Do you start off with cold water?

jasdipFebruary 25, 2012

I've read a few times that there's more potential of having lead in the hot water pipes. So using cold water and bring to a boil is safer.

I've just started doing this over the last year. Never gave it a thought to using hot water to start things to boil faster. What do you do? Water for pasta, water in the kettle, etc.

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I always start with cold water. The water heater is so far from the kitchen faucet that it takes a long time to arrive. Even longer with the newer lo-flow kitchen faucets. Also, like you, I've read about stuff leaching into hot water at a higher rater than cold.

Kinda' off topic...saw one of those 'chowtips' about starting pasta in cold water. The pasta doesn't stick together. So I tried it w/ elbows a couple of nights ago and sure enough, they didn't stick together. The tip was about cooking spaghetti--starting with cold water and cooking it in a saute pan! IOW's, cold water & not much of it! Reminds me that I need to tell DSII because he often cooks small servings of spaghetti & pkg'd mac/cheese.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:23AM
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Cilantro, do you mean put the pasta in cold water and bring it to a boil? I've never heard of that.
I've always thought that if you have lots of water, the pasta won't stick.

I saw that skillet idea a while ago on Yahoo then forgot about it. (what are IOW's?)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:03AM
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I grew up in a house that undoubtedly had some lead in the was built in 1904 or so. I was always taught to let the water run until it's cold before drinking or using it for cooking, and although my house now has copper plumbing I still do that.
I think water tastes better if it hasn't been sitting in the copper or galvanized pipes in your house.
As for boiling pasta in cold water and a small amount of it, there are people who "cook" pasta in a thermos.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Jasdip, I have no idea where I first learned to allow water to run until cold before using. And even though I live in a new-ish home, I still do it today.

Btw, whenever I need water to come up to a boil quickly, I turn the burner on high, and place a lid on the pot.
IOW = in other words.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I always start with cold water.
Like Ci_lantro's, our water heater is too far,
Letting it run until it gets hot
Would be very wasteful.

And like Sol,
If I need it hot fast,
the burner goes to high,
And a lid is put on the pot.
Or I do it in the microwave.

I've never heard of putting the pasta into cold water,
I'm going to try that soon! ! !


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 11:46AM
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I've done this at least half a dozen times now after seeing it last year as Chow Tip video by Harold McGee. It works really well for pasta for the two of us. I haven't tried it for a larger quantity but it should be fine. I think the video is still a current Chow Tip but I've posted a link to the same video on YouTube.


Here is a link that might be useful: Harold McGee on cold water spaghetti

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 12:27PM
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I don't know if hot water heating systems are designed for drinking or for food cooking use.

Not too many water tanks are made with stainless steel. Most are coated with a rust proofing coating. Some might even have sacritficail metal rods in the tank.

Electric heaters will have electric heating elements of unknow metal submerged in the tank.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 1:49PM
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NEVER use the water from your water heater
for anything that goes in your mouth.
Most people don't have their heaters
cranked up high enough to kill bacteria,
(mine is set for 120 deg.),
and they thrive in that nice warm environment.
I suppose if you boil the water, it's a moot
point, but I still don't like the idea.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 2:46PM
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I was told that water from the water heater was a good way to get emergency drinking water after an earthquake. Of course I also keep chlorine bleach to treat water that might be questionable, and I also have a propane burner for boiling emergency water. Now we have a hot tub with many gallons of water that can be boiled for drinking in an emergency.

I always start off with cold water when boiling pasta or anything else.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Lee, thank you for posting that video.
I'm definitely going to try that.

I never use as much water as the pasta packages say to,
I've found it really doesn't take that much.
But I have always brought it to a boil first.
And I've also found that how 'sticky' it gets
has a lot more to do with brand
than the amount of water.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Our water heater is a long way from our bathrooms. I save the cold water in a bucket to water plants, etc. To heat water quickly for cooking, I use the electric kettle.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Cross post from the Kitchen Table, with very good info from lazypup.

Here is a link that might be useful: hot water

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Jasdip--Lee (lsr) posted a link to the Chow Tip I was talking about.

IOW= In other words.

Apolgize for not getting back to you sooner. Haven't been spending much time on the computer...busy working on the kitchen.

I've always added pasta to lots of boiling water w/ a tablespoon of so of cooking prevent sticking. Cover the pot and bring back to a boil & then turn off the heat. Set timer for 6 minutes (for spaghetti).

A month or so ago, I saw a tip that said the oil doesn't do a thing to prevent sticking so I quit adding the oil. Now, I've seen the tip to start pasta in (much less) cold water and tried that with elbows (didn't stick.) Kinda' funny when ya think about's like learning how to boil water all over again!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 4:38AM
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There are other interest videos at that chow tip site. I'm going to try the spaghetti idea next time...I think it will be easier to do in a large skillet anyway. I never have used the huge quantities it says to for boiling pasta though and have never had a problem with it.

The only new idea for cooking pasta I have tried recently is to cook lasagna noodles in a 9X13 dish and lay them out and poor boiling water over then...leave for 30 minutes. I had a problem with that though, the noodles stuck together so if you try that, make sure you jiggle them around a bit so they don't stick. Luckily only a couple stuck and it didn't present much of a problem in my lasagna. Usually I don't even cook the noodles first but this time I was using whole wheat pasta which I wasn't sure about.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 7:51AM
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When I use a pot I take cold water and heat it to boiling then add the pasta, though I've used the electric frypan a number of times and I like using that since it heats so quickly. The cold water thing is interesting. Not sure it really would save much time though.

I used to "jump start" things by using hot tap water, however with the softener on the hot water (and not on the cold in the kitchen) I didn't like the softened and occasionally salty water for cooking. When that sunk in and that was after hearing about avoiding using softened water for cooking I quit using it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 5:38PM
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