Calling all top chefs and kitchen heroes! Are you aware of the not-so-secret ingredient for better tasting food? If not, it’s about time you started cooking with soft water. Before you jump to the often spouted, and entirely untrue, adage about “high salt content” in softened water, we’ll stop you by suggesting a reverse osmosis (RO) purification system for your kitchen. RO water softeners remove particles larger than .0001 microns. (90% of all contaminants range from .5 to 2 microns.) But all that you need to know is that RO systems filter sodium from their water after it has been softened.
• Even without a RO system, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Sheldon D. Scheps, M.D., eight ounces (237-milliliters) of softened water usually contains less than 12.5 milligrams of sodium. Scheps states that this is, “well within the Food and Drug Administration's definition of ‘very low sodium.’”
• Still a skeptic? Saltless water softeners are even available if you’re unwilling to let go of your salty theory.
Soft Water and Vegetables
If you’ve ever witnessed or personally experienced the epic failure associated with boiling dried beans, split peas or lentils, you’re aware that hard water can be a major hindrance. Your veggies’ flavor, texture and vitamin and mineral content are at risk without soft water. The dissolved calcium in hard water prolongs the boiling and cooking process by strengthening the cell walls of your veggies. The extra time needed for softening can leave your food overcooked and bland. For the best taste and texture, soft water gets the job done in less time without robbing your food of its flavor or content.
Soft Water and Dough
Imagine New York City, a place renowned for its culinary prowess everywhere from high-end restaurants to curbside food carts. Whether you’re enjoying a slice of its oversized pizza, a bite of fresh pasta from Little Italy or popping over to Queens for breakfast at the Bagel Oasis, you’re in for a culinary treat. New Yorkers are privileged in many ways. Not only do they get to live in one of the greatest cities in the world, but also their tap water just happens to be soft. This comes in handy when dough is involved. Pizza, bagels, cannoli and fresh breads are all served up with the perfect texture courtesy of New York’s soft water and food fanatics.
• Hard water makes gluten excessively tough and slows fermentation. This leaves you with dense, tough dough and undesired results.
• The minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc.) in hard water prevent proteins from absorbing water.
Adding a RO water purification system to your kitchen not only provides your home with the purest possible drinking water, but can also assist you in the preparation of your meals. Now that you know what you’re capable with soft water, it’s time to, as Emeril would say, “Kick it up a notch!” To reach new culinary heights, you’ll need to start with the best possible ingredients, water included. You can take your dishes to the next level by making the switch to soft water.