Virtual water is the “invisible” water that must be used to produce any product you consume: clothes, vehicles, and food. Whether it’s water used to irrigate crops, water drunk by farm animals (and the water to grow the crops that are fed to those animals), water used in factory processes, and water needed for transportation, the food you eat in a single day can quickly outpace the water you use in your shower and your lawn.
The solution is clear: never eat anything ever again.
OK, so maybe the solution is a little less clear. Trying to cut back on your virtual water consumption can involve heavy research to determine which foods are good for the planet and which aren’t. It involves cooking for yourself under conditions where you can control what processes go into meal preparation. And we’ve done a bunch of the legwork for you, compiling our favorite virtual-water-saving recipes.
For example, hummus is a super-versatile food because you can munch on it as a snack or even make a whole meal out of it. It’s vegetarian (which is important, because meat as a general rule is almost always water-intensive), and this recipe serves as a nice template that you can adapt into any favorite hummus variation.
Or how about a real, erm, inauthentic curry? This Midwesterner combined Indian inspiration with the convenience of throwing random leftovers in her cupboard to create a meal-worthy concoction that can be adapted no matter what’s sitting in your refrigerator.
And virtual-water friendly recipes don’t always have to be healthy, even if they are heavy on fruits and vegetables. The first recipe we ever posted was a dessert alternative to water-guzzling chocolate, and is every bit as sweet and tasty as more guilt-inducing sweets.
The key, though, isn’t that you should use our blog as your primary recipe book. Instead, make a couple of wise choices with what you eat to expand your water-savings into your meals. Do you have a favorite recipe that’s low in virtual water content? Share it!