"pot liquor," or "potlikker."
Save the water you use to cook vegetables to water houseplants after the water has cooled.
The water in which vegetables have been boiled contains minerals and other nutrients that will help your plants thrive. Cooked vegetables leach some of these nutrients in the water, even when the vegetables are steamed.
It's not advisable to water houseplants with cooking water if you've salted the water. If you're in the habit of doing this, another option to reuse this water is to freeze it for later use in soups or stews.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Southerners at one time used water left over from boiling foods poured over bread or biscuits or simply drunk from a shotglass. Such water was known as
American slave cooks started the practice of saving the "broth" from cooking greens like collards, turnips and mustards to feed their families.
Potlikker may have been associated with a life of hardship, but many of those who became accustomed to drinking such vegetable water - the precursor of V8 juice - relished the distinct flavors of waters used to cook specific vegetables.
If you're a Northerner, potlikker may be an acquired taste. And while the water used to cook other foods, such as pasta or hard-boiled eggs, may not generate the same praise from Southern foodies, it can still be used to refresh your houseplants.