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Frugal Nugget #1

February 11th, 2010 at 01:48 pm

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

Text is "pot liquor," and Link is
"pot liquor," or "potlikker."

American slave cooks started the practice of saving the
Text is "broth" and Link is
"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.

3 Responses to “Frugal Nugget #1”

  1. JO\oan,of,the,Arch Says:

    I'm a drinker of pot liquor, myself, and yes, I'm from the south. I call only the water from greens "pot liquor". My Dad always drank it, too, and he was not a born Southerner, as was my Mom. I think he had the habit from his own German-Irish childhood household. He used to add salt and pepper and drink it hot from a tall glass. I think it was probably culturally universal in older times to waste nothing. Some older people can tell you that their mothers saved water from boiling potatoes, noddles, barley, or other starchy foods to starch their ironing with!

  2. susan w Says:

    I sometimes do this, too. When it's warm out, I try to throw the cooking water on my compost pile.

  3. Jerry Says:

    I think you are right about this being an acquired taste, and it's one that I haven't been able to lead myself to acquire yet! I have heard that it contains nutrients that leach from the veggies during cooking, so it makes sense... so I guess it's good insurance not to miss out on anything. Still tastes kinda yucky to me, though.

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