Cooking is a household chore that can use up a lot of water if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there are many ways to save water when cooking—about as many as the number of ways to save water in the kitchen.

Speaking of saving water in the kitchen, keep in mind that the water-saving tips below are exclusive to cooking, as well as the different steps involved.

Ways to save water when cooking

* Steam vegetables instead of boiling them.

Steaming uses about an inch of water rather than two or more cups, and is a lot healthier too. To get the most benefits from steaming, however, make sure to use a decent steamer.

* Instead of using a colander, use a bowl!

Because of the considerable size of the bowl, using one will automatically limit how much water you run. Swish around vegetables in the bowl, then pull these out—a few things can be washed in that same water if they aren’t too dirty and if cross-contamination does not bother you that much.

* Reuse the water.

Add the water that was used for boiling pasta or potatoes to soups, stocks or sauces. This not only saves water but will add flavor and body to your cooking. You can also use the water for washing vegetables to water plants in your garden. Remember to remove floating food bits afterwards so the water is safe to use for watering plants in your garden.

* Peel away the dirt.

Peel off dirt on vegetables instead of rinsing them away so you can save money on water.

* Defrost frozen meat in your fridge. This is also more hygienic, as the meat will stay at a constant, safe temperature

Place frozen food in the fridge the day before you need to cook them instead of using fast-flowing water from the tap to defrost them. While this option is a slow-defrost method, at least electricity will be the only resource you’ll be using.

* Create one-pot meals.

One-pot meals are easy to prepare, and this ease of preparation, in turn, means easier cleanup once you’ve finished your meal.

* Soak all the small stuff.

Place small utensils and silverware in a container filled with water. Let these utensils and silverware soak the entire day so that a lot of water won’t be needed to wash them clean and so that these are practically clean enough for the dishwasher. No more peanut butter and sauce coatings. No more hardened food bits. No more greasy feeling on surfaces of all utensils and dishes.

* Use rainwater to your advantage.

If rain falls regularly in your place, consider using it for cooking. To truly benefit from the use of rain, set up a rainwater harvesting system in your home. This type of system is usually composed of a catchment made of unpainted metal, a number of pipes, any number of cheap water tanks (depending on the amount of water that falls in your place every year), a decent number of filters (just enough to make collected rainwater safe to drink), and a pump.

For your filters, consider the use of reverse osmosis filters, nanofiltration membranes, and microfiltration membranes. These filtration methods involve pushing water through certain materials so they are cleaner as a result.