new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Dishes. No big deal without running water?  RSS feed

 
Elizabeth Smith
Posts: 15
food preservation toxin-ectomy wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi everyone! I absolutely love to cook but it can sure make a lot of dishes! I have lived without running water before and doing dishes sure made it less enjoyable. What are your favorite systems for doing dishes sans running/hot water?
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 361
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
18
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Elizabeth, I do pretty much all the cooking for our family of three from scratch. I also really dislike doing dishes! While I don't have particular tips for dishes without hot running water, here are some strategies I have for more efficient dish washing:

*One pot cooking! I do this most days, generally either in the slow cooker, or a casserole dish in the oven. If I am using it every day, I also don't wash it out between uses. It sits covered overnight, and I just reuse it the next day with whatever juices, rendered fats, etc, are left in it. If it's the slow cooker, I often leave the leftover liquid in too, and just carry on cooking with it the next day. Often I will go about a week before I wash out my casserole dish; if it's the slow cooker, by the end of the week, it ends up being a stew with a little of everything! Some people may not be comfortable doing this.

*Have a sink or basin full of hot soapy water at the beginning of cooking, and all dishes go into it, as soon as possible, and are then washed up either during or right after cooking. If there is no hot running water, put on a full kettle when you start cooking, to use as dish water; we had to do this for about a month last winter when our boiler broke down and we couldn't afford to have it fixed. Save up the day's dishes and do them all at once, either last thing at night or first thing in the morning (it's the morning for me).

*Wooden chopping boards do not need to be washed, but can be wiped clean. Very greasy wooden boards can be scrubbed with salt and/or lemon juice.

*I have a separate chopping board (and a separate countertop too) for raw meat, which of course needs to be cleaned after every use. Boards and knives used for vegetables, breads, etc, do not get cleaned after every use--I generally do them after a couple of days' use. We don't really eat bread any more, but when we did, we had a dedicated bread board and knife which almost never got washed--just brushed the crumbs off into the compost tub.

*Relatedly, other items which are for one food only, like the coffee pot, the cheese grater, spice grinder, or whatever, don't need a full wash after every use. Some (like the cheese grater) may not need a wash at all. For instance, I have a dedicated frying pan just for eggs, and it never gets washed. Ever. If egg sticks to it (which is rarely), I melt a bit of butter in it and scrape it out with a wooden spoon.

*Everyone in the house can have their own personal glass or mug, and reuse it throughout the day. I drink several cups of tea and coffee during the day, but only get a new mug out once a day. My water glass can go for a week without washing!
 
Elizabeth Smith
Posts: 15
food preservation toxin-ectomy wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like your ideas for reusing the cutting boards! I would need to find a way to store them in between uses so I did not have 4 cutting boards on my counter all the time.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1256
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Aaw, I typed a long answer but my connection timed out.

I do everything mentioned above.

I haul my water to my personal quarters so I'm stingy with washing dishes. Licking the bowl or wiping it with my last piece of bread sure makes washing easier!

If it's my own daily dishes and not greasy I often just wash with water, not soap.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1256
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Washing the pot was a disincentive to using local grains, but I found a solution. I have some single-serving size covered steel containers called tiffins in India.

Measure and mix the porridge, water and other ingredients in each tiffin. Bring a half inch of water to the boil in the pressure cooker, then stack the tiffins and close it. Simmer at pressure for however long, then pull out the tiffins (wearing a thick rubber glove helps). If you eat right from the tiffins you only have to wash them, not the pot.
 
Elizabeth Smith
Posts: 15
food preservation toxin-ectomy wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rebecca Norman wrote:Washing the pot was a disincentive to using local grains, but I found a solution. I have some single-serving size covered steel containers called tiffins in India.

Measure and mix the porridge, water and other ingredients in each tiffin. Bring a half inch of water to the boil in the pressure cooker, then stack the tiffins and close it. Simmer at pressure for however long, then pull out the tiffins (wearing a thick rubber glove helps). If you eat right from the tiffins you only have to wash them, not the pot.


I saw something like this in the thread about pressure cookers! This seems like an awesome way to make a pressure cooker even more efficient! Might be time to update my ever growing 'wish list' haha.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1256
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I make pasta almost every day and usually don't wash the pot. I save water and keep salt out of my greywater to plant by making it with no extra water. Here's how. Cover the pasta just barely with water in the pressure cooker, and add salt. (Unsalted, it comes out mushy). Bring up to the boil and stir with a chopstick to prevent clumps. Then cover, bring up to just under full pressure, then turn off, optionally cover with insulation such as a dishtowel, and leave for ten minutes. You'll quickly learn how long it needs. If you have added salt and only enough water, it comes out firm, not mushy. I either set the pot aside to dry without washing, or put a cup of water in and rinse the seal area where I dumped the pasta out. But I wash the pot if guests are there or if I've cooked something more than plain pasta.

TMI!
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1256
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another piece of my long reply to get past my poor connection.

I have only one cutting board, two sided. I drew a little "no onions" logo on one side. I don't usually wash it, just wipe the crumbs over the sink, or pour water over it while wiping down with an unsoaped sponge. In the rare event I cook meat, I wash everything but that's really only a few times a year.
 
Galadriel Freden
Posts: 361
Location: West Yorkshire, UK
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Elizabeth Smith wrote:I like your ideas for reusing the cutting boards! I would need to find a way to store them in between uses so I did not have 4 cutting boards on my counter all the time.


I generally have two boards on my countertops at all times, and keep the raw meat board put away when not in use. This way I can also keep an eye on them for when they need cleaning.

One other thing I forgot to mention in my tips above: batch cooking. Make a huge batch of whatever you're cooking: double or triple the amount if you can. I mostly buy joints of meat from my butcher and cook them one day, and use the leftovers for the next few days. Or you could freeze them for future use, if eating roast beef for three days in a row sounds too boring. I have also roasted an entire bag of potatoes before, and frozen the leftovers: it's so much easier to just pop them out of the freezer onto a tray in the oven, instead of having to peel, parboil, and roast a meal's worth.
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 309
Location: Pittsburgh PA
11
chicken duck forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My dogs nickname is prerinse. Dale wants to make a hydroponic dishwasher. Dish water has extra nutrients for animal drinking water. Plants tend to like water. Keep your cooking water. Nutrient rich water. Broth. Warm in a haybox. And re-use it daily. Until you start to use your water, or lack of...you have no clue how much water you actually use.

Wildlife also does a help of a job cleaing plates. And might keep them away from your plants.
 
Samantha Langlois
Posts: 40
Location: Whitefish, MT
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I lived in the northwest arctic of Alaska for several years - all without running water. I think key to minimizing washing dishes is not having many dishes to begin with! Having every family member responsible for their own plate, bowl, cup, and utensils helps on the end of the day dish collection. Keeping hot water on hand for a quick disinfecting rinse can make it easy to reuse a dish rather than let it sit until later in the day when the food has dried on. I liked keeping a big pot with a spigot on it on the stove all the time. So I usually had warm water easy to access.

Enjoy! Congrats for keeping it simple!
 
Bethany Dutch
Posts: 203
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lived without running water/hot water/kitchen sink/sink drain or some combination of the four for the last three years now. Right now my kitchen consists of a range, a mini fridge (and I use the top like a counter), and a sink base with a sink in it, in the middle of the kitchen not connected to anything. I don't have much counter space, obviously, so that also affects it quite a bit.

My solution? It's not very permie but I am HEAVILY reliant on paper plates and bowls. I justify it by telling myself they are "browns" for the compost pile Or fire starting material.

And then, adjusting how you cook is a HUGE one. And I adore cooking, love to cook big meals, and I hate it, but we do a lot of easy prep stuff like sandwiches, etc. My kitchen will be done within the next couple months and I cannot even tell you how excited I am. Gonna be cooking a lot of big fancy meals!

If my kids were older I think I'd do away with the paper plates/bowls and they would each just wash/reuse their own. But they are all pretty young still, so that's not really something I could do without a major headache.
 
Bethany Dutch
Posts: 203
Location: Colville, WA Zone 5b
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh and - HAVING A DRAIN is probably the most important thing. I was surprised at what a big deal it was.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1256
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
126
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a sink, which looks from above like it has a drain, but really it's just got a 15 liter jug underneath, that I carry out to the plants right outside on a regular basis. No taps though, just a (clean) 15 liter jug that I haul up from just over down there.
 
Chris Sargent
Posts: 54
Location: SE Alaska
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Get a dog...a good lab will lick your plates and pots spotless. Those greasy skillets that are hard to really get clean without hot soapy water will be your new "dishwashers" absolute favorite! Be careful of any wooden utensils though...the lab will likely find them to be a great grease flavored chew stick. After the dog is finished a few drops of soap on a wet sponge. Everything gets a quick soapy sponge wipe down. A quick clean water rinse (or sometimes just a wipe down with a clean damp towel) and you're done.

If you really don't want a dog then just make sure to give all the dished a good scraping to remove all the food reside. I have a small plastic scraper that works well to remove all kinds of food residue. You should be able to pick one up at any department store. Key here is to scrape pots, remove food residue as you cook or right after a meal so that you don't let any dry on the dishes. Then a soapy sponge wipe and rinse is all they need.

This is pretty much how we clean when we're camping or at a cabin without water. All the dishes can be done with just a few cups or a small pot of water. Cold water is usually fine. Unless I've cooked something really greasy then it's best to heat up some dish water. If you have a woodstove then keeping a pot of water on it at all times means you can always have some warmer water for washing up.

Also think about what you are using to cook in and how easy it is to clean. I have a variety of stone, glass, corningware, and cast iron baking dishes. Baked on crude is easiest to remove from the enameled cast iron dutch oven and a high quality enamel casserole dish I have. It's my go to for baking because no matter how cooked on and cruddy the residue is it will pretty much just wipe right off. Not like my glass dishes which always require soaking and scrubbing. For skillets I prefer cast iron and a well seasoned one needs very little cleaning. High quality pots with good thick walls and bottoms and made from a good quality metal will be easier to clean (and provide better cooking) mostly because they don't get those annoying hot spots that cause food to burn and stick. I don't know what you cook with right now but investing in some high quality pots and bakeware could make both cooking and cleaning easier.
 
it's a teeny, tiny, wafer thin ad:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!