General,  Lifestyle,  Nutrition

The 5 Best-Kept Secret Uses for Sparkling Water +Recipes

My post Is Bubbly Water Bad or Beneficial? 3 Myths Debunked detailed the health benefits of sparkling water.

So now that you know it’s a healthy alternative to soda and other sugary drinks, I’m going to let you in on a little “secret”: seltzer water is good for so much more than just sipping (including some helpful household uses).

Here are the five ways to use sparkling or seltzer water to enhance your eating and drinking experiences and to sparkle up your home.

1. Spruce Up Smoothies

This is my favorite way to enjoy bubbles when they’re bountiful. (I buy Bubly water cans by the case at Costco). If you buy sparkling water in a large bottle, use some for sipping and some for a smoothie supplement before those bubbles go flat.

 Adding sparkling water to smoothies gives them a nice fizzy consistency and keeps them from getting too thick. You can use the flavored sparkling water as a partial or complete substitute for any liquid you normally add in smoothies. An infinite number of combinations are possible.

Some examples:

Very Berry = Blackberry, Cherry or Strawberry Bubly water + mixed berries

Cherry Chocolate or Vanilla = Cherry Bubly water + frozen cherries + cacao powder or vanilla extract

Zesty Melon = Lime + Watermelon AHA with frozen watermelon or strawberries

Antioxidant Fusion= Blueberry + Pomegranate AHA with frozen blueberries and spinach

Pretend Pina Colada = Coconut LaCroix + frozen pineapple and banana

Mock Mimosa = Orange Bubly + frozen banana

If you like to have exact measurements in a smoothie recipe, here’s a special formula for a Unicorn Sparkling Water Smoothie on Green Smoothie Gourmet.

2. Quickly Cook Your Veggies

Did you know that if you place vegetables in boiling sparkling water, they will cook faster and their color will stay more vibrant? This method decreases oxidation and the loss of chlorophyll, which allows the veggies to sustain their naturally bright colors. It also quickly softens the vegetables, which decreases cooking time. Less time cooking time means they will retain more vitamins and nutrients.

Just fill your pot with plain seltzer or sparkling water and bring it to a boil. Then, place your vegetables in the pot and boil on medium for three to five minutes.

3. Better Those Batters

How do you like your pancakes and waffles–flat and floppy or light and fluffy? I prefer the latter, with nice crispy edges on the waffles, which is exactly what fizzy water provides.  For springy stacks of pancakes and light waffles with a satisfying crisp, swap the milk or water for seltzer water in your favorite recipe.

Here’s an Epicurious Buttermilk Pancakes recipe with seltzer water, no substitution required.

Pancake and waffle batters are not the only ones to benefit from bubbles. Tempura and all other batters used to coat fish, meat, and veggies can get a big boost from a splash of seltzer water. The carbonation makes the coating light, airy, and delightfully crispy. Here’s a recipe from Food Network.

4. Add Sparkle for Something Unique

Bubbles in smoothies, veggies, batters; who knew there could even be more? That’s right, a splash of seltzer can add pizzazz to so many foods, including scrambled eggs and cake.

Adding milk or cream makes eggs fluffier. But next time you scramble, try a spoonful of seltzer instead for a lighter, dairy-free option.

What’s more, this “2-Ingredient Cake is the Easiest Dessert You’ll Ever Make.” It includes just cake mix and carbonated water. According to the author, Jenny Park, “Swapping the conventional eggs and oil for carbonated water not only saves you a couple bucks but also cuts out about 50 calories and 7 grams of fat per slice.”

Lightening up scrambled eggs and cake is amazing, but what about when you want something even more unusual?

I’ve got you covered. Here is a really interesting recipe for kimchi pancakes with seltzer water.  

And, if smoothies are a little too traditional for you, try this Persian yogurt drink made with sparkling water or club soda.

5. Fizz Around the House

Now, if you have any carbonated water left over, you can use it in your home as well.

Seltzer water can be used for cleaning: stainless steel, pet stains, rust, windows, and even your face.  Here’s an article with the specifics.

Those fizzes can also be useful for polishing jewelry and freshening your hair color.

 Finally, your growing plants also may benefit from the bubbles. Carbonated water makes plants grow faster and helps green plants grow greener, according to a study by Colorado University Boulder.

Here’s a helpful how-to post.

Ok, so now the sparkling water “secret” is out.

Are there any other ways you use sparkling water I didn’t mention? Please let me know in the comments.

Go forth and sparkle!

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