This years World Food Day theme is "Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind’.
The theme aims to highlight the critical role of water for life on earth and water as the foundation of our food. It also seeks to raise global awareness about the importance of managing water wisely as rapid population growth, economic development, urbanization, and climate change threaten water availability.
It’s important to recognise that cooking water can be reused in a multitude of ways. Pouring these nutrient-rich waters down the drain just doesn’t make sense here are some ways we can use them.
1. Make gorgeous gravy
Why make gravy using plain water from the kettle, when leftover veggie water can give even instant gravy granules an extra depth? Simply strain out your veggies, reboil the cooking water and make the gravy as usual.
Pasta water is particularly good for adding to any sauce for a thick smooth silky texture.
Pro tip: to keep your gravy glossy, don’t use potato water.
2. Loosen mash with a little potato water
Splash a couple of tablespoons of the potato cooking water into your cooked spuds when you add the butter and milk (or olive oil and non-dairy milk, for vegan mash). The water loosens the mix for easier mashing and a creamier result.
3. Soak aching feet in warm potato water
The remaining potato water might not be a sight for sore eyes, but certainly is a treat for sore feet. Potatoes are rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps to relieve cramped and tight muscles.
A warm foot bath of potato cooking water can give you a mini-dose of relaxing potassium.
4. Add to homemade stocks and soups
You may not have enough leftover cooking water to make a full pot of soup or stock, but even a small amount of flavourful leftover cooking water will give you a head start.
5. Wash your face in the cooking water
The skincare industry has gone wild for probiotics and organic nutrients derived from green vegetables, but we say skip the excess packaging and the hundred-pounds-plus price tags.
Try washing your face with cooled cooking water from vitamin-packed cabbage, broccoli and other green veggies.
Potato, rice and pasta water, with their high starch content, also work well for bringing a revitalising fresh feel to you face.
Pasta water is also great for your hair. Leave it to cool slightly, rub it on your hair and leave in for 10 minutes (thank us later for that shine!)
6. Reuse veggie water to cook rice or pasta
The water from boiling or steaming veggies is perfectly fine to use a few hours’ later when you’re putting on a pot of rice or pasta. You can also…
7. Reuse cooking water to steam or boil more veggies
Scoop out the first batch of veggies and set them aside to keep warm, then cook another vegetable in the same pan using the same water. Works well for carrots and peas!
8. Brew a savoury tea
Steep the lightly fragrant cooking water with a few fresh or dried herbs, add a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy a warming, vitamin-enriched tea.
9. Kill weeds in the garden
Just-off-the-boil veggie water is a very good natural weed killer for patios, pathways and other outdoor areas. Be careful when transporting the hot liquid and stand clear to avoid splashing yourself when pouring the water over unwanted plants.
10. Save unsalted water for houseplants and pots
Once fully cool, unsalted cooking water can be used to water your houseplants and outdoor plants.
Pro tip: always retain the water from boiled eggs for your plants. They love a calcium boost!
11. Washing Up
It might seem like dirty water, but the natural starch mineral content of pasta water acts as a natural detergent.
12. Egg Replacement
Water from soaking and cooking beans can be used to make Aquafaba a natural (and vegan) thickening agent and egg replacement.. See here for details
If you have any other suggestions please add them in the comments.