A drought is an extended period of time when a region experiences little to no rainfall or precipitation. Droughts can impact the meals we cook and the amount of water we use in our homes. Therefore, it’s helpful to have some advice on how and what to cook during these times. Here are 10 tips for cooking in the middle of a drought.
Be Aware of Drought Seasons
The first tip for cooking in the middle of a drought is to be aware of drought seasons. Staying prepared in emergency situations is an essential priority, especially when it comes to a food supply. Depending on your particular location, your region may be more susceptible to experiencing droughts and little rainfall. For example, desert regions like the American Southwest are more likely to encounter a long drought season than other regions in the country. There are also specific months of the year that are less likely to see plentiful rainfall, affecting crops and food shortages.
Stay Up to Date on Weather
Being aware of regional drought seasons is only part of the equation regarding preparation. It is also important to stay up to date on the latest weather in your area. Meteorologists can generally predict when a drought is likely to occur. Therefore, it’s beneficial to tune in to your local weather channels and keep up with news about levels of rainfall and different factors that may impact food shortages and essential crops. By staying up to date on the current weather patterns, you will be able to prepare appropriately for whatever weather conditions are coming your way.
Prepare in Advance
The third tip for cooking during a drought is to prepare in advance. Staying aware of drought seasons and weather conditions allows you to modify your own behavior accordingly. It’s also helpful to get a food supply ready ahead of time. For example, you can start building a long-term food supply that will last you through emergencies. Stocking up on canned goods and things that won’t expire quickly is always a promising idea. For the purpose of droughts, it’s helpful to start building a supply of foods that require little water to prepare.
Understand Your Water Footprint
Understanding your water footprint is another helpful aspect of cooking during drought season. Because droughts are a period when a region is experiencing little to no precipitation, it is very important to conserve water as best you can. Therefore, being aware of your water footprint will allow you to have an idea of how much water your household and family are using on a daily basis. If you grow your own crops, you need to monitor how much water you use. The more water you use, the more you will experience the consequences of the drought in your daily activities.
Avoid Eating Meat When Possible
The fifth tip for cooking in times of drought is to avoid eating meat when possible. Meat takes a significant amount of water to produce, which means that meat is not the most sustainable option for cooking during a drought. Beef is the type of meat that requires the most water during the production process. If you are able to avoid meat consumption during a drought, it will help to conserve water on a regional scale. Instead of meat, consider plant-based meals with other sources of protein.
Avoid Wasting Any Food
It is also essential to avoid wasting any food when you are experiencing a drought or a period of time with little to no rainfall. There are a few necessary steps to avoid wasting any food products. First, never buy more food or products than you need. For example, if you know you probably won’t use a whole bag of potatoes, avoid purchasing that item. And if you only have two individuals in your home to feed, including yourself, buy smaller portions of products when available.
You can also make the most of leftovers. If you make too much food for one night, store everything in air-tight containers and put them in the fridge so that you can eat them tomorrow.
Avoid Processed Foods
Food processing wastes a significant amount of water and food, so it’s best to avoid it altogether during drought seasons. Aside from the wasted water in times of droughts, you should also avoid eating heavily-processed foods too frequently because of their potential negative health effects.
Purchase Organic Food Products
Another beneficial piece of advice for cooking meals in times of drought is purchasing organic food products. Not only is organic food healthier for you overall, but it also uses much less water to produce. Organic farming typically has more organic material in the soil, and the increased water holding capacity of the organic materials reduces water runoff.
Eat Drought-Tolerant Foods
The ninth tip for cooking for drought season is to eat dought-tolerant foods. There are several crops and foods that actually grow fairly well in times of drought. For example, okra, amaranth, Armenian cucumbers, and some eggplant varieties grow well with little rainfall. If you are able to utilize food and crops that work with rather than against the current weather conditions, you will benefit from it.
Minimize Water Usage When Cooking
The final tip to help you cook meals in a drought is to minimize water usage as you are cooking. You’ll want to reduce the amount of water you use for boiling as you cook and reuse water whenever possible. For example, if you have a water filter system of some kind, you can reuse the water you used to wash your vegetables for something else to avoid waste.
You’ll also want to be careful with how much water you use to wash the dishes and avoid running the dishwasher if it causes too much waste. Instead, make an effort to handwash everything. That way, you can be more in control of how much water you are using to clean up after cooking.
Now that you have 10 helpful ideas for cooking during droughts, you will be ready for the next drought season. Take all the necessary steps to conserve water as best possible, and ensure you are not overusing your limited water supply. NuManna Foundation offers a selection of organic emergency food that will help you to save water and cook meals for your family during a drought.