“Rice water” may conjure images of plant-based dairy alternatives or a new diet trend, however rice water is simply the leftover water from rinsing rice before cooking it. And surprisingly there are quite a few uses for it both in the kitchen and around the house.
To make rice water all you have to do is set aside the water you use to first rinse your rice before cooking it.
In the Kitchen
Cooking Vegetables and Meat
Parboiling bitter or astringent vegetables, such as daikon radishes, mushrooms, burdock roots, carrots, potatoes, and taro roots, in rice water can remove some of the trash flavors and strong odors. Simmering meat such as pork belly in rice water also helps to remove fat and make it more tender.
Rice water contains some cleaning properties and considering how many times we wash our hands when cooking, using rice water can save water.
Soaking Dirty Dishes
This helps to conserve water while also loosening stuck-on foods and grime that would be more difficult to remove when soaking in tap water. It also helps to remove strong odors such as from fish.
Soaking a sponge or rag in rice water utilizes its cleaning properties as well as being more natural and sustainable when compared to soap water.
Around the House
Rice water is a great everyday household cleaner. Put some in a spray bottle and use it as a cleaner to add shine to floors to clean the dirt from bathtubs.
Rice water is great for our wellness. Historically people have used rice water to clean their hair and bodies. For silkier, more hydrated hair, try using it after you shampoo by allowing your hair to dry before rinsing it with rice water, followed by another rinse. You can also massage your skin with the top layer of the rice water to use it as a cleanser, leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized.
Rice water is full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can be good for plants and also recycles the water we’re already using.
About the author: The spark that lit Kevin Kilcoyne’s interest in Japanese culture began in elementary school through a friendship with his then classmate Keisuke. Since then, that passion has evolved and bloomed to encompass more than just video games and manga, leading Kevin to live in Japan as a participant of the JET program. During his time in Japan, Kevin sought out as many foods as he could, the experiences and taste memories lingering long after they had gone. Now he is forging a path to link his passions for Japanese food, history, and visual culture and is planning for his return to live in Japan once again. For now, you can find Kevin on Instagram (@waruishouten) where he posts his photography and illustration work. Keep an eye out for more posts and updates as Kevin delves more deeply into his passions for writing and food!