Rice is a staple across the globe, particularly in Asian and African homes. As we all know, rice is prepared by boiling in water. Imagine the volumes of water used and, more importantly, discarded after draining out the cooked grain. Beyond noble intentions of conserving the environment, rice water can be recycled to your advantage. You just need to learn how.
Why is rice water reused?
As you boil rice, its starch and nutrient contents are leached into the containing water. We can use this nutrient-rich liquid in different ways.
1. Wash Your Dirty Dishes
Being colloidal (tiny solid particles dispersed in water) in nature, rice water makes a great alternative to conventional soapy water. Reuse rice water to wash your dirty dishes. For more greasy dishes though, it is better you use regular soap.
2. Water Your Plants
Being rich in nutrients, rice water serves as an effective fertilizer for your backyard flora. Generously pour this nutritious liquid into the soil holding your home-grown plants. You will be pleasantly surprised when you see how fast and well your pet projects grow.
3. Use It For Cooking
Reuse rice water to cook vegetables like daikon, sweet corn or burdock. The oils and starch in rice water neutralize the overpowering bitterness of these veggies. In this way, you can impart a palate-pleasing sweetness to otherwise bitter-to-eat foods. You may also use the milky white liquid to add flavor to soups.
4. Soak Fish
Before you marinate or slice up your fish for a meal, it’s a good idea to first soak it in rice water. This not only helps get rid of the repulsive fishy smell, but it also makes the fish tender and easier to cook.
5. Clean Stinking Containers
Allow rice water to stand for half an hour in an unpleasant smelling container, and see how easily you get rid of the stench. You may also use this water to clean inaccessible crevasses or contours of your pots and pans.
6. Wash Your Face And Hair
Rice water is rich in vitamins B, C, and E and minerals. This is enough validation for its time-tested traditional use in treating acne, lightening the skin, and strengthening hair.
Rice water stalls the aging process by tightening skin pores, encouraging new cell growth, and increasing blood supply to the skin. Its starch content helps soothe inflammation from eczemas. When washing your face with it, remember to do a final wash with regular water so that your skin pores don’t get clogged. You may alternatively rub a soaked cotton ball all over your face.
Rice water deeply conditions and nourishes your tresses, improves the elasticity of your hair shafts, and reduces surface friction. Do a final wash with rice water, after shampoo and conditioner, to grow beautiful, soft, unusually long, strong locks. Beautiful is an understatement.
7. Shine The Floor, Glass, And Mirrors
Store some rice water in a spray bottle and use it to clean the floor and reflective surfaces. Its colloidal nature helps loosen dust and dirt particles stubbornly clinging to these surfaces and invisible to the naked eye.
- When boiling rice, add water in excess of what is required to obtain perfectly cooked rice. This leaves you with some extra water after the grains have been drained. A 1:3 ratio of rice:water is a good proportion to follow.
- It is advised to boil rice in water (for about 20 minutes) and not just soak it. Boiling helps draw out more starch from the grains, which is what we want.
- Opt for organic rice only. Conventionally grown rice may have pesticide debris on its surface that can contaminate the water used for boiling. This pesticide-containing water can be harmful if applied on your skin or hair.
- Rice water can be stored at room temperature for a maximum of one day. If refrigerated, it can be stored for up to 4 days.