An effective thermal regulator, heat conductor, and source of moisture.

What are the fundamentals of water?

Water is present in most whole ingredients, and is an essential building block of organic matter, although it doesn't provide any energy in the form of calories.

  • Water is effective at transferring and regulating heat, making it a popular thermal medium for cooking in many techniques.
  • Water is part of most natural ingredients (and often makes up a large percentage of their weight), such as in meats, vegetables, and even seeds, nuts, and grains.

Exceptions like pressed oils, rendered , dehydrated spices or grains, & milled flours won't contain water content.

  • Why? Water is crucial for life to exist — but also allows bacterial growth in foods. For this reason, many foods are dehydrated to extend their shelf life.
💡 Energy: 0 calories per gram
🧪 Water-related reactions:
🛠️ Water-related techniques:

Water-rich foods

  • Vegetables & fruits
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Broths

How does water affect the elements of flavor?

In order of importance:

— Water’s ability to exist in all physical forms means dishes depend on water for their textures. An ice cream needs water content to freeze. A sauce needs enough water content to flow. A poached egg requires simmering water, and steamed vegetables depend on water vapor for gentle cooking. A carefully cooked piece of meat depends on internal water content to remain tender.

— We need water to survive. When foods are devoid of water, they taste dry and unappetizing or are hard to eat, chew, and swallow.

— Water allows for so many human experiences tied to food. A sizzling platter of fajitas is not possible without water vapor. A refreshing and balanced cocktail is not possible without enough water dilution.

— Likewise, water is always tied to the color or visual appeal of dishes. A steak that hasn’t been seared properly because of excess moisture might appear grey and unappetizing. However, blanched asparagus is more green and vibrant thanks to its brief water bath.

— Water on its own has no taste but is a great solvent of other ingredients. Thus, it can carry water-soluble flavor compounds that register as any of the five tastes.

— Water has no aroma on its own, but steam can carry volatile aromas, and water can be infused with soluble flavor compounds.