Posts tagged: Artesian

Water: The Main Ingredient!

Not only is water necessary for our survival, it is essential in the many food dishes and drink preparations that require certain types to make them palatable  to the senses.  Alkaline water, for example, is used in Asian cuisine to give a yellow color to noodles and cakes, or to give beans, seeds and veggies a bright color.  Rose and orange blossom water are other examples that give Middle Eastern dishes a unique and exotic flavor. Depending on what type of flavor we’re after in our dinner masterpieces, it is the type of water required in our recipes that is the one ingredient that needs more attention.  Hopefully, this water guide will help you decide on what type of water to use.

Photograph by A.J. French

Photograph by A.J. French

  • Artesian Water– The king of quality water you can find! Artesian aquifers are found beneath the surface protected by rock and clay without any exposure to outside contamination or air pollutants.  Impressed? Benefits from drinking (or cooking) with this water range from getting strong hair, skin, nails and bones to potentially reducing your Alzheimer’s risk due to the high silica content in the water (Reuter’s Health, 2009).  This water is great to cook with but can also be used to produce a tasty home-brewed beer!!
  • Well Water– If you can tap into an aquifer by drilling a well in your backyard, then make sure you have a good well water system installed.  If you’re unlucky to have an old well system, then chances are you might run greater risks than worrying about smelly water!  Hazards with using well water include high lead, salt, bacteria, arsenic, and petroleum hydrocarbons just to name a few.  Cooking-wise, the high iron content in well water may turn your poached eggs green but don’t let this discourage you from using well water in your pan.  Get your water tested, filter it and enjoy the benefits of taping into water from a natural aquifer.
  • Distilled Water – This water is heated to the boiling point so that impurities separate out when it becomes a vapor.  The impurities are eliminated and the water gets moved from steam to liquid by a cooling it.  This process follows Raoult’s law.  Distilling has been around since biblical times for different uses (e.g., perfumes, alcoholic drinks, etc.), and it has “purified” water from lakes, rivers and streams to this day.  It is still potable water that can be used for human consumption but still tastes bad.  I would use it in a steam iron or car.
  • Spring Water – Similar to well water in that they both come from an aquifer but is different in that they flow out to the surface naturally.  This water is rich in trace minerals, so that part is good for you, but beware of drinking from a spring outside the safety of a bottled water company!  There are quite a few studies that show hot springs have a very high level of fluoride, so don’t use them to cook your food or think you’ve got instant hot drinking water for coffee or tea if you’re camping somewhere!  Fluoride is good for your bones and teeth but too much of it (like too little of it) is not healthy (USA Today, 2006).
  • Mineral Water – So, you may wonder what the difference between spring and mineral water is…  Well, the only difference is that spring water must be collected directly from the source that the water flows out of, and mineral water is the water that comes from underground and flows over rocks, which increases the mineral content.  Also, mineral water can’t be treated like spring water but can be filtered to get rid of any grit and dirt.
  • Sparkling Water – This water can come out with carbonation naturally or artificially.  It can be filtered and then carbonated again.  Besides making cool spritzers out of this water, it can be added to bread recipes replacing still water.  It assists in the rising process of the bread and gives it a holier look to it!  Tonic water is perhaps my favorite of the sparkling water category.  What makes it different from say a regular club soda is the anti-malarial drug, quinine, added to it.  Historically, the English mixed this drug into their sparkling water and added gin to the mix to mask the taste; hence, the classic gin and tonic!

  • Rainwater – Harvested rainwater has many good uses for the home but it is unwise to use for drinking and cooking despite its purity from the heavens.  It’s in the collection that one must worry about.  Collected improperly, all sorts of pollutants, bacteria, etc. during collection could contaminate the water making it unsuitable for human consumption.  However, many people will filter and treat their rainwater to drink and cook with.   Action Against Hunger, a cool charity founded in France, developed a water program called WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) to help third world countries find, collect and clean water for the poor.  Rainwater is just one source that can provide healthy water for many.

  • Hard Water vs. Soft Water – It is debatable which one is better but a lot of people enjoy soft water for drinking and cooking.  For some, cooking with soft water makes food look and taste good.  More than likely it’s the sodium content found in the water!  If you have high blood pressure or retain lots of water, drinking straight soft water from the tap might not be a great idea.  Filtering both hard and soft water with a Pur water filter or an expensive reverse osmosis system is enough to make them tasty to drink and acceptable to cook with.

“We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in on direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.”
–Memoirs of a Geisha

Article submitted by Yvette M. Palladino
Contributing writer for H4M
Enjoys ice cold cactus water for good health!

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