Saving cooking water for later use

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We are getting rain right now but we know there will be drought conditions imposed later this summer. We do have some rain barrels (yes, it is now legal to collect rainwater from your own buildings for your own use in WA.) but I also want to save the water I use to cook vegetables and rice, etc (not meats).
Do I need a separate barrel for this or can I add it to the barrels that will be used for watering my garden later this year? I've tried searching but cannot find any info on saving this water for later use--just those who use it on their gardens as soon as it cools.
  10 answers
  • Barb Rosen Barb Rosen on May 14, 2015
    I did not find anything to address your question on Google either. But, logically, think what would happen with cooking water if it sits out in a pot unwashed. The food residues in the water would begin to mold or rot. I think it would be best to put the cooled cooking water on the garden and not mix it with rain water or save it. An extra caution is to only do this if you are cooking organic rice or vegetables. Otherwise, you will be adding whatever chemicals were used on your food to your garden - read about it: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/should-vegetable-cooking-water-be-saved/
  • Jackie Gfeller Jackie Gfeller on May 14, 2015
    Save your cooking water in the freezer in the form of ice cubes and use it to cook with. Added to soups and gravies and sauces it can add the nutrients leached out from the veggies to the item you use it in. I would not try to use it in the garden because of the mold issues, and the food smells will draw varmints to your garden. Use it up as the valuable item it is...food.
  • Jackie Gfeller Jackie Gfeller on May 14, 2015
    Just another thought. Microwave the veggies and you won't have that much cooking water left over. Conserve on one end and barrel the rain water. We drain our washing machine into the sink (we have ours in the basement - won't work for some arrangements) then we sump it out to our raspberry bushes and flower/veggie beds. Works great! That might be more practical and better use of the water. water with soap in it soaks in better and mimic's the softness of rain water. This is WAY more than you wanted to know! ha.
  • Kathy Ruth Kathy Ruth on May 14, 2015
    Good tips. Thanks.We do buy organic and I do freeze some. Maybe I will freeze some in larger containers and put them into the garden this summer and just let it melt there. (Jackie, I microwave some things but I do not like the way soups and vegetables taste after being microwaved. My kids don't taste any difference but I do. Go figure.)
  • Judy Judy on May 14, 2015
    I would think the cooking water would get really nasty if kept outside in warmer weather or at all...you'd have more trouble than it's worth...smell, attracting critters, etc. Certainly don't think it would be good for your plants. I'd sooner save empty milk bottles filled with bath water or water used to rinse veggies and fruit rather than letting it go down the drain.
  • Amy Amy on May 14, 2015
    Wait until it cools and store it in the fridge. Don't forget to strain it. Use water u boil eggs with to water plants. It's good for them.
  • Alisa Alisa on May 15, 2015
    I use pasta water and vegetable cooking water on my plants as soon as it has cooled. It has done wonders. I wouldn't try yo store it, though.
  • Elizabethacevedo Elizabethacevedo on May 15, 2015
    I used to throw my cooled cooking water out the kitchen backdoor on to my plants and the water mushrooms and potatoes were scrubbed in. The plants thrived and grew. The same plants at the end of the garden were much inferior. So that says something. Water from pasta, potatoes etc. I would sometimes crush egg shells and boil them and put the cooled water around my roses.
  • Valerie A. de Vincent Valerie A. de Vincent on May 16, 2015
    I've been using that kind of used cooking water, plus the "old" dirty water from my dog's water bowl to water my houseplants for the past year, and the all look so much better (I never fertilize them, so they all probably appreciate the extra nutrients). One 13 year old peace lily that hadn't bloomed in about 3 or 4 years has now bloomed twice since I started giving it that old and used water.
  • OhSally OhSally on May 16, 2015
    I don't think long term storage of this water is a good idea because even tiny food particles will rot and smell bad. I'd use it same day once it cools though. Good nutrients for your plants. You might consider adding a couple feeder goldfish to your rain barrel to eat food particles if you do store the used water. I do that to keep mosquitoes from breeding in my rain barrels and the fish poop adds nutrients.
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