Drought-Friendly Foods – Make Sure Your Culinary Choices Don’t Run Dry

By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – August 3, 2016 – Comment

August has arrived, which means we are officially in the midst of the hottest and driest days of the year. Those who have been lucky enough to avoid any sort of drought conditions so far may soon get a glimpse of the extremely dry conditions that have been affecting others, especially out west. To put it in simpler terms, lack of rainwater is a problem no longer confined to one coast. In addition to California, the Northeast, Southeast, and northern High Plains are being affected by drought conditions. 

I’ve discussed some efforts in California to increase water supply and reduce water consumption (you can read that blog post here), but today I thought it may be helpful to talk about what YOU can do in your own kitchen. From shrinking food supplies to changing habitats, droughts can be harmful in a variety of ways. I know community members are often asked to be mindful of water consumption, but what about other ways in which we can be responsible consumers?

While we can all work on watering our lawns less, not filling up swimming pools, and limiting other unnecessary activities that are culprits of high water consumption, eating food is something that I know most of us would not like to be sacrificed if possible. 

I came across this article from Wired and thought the topic was a fresh one. The article includes ‘5 Rules for Drought-Friendly Cooking’ along with a summer recipe that will inspire you get creative while being mindful of water consumption in the kitchen.

To briefly sum it up, here are the five points they recommend taking into consideration when cooking: 

1. Eat chicken, not beef – chicken uses only 15% of the water it takes to “grow” a steak.

2. Load up on leafy greens such as escarole, spinach, and lettuce.  They are among the least water-intensive crops. Grow your own to cut the impact of a salad even more!

3. Look for dry-farmed products.  Dry farming is a technique that deprives the plants of water, so crops like tomatoes produce fruit with a more intense flavor.

4. Pick pistachios over other nuts.  They drink about a quarter of the water of its peers.

5. Buy some crops from out of state.  Crops that are more water intense (e.g., wheat, rice) may be better obtained from areas not affected by drought.

Our ever-changing environment can often be overwhelming. There’s never going to be a ‘fix-all’ solution for the issues our earth is facing but we can’t forget that each and every one of us can begin to make a difference. I definitely recommend checking out the article for more details!   And be sure to remind yourself that change can start in your very own kitchen.