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Feed Yourself Or Your Plants, Not The Drain

Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Yard & Garden Expertise:
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When you cook vegetables, do you boil them, and then throw the water down the drain? Does this remove the vitamins from the vegetables? And if so, why throw them away?

Most vitamins are water soluble, and when you boil vegetables, some of those vitamins will leech out of the plants and into the cooking water, which is usually tossed away. However, there are two very good options for ways to reclaim that water and the vitamins.

Off topic, but as an aside, it is healthier to steam or stir fry vegetables because this will reduce the vitamin loss. But sometimes boiling is just the easiest option.

If you buy veggies packaged from the store they will already have a fair amount of sodium added. This will also be transferred to the water. If you have enough room in the freezer you can pour this into containers and freeze to be used as soup stock. Boiling it down will reduce the volume, but also destroy more of the vitamins, so it’s best to use as little water as possible in the first place.

However, if you boil fresh vegetables, there will be only the natural amount of sodium present. Don’t add any salt to the water. If you want to salt the vegetables, do it after cooking and draining. In this case, you can save the water and let it cool to room temperature. Then pour it on your houseplants for some free plant food. You don’t want to use water with salt in it on your houseplants. This will build up in the pots and eventually make the plants very unhappy.

The pictures are from when I blanched some spinach for freezing the other day. By the time I had finished preparing the large bag of spinach (which I was given and was way more than two of us could eat before it went bad), I had almost a gallon of green water and gave all my houseplants a nice healthy drink.

This isn’t as good as compost tea, but that takes a lot of work, and this is just something that you would otherwise throw out. You’re just reclaiming it. I always feel good about squeezing every last drop of goodness out of anything!