Friday, April 22, 2005

De-ionized water

"Can you just run out back and grab the de-ionized water for me?" I was asked befor service the other night.

"Oh, yes. Of course. I saw it next to the liquid nitorgen, right?" I replied.

A conversation spoken in almost every kitchen across the globe, isn't it? hmmm....

I never did find the de-ionized water, but in the next few days, I did find a wealth of information regarding it.

De-ionized water is as close to perfect H2O as it comes. It is just H2o in pure form, nothing else. Water from the tap contains trace minerals. The water here is considered "hard" water meaning that it contains a bit of calcium. Water itself loves to hold minerals. Which means that de-ionized water will actually pull aluminum out of the pans or minerals out of of our bodies if we drink a lot of it.

It is also known here as battery water, for the batteries in old cars. Because it is free of any other molecules de-ionzed water doesn't conduct electricity. It is actually the minerals in the water that are the conductors.

To de-ionize water you first pass it through a membrane filter, then run it across a magnetic field.

The first thing the de-ionized water was used for at The Fat Duck was to cook green vegetables. It keeps them greener for a very calculated reason. The chlorophil in green vegatables has a magnesium molecule in its center. Calcuim, which is quite strong in the water here, would much rather be inside the chlorophil than in the water. So it will bully it's way in, push the magnesium out, and nest there. In the meantime, the transfer of molecules in the chlorphil breaks it down and creates the dull greyish color. It is possible that the minerals in the vegetables are being pulled out, but only on the surface. There are enough minerals throughout the entire vegetable to make eating it a healthy venture.

Lentils also benefit from being cooked in de-ionized water. It helps to break down the the structure of the lentil into a much better feel in your mouth. The explination given to me was very long and had a lot of scientific words like starch, and gelatinous, etc...

The biggest user of this water in the restaurant is the steam iron. It uses so much water that it will collect calcium deposits from the tap water. Also, if used to rinse glasses, no water spots will remain when dried.


Anonymous Robert Carnegie said...

Hi... are you sure that de-ionized water is made with a magnetic field? I can't find anyone else saying so - except for people selling magnets to fit to your water pipes to make hard water go away by magic. Which is what I was looking for when I came here...

I've found descriptions of two procedures - distilled water with a chemical anti-corrosive additive (so not pure water and not really for drinking), and a sophisticated multiple ion-exchange treatment that somehow shuffles all ions out of solution; the water goes through a couple of boxes, the chemicals stay in the boxes and only water comes out. At least the ionic chemicals.

A home ion-exchange treatment box only removes hard water by swapping calcium ions in the water for sodium ions in the box. So you don't get lime scale or detergent problems but you do get water with a little sodium salting, which isn't healthy. Conversely, hard water may be better to drink than that.

If de-ionized water removes minerals from the body, then I wonder why anyone bothered to invent chelation therapy, an aggressive alternative medicine heavy-metal purging procedure which occasionally kills people.

November 06, 2005 4:30 PM  

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