Home Cooking: How Do You Boil Water?

One of our favorite recipes at Epicurious is, essentially, a recipe for boiled water. It has nearly 800 comments - some amused, some indignant, some clever, some silly.

A couple favorites:

The only think that could possibly improve this recipe would be to add a nice, clean, smooth rock to make "Stone Soup." Delicious.

I followed the recipe, and it looked delicious. But it literally burned all the way down, I had to be hospitalized! Horrible recipe!!

I work at a hospital. I am going to pass this recipe on to their kitchen. It will be a definite improvement on their current menu. Thank you.

But the fun leads into a serious question for Home Cooking month: How do you boil water? You've often heard the disparaging comment for a new cook: "He can't even boil water." Is that really so? Is there anyone who can't boil water?

We often forget to give boiling water enough time. We start pasta thinking it will be done in ten minutes and half an hour later we're still waiting for the water to boil!

Here are a few water boiling tips as we get back to basics this month at The Kitchn.

• Salt for flavor - not heat. McGee and Corriher give completely persuasive scientific demonstrations of how salting water does not make it boil faster. It does, however, make your boiled food taste better. If you follow Epicurious' instructions you'll add a tablespoon of salt for every 4 quarts of water.

• Use a heavy pot - it retains heat better.

• Cover the pot! Basic physics. This will help less heat evaporate and help your water boil faster.

• Start with a kettle. Sometimes it's easier to start with a kettle-full of (quickly!) boiled water from our electric kettle, poured into the pot.

Any more tips for boiling water quickly and well?

• Get the recipe: Salted Water for Boiling at Epicurious

Related:: How To Cook Rice On the Stove

(Image: Flickr member ilmungo licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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