Everyone probably should practice water conservation, whether there is a crisis or not or whether you live off grid or not. We are not here to tell you what to do, however, we only offer suggestions, but during a crisis you will need to know how to conserve your precious water or you may not survive, so why not start now so you do know what to do when the time comes.
Dried pasta is a staple that many people stockpile for emergencies, but it takes water to cook, or does it. Dried pasta is dehydrated of course, and thus, requires a liquid to reconstitute it so it can be eaten.
One way of cooking pasta without water is to let it simmer in the sauce. It will take longer, but this method works well. Simply pour whatever sauce you plan to use in a pot or even a slow cooker and turn on low heat. Once warmed add the pasta and let cook until done. The sauce may reduce, but you can add some wine, chicken or beef stock or a splash of water to add volume. You can use a skillet to cook pasta using just sauce or other liquids besides water, but it will require your constant attention until done.
You can cook pasta in any type of meat or vegetable stock or use wine as the liquid.
Maybe you don’t plan on using a sauce and do need to use water, but this does not mean that you have to pour the water down the drain when done, nor do you need to use as much as you think. You only need enough to cover the pasta, and you do not need to keep the water at a rolling boil, which will reduce the volume of water.
Save the water for making soups, cooking beans, vegetables or make gravy. The pasta in the water will act as a thickener so a cup of pasta water and some pan drippings adds up to thick, rich gravy.
You can steam vegetables at the same time you cook your pasta or potatoes. Place your vegetables in a metal colander and set over the pot of cooking pasta or potatoes. This saves on fuel and on water.
The starchy water can also be used to water plants after it has cooled to room temperature. Freeze the water for later use if you have to, but never pour it down the drain.
Boiling potatoes, or vegetables, save the water as well and use as described above.
Wash and rinse dishes without letting the water run. Some people will fill up one side of the sink with soapy water and wash their dishes and then allow the water to run in the other side of the sink as they rinse, water that is going down the drain. The rinse water going down the drain is being wasted. Use a dish tub to catch the rinse water and use to water your garden or to flush toilets. The soapy wash water is not recommended for watering plants, but gray water (rinse water) can be used to water the garden. Do not pour on the plants directly, but instead, allow the water to saturate the ground around the plants.
Rinsing produce, then catch the water in a tub or bowl and use to water plants and to flush toilets, as well. You can set aside a five-gallon bucket to collect water in and then carry to the garden or use to flush when you have collected enough.
More On Boiling Water
As we stated above, you do not need to let your water rapid boil the entire time when cooking pasta, potatoes, or even beans. Simmering will get the job done, and you will use less water and fuel.
The steam rising is water going to waste so when cooking potatoes, pasta or other foods, bring the water to a boil and then reduce. Some people actually turn the heat off when the water reaches a boil and then they put the lid on the pot to allow the potatoes or pasta to cook in the hot water. However, this method is not precise, so it is recommended that you reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep an eye on the process, because there is no need to overcook. Keep in mind the less boiling you do the more fuel you will save.