Thoughts on water wastage

Many of us that live in parts of the world that prefer to avoid wasting water. A lot of energy and infrastructure goes into making our tap water drinkable, and yet so often it gets tipped down the sink after one cooking session. I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit and have some ideas, but I would love to hear what the rest of you think and what ideas you may have.

With some care, your water should be good for at least a couple of weeks before you need to change it. So far I’ve come up with:
• Use a water vessel that is insulated and has a lid with a hole just big enough for the Anova to fit through. This prevents water loss through evaporation during longer cooks, plus it makes the Anova more power-efficient. The lid also prevents air-borne contamination such as dust, insects etc. If you can’t make a hole for the Anova in your lid, fitting the lid between cooks is the next best thing.
• If you’re limited for counter space in your kitchen, position the water vessel somewhere where it’s not in the way, so that you’re not having to empty it and store it between cooking sessions. Consider making space for a permanent setup.
• Think about a cheap aquarium pump/filter - you can get these for $10 or less on eBay. Just don’t run it at the same time as the Anova, they’re not usually thermally rated that high.
• Use the smallest water vessel that you possibly can for the food you’re cooking.
• Strain the water through a double layer of muslin cloth once a week.
• Think about alternative uses for waste water instead of tipping it down the kitchen sink. You could water the garden, empty it into a bucket and mop the floor with it, tip bleach in to it and go on a mad housework spree, top up your grey water tanks . . .

OK, over to you!

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Great topic! For my part, if I let the water cool down I usually use it to water house plants (or window boxes come spring). If it is still warm (often) I use it to wash up the dishes after dinner. Sometimes the cat gets it in his water bowl and on a couple of occasions I have used it to “flush” a toilet (in the US, toilets flush with 6 liters which is about 1 liter less than the volume of my sous vide vessel so it’s not too wasteful). I am considering getting an insulated vessel and just re-using the water for sous vide but I need to devise a storage spot for the held water.

Interesting discussion. I think you can use a couple of drops of bleach or (even better) calcium hypochlorite to keep your vessel water safe virtually indefinitely.
See here: http://survivaltopics.com/better-than-bleach-use-calcium-hypochlorite-to-disinfect-water/

@“Tal Nizani” Many thanks for that link, very useful information. I’m gonna add some to my shopping list this weekend. @jordan - any info from your techs about the consequences of long-term diluted calcium hypochlorite exposure to the Anova unit? Would we be best off removing and rinsing it between cooks?

@"Tal Nizani" Many thanks for that link, very useful information. I'm gonna add some to my shopping list this weekend. @jordan - any info from your techs about the consequences of long-term diluted calcium hypochlorite exposure to the Anova unit? Would we be best off removing and rinsing it between cooks?

Any chemists want to jump in here? For now, I’m going to err on the side of caution with this method until I have a more concrete answer and I’ll get back to you once I’ve got an answer from the engineering team. I’ve heard of people using diluted chemical solutions for an hour or two to effectively clean off scaling, so my guess would be that if you went this route, removing it between cooks would be best, but submerging for longer periods of time…I’m not sure…

Will get back with more than my own assumptions on this one!

Plant-watering is the first thing that springs to mind, but I’ve got to consider that - because I live in the woods twenty minutes west of Ottawa Canada and I’m on well-water - anything I pour down the sink ends up feeding my own water table. I’ll grant you this - Simon’s comments have me thinking about water usage. Perhaps I can moderate my consumption… if I’m cooking fewer items, can I reduce the volume of my cooler-cum-sous vide vessel by adding a few solid objects - like bricks (the old toilet tank reduction game)? Maybe build a smaller cooler?

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You can also go in the other direction @Kevin and cook large batches all at once for refrigeration (if you have a vacuum sealer, not recommended if you use ziploc bags). The cooking kills bacteria and pathogens in the food, and since it’s vacuum sealed it won’t get re-contaminated. I have chicken breasts in the fridge I cooked over a week ago, as I need one I just pull one out and reheat it (or eat it cold). Maximum efficient use of the water, of power, of time and energy, and a ready supply of cooked chicken on demand. Not sure how well it works for anything other than chicken, come to think of it. I will have to do some tests.

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