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reusing water

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A Column Promoting a More Earth-friendly Lifestyle

By John L. Turner

John Turner

You’ve just boiled some potatoes, eggs, or maybe rice. Or perhaps it was pasta. If you are like most people the leftover water quickly finds its way down the kitchen sink drain. 

Want a better use for that water? After cooling it (a nice bonus in the winter to let the heat from the water move into the kitchen), use it for making soup, thinning sauces or watering indoor or outdoor plants. Regarding this last use, boiling these and other foods (couscous anyone?) results in water containing minerals and carbohydrates; this enhanced water thus has become a form of liquid fertilizer that can benefit your plants. 

There is one caveat to keep in mind when using the previously used water for your plants — if you salt the water while cooking pasta or other foods do not use it on your plants as it can either damage or kill them; it is fine, though, to use it for making other foods.  

Reusing your cooking water not only captures these minerals and nutrients for the benefit of your plants, it means water used in a more efficient manner — a key element of sustainability.   

A resident of Setauket, John Turner is conservation chair of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, author of “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” and president of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours.