help with the drought, and reduce our water usage. This is a very short list, but certainly is one that just about anyone could implement starting RIGHT NOW. Let’s all do our part and cut back where we can.