When cooking pasta, it’s easy to feel as if you’re wasting water when you boil it and then immediately throw that water down the drain. While it may be your goal to conserve as much H2O as possible, there really isn’t much use for it once it’s been filled with starch.
At least, that’s what most people think. Thankfully, though, some people have figured out multiple ways to reuse that environmentally valuable liquid. If you’re looking for nifty ways to reuse old noodle water when you’re done cooking, then look no further. Here we’ve gathered several clever ways to reuse the starchy stuff.
It’s no secret that pasta is one of the most popular dishes served around the world. While it may be delicious, an unfortunate result of our love of pasta is a lot of “wasted” water. In truth, there are some surprising things you can do with that starchy water. Try these tricks!
1. Use it to water your garden and flowers — While experimenting, some researchers discovered that you can use the leftover water from making pasta to help grow the plants in your garden. The high mineral content helps them to grow faster.
2. Use it to make your own pesto sauce — You have to be sure to do this with warm pasta water. This way, the water acts as a bonding agent and will give you that gooey pesto sauce that you long to put on sandwiches and pasta!
3. Make pizza dough and other breads — One of the benefits of reusing the pasta water is that it keeps some flavors and starch from the original pasta. This will help give your homemade bread an entirely new and distinctive flavor.
4. Soak beans and other vegetables — You’re going to thank yourself when you begin to soak your beans in noodle water overnight. That way, they become so much easier to soften up when you go to cook them the following day.
5. Use it to wash your dirty dishes — When you soak dishes in noodle water, the starch begins to dissolve and acts as an all natural cleaning agent. Yes, it even works if you use it on the most extreme of dirty dishes, so why not give it a try!
6. Use it to soak your aching feet — If you suffer from aching feet at the end of a long day standing then soaking your feet in noodle water is your best bet. Just warm it up to a comfortable temperature and the let the heat and minerals do the trick.
7. Use it to give your hair a new shine — If your hair has a tendency to look flat, you’ve come to the right place. Get your hair entirely wet with noodle water and let it soak for 1o minutes. Then, use your normal shampoo and you’ll be amazed at the natural shine.
8. Use it to steam more food — If you’re looking to steam some vegetables, which happens to be the most gentle way you can cook them, fill a steamer with the noodle water and let it work its magic. Now that’s a clever way to reuse the stuff.
9. Use it to make soup — It should come as no surprise that leftover noodle water will work as the perfect broth. Just think, you’ve already got all of that natural starchiness mixed in with all of that flavor. It can add a lot of complexity to an otherwise boring soup recipe!
10. Much like expensive bottles of infused oils, vinegars, and sauces, those leftovers are full of intense flavor. Flavor you’ve paid for. Flavor that will add depth to your favorite snacks and meals. So let’s skip the trash can and proceed.
11. Once you’ve boiled the corn on the cob, let the water cool and toss some spices into the mineral- and vitamin-rich brew to make stock. Or add veggies and meat to make soup. Pour anything extra on your garden or indoor plants as fertilizer.
12. The next time you cook rice, think twice before tossing that water down the drain. Rice water is rich in nutrients that benefit the skin and hair, making it Asia’s best beauty secret. You can use it as a toner, face wash, hair mask or acne treatment!
12. After you’ve boiled potatoes, there are literally dozens of uses for the starchy water. Add a little with butter and milk for fluffier mashed potatoes. Similarly, use it to enhance bread, pizza and biscuit dough. Add it as a stock to thicken soups and sauces. Note: if you boil potatoes with their skins on, be sure to wash them thoroughly first.
13. In moderation, the liquid from cans of tuna, salmon and other fish can become a special treat for your cat or dog. Just keep a few health tips in mind: Moderation is key because fish may contain harmful compounds like mercury. It also tends to be packed in high-sodium liquid, so opt for low- or no-salt varieties.
14. The liquid from canned vegetables (preferably organic brands) is also a good addition to other dishes. Whether green beans, collard greens or bamboo shoots, keep a container in your fridge to capture the tasty canned juices for use as a flavorful broth in soups and sauces.
15. Other liquids you shouldn’t get rid of include liquid from canned or cooked dried beans. The starchy leftover liquid from canned beans or simmered dried beans can also be used as a substitute for any stock or broth or added to thicken soups, stews and sauces. Freeze extra liquid for later use.
16. Most people don’t know this, but aquafaba (‘water-bean’) can be used for so much more than that! For example, vegan meringues! This is where the fun originally started, whipping up the bean foam to create something so alike to its eggy counterpart.
17. Alternatively, you can try this egg-free, chocolatey delight that even has air bubbles!
18. You can even make ice cream! “Once that liquid starts fluffing up, it becomes addictive!”
19. Another thing you can use as frosting, stick in ‘s’mores’ or eat out of the bowl!
20. The possibilities with macarons are endless, and you should definitely try this egg-less version!
Who would’ve thought there were so many clever ways to reuse noodle water? You’ve got nothing to lose if you try them.