Is Hard Water Safe For Cooking?
Whenever it comes to cooking, water is an important part of food preparation. Either we use it as an ingredient in our recipes, for the boiling process, or even to wash the meat and vegetables before preparing them, water plays a major role in cooking.
Stop for a second and think about the last time you cooked something without using water. Most likely the only thing you managed to prepare in your kitchen without using water was a basic sandwich.
But have you ever wondered if the water you use for cooking is completely clean? Given that 85% of American household water is hard water, as long as you do not use any water filtration solution in your home, the water you use for cooking is full of hard minerals.
Hard Water Vs Soft Water
You can find out if the water in your house is hard just by checking your dishes, bathtub, or showerhead. If you discover stains on their surface, this is due to the evaporation of hard water that leaves deposits of hard minerals behind like calcium and magnesium.
To better understand the impact of hard water in your home, check this table of concentrations of dissolved calcium and magnesium in soft and hard water accordingly to PMC – US National Library Of Medicine.
Dissolved Calcium And Magnesium
Milligrams per liter (mg/l)
Grains per US gallon (gpg)
1ppm = 0.058 grains / US gallon
Of course, stains on surfaces are just a quick test that can confirm the presence of hard water in your home. To find out the level of hard minerals in the water you use, check a water sample at a specialized laboratory. The results will show you exactly what kind of water you use at home according to the metrics in the table above.
For more information about hard water, testing methods for the level of hardness in your water, and the possible dangers of not treating hardness over time, read our previous article on this topic.
General Effects Of Hard Water In a Household
When they first hear of it, many people are questioning if “is it safe to drink hard water?”. There are no major risks in drinking hard water, but its effects do not stop here.
In the long run, water hardness can cause problems for your skin and scalp due to its high amount of hard minerals. The result is dry, lifeless hair, and rough skin. Another side effect of water hardness is the mineral deposit left on your clothes after washing them. In time you will notice that the fabric of your clothes is no longer as velvety as it was when you bought them, and the white ones can easily turn their color into a faded yellow.
Not least, perhaps the most severe impact of hard water is shortening the life of the appliances you've invested in or even causing them irreparable damage. We all know how much a washing machine, or a brand-new refrigerator can cost. When you make such an investment, you expect your appliances to last forever and a day. Unfortunately, hard water can ruin your hopes…
The Impact of Hard Water on Your Food
As we have mentioned above in this article, is it safe to drink hard water, but it can influence the cooking process in some ways. Unless you are using bottled water to prepare your meals, the water you use for cooking contains hard minerals. Even if there is no concrete evidence that hard water has negative effects on health, it still influences the taste, smell, color, and even texture of the food you cook at home.
This means that no matter how hard you try to choose the freshest ingredients, follow the recipes strictly and add the most flavorful spices to your dishes, the effects of hard water will inevitably influence your results.
Certain recipes ask you to boil some ingredients or maybe you just like to boil your meat or vegetables before eating them. Therefore, if the boiling process involves hard water, you will notice that the color and texture of your foods will change. This happens because dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium are significantly affecting the appearance of whatever you are boiling with hard water.
Many people avoid boiling their food even if this is a healthier alternative. They rather prefer to fry it because it tastes much better this way. What they don't know is that the poor taste of their food may be due to the water in which it was boiled.
Moreover, the struggle of boiling beans is real for those with hard water issues. Sometimes it takes an eternity to boil dried beans such as peas, rice, or beans because of the calcium and magnesium they are absorbing.
Choosing the right type of yeast for baking is already a difficult task for those who want to bake something at home. With so many options available on the market, it is hard to tell which one is the best product when you are about to bake something in your own kitchen. However, after passing this step and choosing a recipe, there is nothing that can go wrong... Unless you use hard water to dissolve your yeast.
Because it is a living organism, the yeast will be instantly affected by the hard minerals in the water used for dissolving it. The result is a dough that has not grown enough, with a rough texture. Either you are trying to bake bread, cake, or any kind of pastry, it won't have the shape and size you imagined if you use hard water in the process. This is quite frustrating thinking that baking can take more than half a day in some cases.
· Preparing homemade sauces and drinks
We all know the health benefits of cooking at home instead of eating commercial foods full of preservatives and chemicals. The same goes for homemade sauces. Why buy ketchup or mayonnaise regularly when you can prepare these in your kitchen?
Well, if you use hard water to do this, you will definitely be disappointed with the taste of your tomato sauce. Therefore, you will probably want to buy a sauce bottle from the supermarket and never try to prepare it at home.
This is the result of excess calcium and magnesium that changes the taste of your sauces, regardless of the quality of the other ingredients. The same happens with coffee, teas, soups, or fruit juices. Even if it is safe to drink hard water, this won't matter as much when the taste of your morning espresso doesn't make you happy.
Best Ways to Treat Water for Cooking
And because most recipes require water, you can't just skip adding it to your food while cooking. What you can do instead is improving the taste and appearance of home-cooked food by finding an effective solution to treat water hardness.
Fortunately, there are many water softening solutions available today that can remove minerals from hard water, as we have discussed in other articles before. Here are some of our recommendations.
- The Reverse Osmosis System
One of the best ways to soften the water used for cooking is a Reverse Osmosis System. This device uses a semi-permeable membrane that retains water impurities and contains four or five filters through which water passes before it is ready for consumption.
Therefore, water is forced to enter through the filter membrane that only allows water molecules to pass, blocking all contaminants which can't get to the other side because of their larger size.
In general, this system is only used to filter drinking and cooking water because it is not the most efficient whole-house filter.
- The Salt-based Water Softener
Many people believe that a salt-based water softener is the most effective way to filter water in their homes.It has gained popularity over time because it is one of the first hard water filtration systems to appear on the market.
We can agree that a salt-based water softener manages to successfully combat the effects of hard water, but in the case of water used for drinking and cooking, the taste and smell of salt may not be to everyone's liking.
The ion exchange process changes hard minerals with sodium ions, leaving your water with a salty taste and smell. Although this is not a problem for some people, it can still be harmful to those trying to keep the salt out of their diet.
Moreover, if you have decided to use a salt-based water system, be prepared to constantly buy bags of salt because it needs a constant supply to regenerate.
- The Water Conditioner
As the name suggests, this device was designed to act as a conditioner for hard minerals. Therefore, it will not remove them but will change their chemical composition in such a way as to reduce the scale in your pipes. When it comes to the water used for cooking, some conditioners can remove the bad smell and taste from your water. However, hard minerals will still be present, which is not that bad thinking of their healthy properties for the human body.
Therefore, if you need a device to combat hard water in your entire home, our Yarna water descalers CWD24, CWD30 and CWD48 can work together with a filtration solution specially designed for cleaning water for cooking and drinking. This way you will get rid of hard water mineral stains on surfaces, low water pressure, dry skin, and stiff laundry while enjoying tasty food prepared in your own kitchen.
Furthermore, if you are looking for a cost-effective investment, our descalers have a one-year money-back guarantee which you can extend to ten years by simply registering your product on our website here.
All Things Considered
If the food you prepare at home is not as tasty as you expect, that doesn’t make you an unskilled cook. The first thing you should consider when this happens is the quality of your water. Find out the level of its hardness and search for suitable solutions to make sure that the water you use for cooking does not affect the taste and smell of homemade foods.