This is a carefully selected sponsored post, and is the third of five in a sponsored series that I am working on with BRITA as part of their Better with BRITA campaign. In this post, I explore the differences between cooking with tap water and BRITA water. For information on sponsored content on Eat Like a Girl, please have a look here

I am asked often what is my favourite meal, restaurant, country to travel to or my favourite drink. It often occurs to me, in terms of drinking at least, that we almost always overlook the most important one of all, the one we need and the one that is most refreshing. Simple water. As a child I drank so much water my father had me checked at the doctor to make sure there was nothing wrong with me. (There wasn’t, naturally!).

Like most, when out and about I drink bottled water but at home I reach for the filter. I don’t want impurities in anything that I eat or drink. I wash most things before I eat them, and I take care to buy food that hasn’t been tampered with all that much. Shouldn’t I be thinking about what is in my water? Of course I should. And I do. 

I am working with BRITA on this Better with BRITA campaign but I have been using a BRITA jug for years, keeping it topped up in my fridge ready to go whenever I am thirsty. I really notice a flavour difference when I drink it, over tap water.

Using BRITA for drinking water makes a lot of sense, in terms of finances (so much cheaper than bottled water), especially for a Londoner or any urban dweller. But, using it for cooking, have you thought about that? I must confess that I hadn’t. Boiling kills most beasties so I didn’t give it a second thought. But, should I be using my BRITA filtered water for better flavour in my cooking? 

BRITA says:

Mains water is strictly controlled but it can contain carbonate hardness (limescale), for example, that impairs its taste and appearance. A BRITA water filter is an easy but highly effective way of reducing this: 

The carbonate hardness (calcium and magnesium ions) in the mains water is reduced.
The free and bound chlorine content is reduced (if present).
The lead or copper content in the mains water, which can be increased by corresponding domestic installations, is reduced.

BRITA filtered water provides you and your family with the ideal basis for aromatic hot drinks such as coffee and tea; it is ideal for cooking and it is even good for your domestic appliances, protecting them effectively against limescale build-up.

So, using BRITA should mean that the water that I cook with won’t contain as many taste impairing materials in it, but is this a difference that I would notice? I had to see. To understand this properly, I ran a few tests (ever the scientist, you can take me out of the lab but some of the lab remains in me), comparing the results of food cooked with BRITA water, and with tap water. We rely on water so much when we are cooking, if you think about the many ways, it is striking. Washing ingredients (veg, salad), boiling, steaming, cooking by absorption (risotto), soups, stews, it is endless.

The differences weren’t obvious in dishes with strong flavours, but the taste differences in light dishes were subtle but clear. Limescale, of which there is much in my water, can dull the flavour of a dish. In terms of cooking, I love pasta and eat it all the time, so it made sense to do a comparison test there. There was a taste difference with light pasta dishes (any sauce disguised any differences e.g. with a ragu), but also, surprisingly, there was a texture difference. The water that wasn’t filtered affected the texture of the pasta when it was cooked in, making the pasta stickier. What?! I know, I was surprised too. This seems due to the limescale, and research on this reveals that Helen of Food Stories found this too (and has a very solid scientific explanation revealing that it is due to the acidity of the water affected by the limescale).

So, am I sold? I am. Brighter cooking with no interference from limescale or other impurities tastes better to me. I will stick with filtered water for cooking from now on.



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