It is said, that the water you use to cook pasta should be as salty as ocean water. So can I simply use ocean water to cook my pasta without adding salt to it?

  • 6
    Ocean water has a lot of other stuff in it that probably wouldn't contribute positively to the flavor of your pasta. – SourDoh Dec 18 '14 at 20:31
  • 2
    If you are happy with the taste of the ocean water after it's been boiled I'd say go with it. – Mr. Mascaro Dec 18 '14 at 20:54
  • 5
    Do you live close enough to the ocean where transporting multiple gallons of water to your kitchen is more practical than filling the pasta pot from the tap? – logophobe Dec 18 '14 at 22:29
  • 1
    @logophobe The issue is whether it's more convenient than buying salt! – Cascabel Dec 18 '14 at 23:14
  • 1
    Is this really true, for all pasta? I never knew you needed so much salt in the water :-S – connersz Dec 19 '14 at 14:38

You certainly can. There are a few things to consider before popping down to the beach and grabbing a bucket.

  1. Some areas of the sea are highly contaminated with toxins. Look for some sort of signage to give you a hint, OR look for fishermen. If they feel safe with the fish they are catching I'd be inclined to think the water was also fine.

  2. Sea water is, as you know, very VERY salty. On average around 35g per Liter. So you may benefit from using half tap and half sea water.

  3. Be sure to boil the water for a few minutes before adding any food, just to be sure any harmful "biological organisms that might contaminate the water".

Another consideration, you may be interested in, would be harvesting your own salt from the sea water. That way you have more control over the amount penetrating your food/blood stream.

  • 1
    The CDC says you need to boil water for only one minute below 2000 feet (and if you're doing this you're at sea level). If you're cooking pasta, you're surely boiling longer than one minute, so I wouldn't think you'd need to pre-boil it. – Cascabel Dec 18 '14 at 23:06
  • 1
    I know this, I still felt it necessary to raise the point. Sometimes my 50L stock pans, at work, never come to a full boil. – Doug Dec 18 '14 at 23:17
  • 5
    You'll want to avoid cooking with seawater when there's red-tide in the area. Saxitoxin is nasty stuff. It's quite potent and it's heat stable: whoi.edu/science/B/redtide/illness/psp.html – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 19 '14 at 3:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.