When we are cooking, no matter what it is, there will always be some sort of use of water. It can be quite confusing sometimes if we don’t exactly know how much water is necessary. Perhaps the recipe comes from a different country, or it’s translated poorly, but you are left wondering how much water you are supposed to use.
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In any case, I often find myself asking, how much water do I really need? How much is 4 quarts of water? How can I measure quarts?
Let’s find out how you can measure your water for next time and never struggle with this again.
How much is 4 quarts of water? How Do I Measure Quarts?
First you should know that a quart consists of 2 pints. Each pint is 2 cups or 16 ounces, which means that a quart is 4 cups or 32 ounces.
Ready for the math? It’s simple. If one quart equals 2 pints, 4 cups or 32 ounces, then 4 quarts equals 8 pints, 16 cups or 128 ounces.
You may want to keep this somewhere in your kitchen handy, or write it down on your phone, or maybe you can use an online converter next time.
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Why Should I Use Water When Cooking?
This may sound like a silly question, but it is actually a very interesting one, as water is many times, an essential part of the cooking process. but also an addition in others.
Some examples of water in cooking include boiling, mixing, steaming, making a broth or cleaning.
You mostly use this process to cook things like pasta, noodles, grains, potatoes, and even meats like chicken. The boiling point of water is 212°F, it may be lower in higher altitudes, or when salt or sugar is added to it.
When water is boiled and held for around 10 minutes, microorganisms are killed, so this method of cooking food is also seen as a safe way to prevent microbe-born diseases.
Using boiling isn’t always appropriate, as it can also reduce the number of soluble vitamins in foods, or be overall a slower method of cooking in certain cases.
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When you mix food, water is the “mixer” between them, and thus must be put in first. This method of using water is used mostly to moisten foods and prevent drying when using a pan or special sauce.
This may be one of the most common uses–aside from boiling–for our usage of water when cooking. Broth is a preparation in which bones, meat, vegetables, fish or grains are simmered in water.
The liquid result is the broth used for other edible liquids such as sauces, gravy, or soup. The broth is also a good way to add flavor to certain foods such as rice or even meats. Try making your own broth to really benefit from the flavor.
Here are some ways in which you can use broth in everyday cooking:Add to stir-fry for flavorReplace oil in sauteed foodsBaste poultry or beef when roasting in the oven for moistMoisten leftovers before reheating in the oven
This process works by putting water in a pan or pot, and let it boil. Once it has boiled continuously, it will turn into steam. This steam then reaches the food and the heat cooks it.
By steaming, your food isn’t directly in contact with the water, but it is in direct contact with the steam. Some of the foods that you would cook by steaming include vegetables, sometimes meat and rice.
The benefits of steaming include: avoiding overcooking, avoiding extra fat, fewer loss of nutrients than boiling.
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When Should I Use Water and When Should I Use Broth or Stock?
Water can often benefit you by saving time and cooking foods faster. However, there are times when you might want to replace water with something more tasty and nutritious as broth or stock. I have already told you what broth is, stock is basically the same thing, except it has pieces of meat or bone in it.
Here is a list of foods that will definitely taste better with water:
Never use broth or stock with pasta, it will basically be a waste. Use water instead and add flavor after it’s cooked.
This is a maybe situation for broth or stock, but most beans, like black beans, already have a ton of flavor, so adding extra flavor from your liquid may make them to dense. Water cooks them just fine without making them mushy.
This one is a tough one, most people would argue that broth or stock benefits the flavor, but the truth is, a lot of these pureed foods have too many ingredients already and using water will not overwhelm the taste.
And now here is a list of the foods that can benefit from using broth or stock when cooking:
When you cook a pot roast or short ribs, adding stock especially will give your dish a better flavor and add nutrients to the meat. Maybe try cooking some short ribs with stock and see how it goes!
This may the most obvious one, but cooking soups is definitely a process in which you will want to use broth–and maybe stock– to add flavor to all your ingredients. Soups are overall more water-y and thus can use the added taste of broth.
When you make sauces in a pan you use very few ingredients, and all of them count. Using stock can add a better taste to your end product.
Rice and Other Grains
You may know this, or maybe not, but when cooking rice and other grains, you should definitely go for broth. The majority of the liquid that is cooking the rice/grains is absorbed and the broth or stock will give your food a better end flavor.
No matter what, keep in mind that making either stock or broth will include water at some point. So water will always be the key ingredient.
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Okay, I Feel Confident About My Use of Water
Are you ready to begin cooking? Check the measurements in your recipe and make sure you remember our little conversion. Four quarts of water is equal to 8 pints or 16 cups, this is a lot of water, but it’s actually common in several recipes.
Tell me what you think, do you use water for something else? Do you have your own yummy stock or broth recipe? How do you steam or boil your foods? I want to hear what you think!