Reduce, reuse, recycle.... Water

We’re always told to reduce waste. I’ve taken delivery of 4 of the silicon bags in order to help that idea along the way. But what about the water? Do you use your water for just one cook and then put it to watering the garden or something?

I live in a notoriously dry country and so have a fairly strong anti-water-waste sense (Mother Nature has a hilarious sense of timing because as I wrote this the heavens opened up). I cook in the same water bath until there is any sign of clouding or floaties. It goes against the grain to refill my 30 litre cooler every time I want to do a long, slow cook. Even my regular cooking box is 10 litres.

I was wondering if I could add something to the water that would not damage the APC and extend the water use. Would there be any harm in running the device in vinegary water long term?

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I think this is a good topic for @MrTimmy - since I know he’s mentioned this topic before in the community.

@john.jcb is good for this too.

I personally don’t reuse the water, unless the water from the bath is from vegetables and it’s the same week. But I think this is a great topic to expand on. Would love to hear some input on this too.

I too reuse the water in my sous vide container until it gets pretty cloudy and has a good number of floaties. As I mostly use my vacuum sealer I don’t worry much about junk mixing with my food when the water is slightly mucky.

I have found that washing the inside of the container with dishwashing liquid every so often seems to keep the water cleaner when I use it for several cooking events, although I’m not sure why. I used to just rinse the container with tap water after dumping an old batch and refilling it.

I run my cooking in ultra-filtered rainwater (the filtration system is fine enough to get rid of the real nasties). The town water supply is good as far as softness, but I have seen the blue hue it casts when I fill my white enameled antique bath tub, so I tend to limit its use.

The water I’ve been running in my cooking cooler has been going for several months now. I don’t use it all that often, but it’s probably doing its 7th cook now. The only sign of cloudiness I’ve noticed was short term from using greasy tongs to retrieve a cooking bag. It cleated on standing and no sign of it next time I fired it up to cook.

The smaller cooking box has just had a water change because it went traveling over the weekend, but I’ll keep watch for cloudiness and see how long it takes.

I wondered about adding vinegar mainly to contain any egg white should a shell crack during cooking.

I have always added a bit of distilled white vinegar (5% acidity) in my SV water. The joys of having very hard, alkaline water… I don’t really measure it that closely (I use a bottle with a flow restrictor and just count time) but I’d say about 5-7ml per L. It has shown no ill effects on the machine yet.

The down side is, that once you’ve done this, you are restricted to greywater uses for disposing of it when you finally dump it. You can’t water plants with it.

You could also pour your water through a filter system to pull the cloudy stuff out of it. Even large basket coffee filters in a sieve will help. If you really want to clear it, maybe something like get a dedicated britta pitcher and filter for it. It’s a diatomaceous earth & activated charcoal filter.

I’d just get the cheapest one or equivalent type system you can find, it’s not like you’re going to drink the water…

Diatomaceous earth and activated charcoal. Hmmm… basic kitty litter and aquarium filter carbon should make a DIY option substitute.

Not sure what “basic kitty litter” encompass in OZ, but in 'merkia (fuck yea) it might have some DE, but it’s mostly clay or silica.

DE can be had here easily as a non-toxin based insect killer/barrier though.

Kitty litter used to be DE, but it would probably require checking bag labels these days as they now add all sorts of guff to things in order to make them cheaper or more appealing or even an advertisable difference.

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This topic has me wondering - is everyone cleaning their APC after every cook? Not doing so will get hard water build up.

A friend recently purchased one - thought that suggestion was silly, until we screwed off the canister and showed a very healthy coating of hard water scale - after only his first cook! (it looked like it had been dipped in light grey paint).

I have brushes that look like large tooth brushes (came with my Iomega juicer) that I use for the innards of the APC, then screw the end cap off and throw the canister and end cap in with my dish water for a good scrubbing. (use those same brushes for the inside of the canister and end cap. You need to be quite gentle - some of those shafts are pretty thin. (and if you bend the impeller shaft, it’ll grind up against the end cap during operation).

This isn’t about cleaning or not cleaning the unit. It’s about changing or not changing the water. One can still clean the unit with each cook without replacingvthe water all the time.

Heh…I know, but it also got me wondering if anyone’s leaving their APC in the bath, along with the water. :frowning:

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I’m sure someone out there is, and they’ll probably eventually end up on here screaming about “what a piece of crap” the cooker is because they didn’t follow the directions.

I actually found that with the vinegar addition to the water, I don’t have to take the unit apart for cleaning that often. Just once in a while to wipe the gunk off that comes from that little bit of liquid that sometimes ends up on the wrong side of the vacuum seal.

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Vinegar or a little bit of bleach will help keep the water clear for a longer time. I have plenty in the garden that needs watering most of the yer and if a second cook is not planned I will give it to the plants. In the Winter I will use it for the indoor plants. Normally I use the small container unless I am planning a long cook.

I’d be concerned about the bleach damaging the plastic end cap on the newer models. I’m not sure what type of plastic is used for that part, but sodium hypochlorite, even diluted, isn’t known to play nice with some plastics.

I was thinking just a couple of drops but better safe than sorry.

A bit of Vinegar should reduce any amount of mineral build up on the metal surfaces - it shouldn’t damage the metal or plastic used in your bath. But as everyone else has said, remove it from the bath when you’re done with it. Also rinse it off in some clean water after using (you can put that rinsed water into your bath for future too if you plan on saving water)

If you are putting some acid into the water, don’t put any bleach - just don’t mix bleach with stuff - it can be dangerous.
Bleach should not be used as it can both neutralize the vinegar and cause damage to the plastic components.
I’m not sure of the stainless steel alloy used but bleach can also cause corrosion on certain types of Stainless Steel.

You could also avoid all this and just filter your water after each use or as necessary…