What Is Mineral Water?

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

Water

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Water may all look the same, but mineral water possesses its own nuances. Namely, a lot of minerals added to it. Some claim this water helps boost the minerals in your own body and by drinking it you'll be healthier. There's definitely some clout to that claim, read on to learn more about what mineral water is and why you should incorporate it into your drinking regiment.

What Is Mineral Water?

By definition and FDA regulations, mineral water must contain no less than 250 parts per million of "total dissolved solids" that come from a protected underground water source. That means no lake liquid will grace your bottle of mineral water, instead, this stuff comes from deep in the earth.

Sounds refreshing, right? Turns out it's so much more. We're talking sodium, magnesium, zinc, and calcium, plus other good-for-you minerals, all of which must occur naturally. The same FDA report from April 2018 states, "No minerals may be added to this water." In this regard, you really can taste the land you're drinking from. It also makes sense why some mineral waters get prized above others, so much so they are shipped around the world.

What To Do With Mineral Water

The best thing to do with mineral water is to just drink it. It's a fun way to taste a place you're visiting while also keeping your body hydrated. Some chefs also tout mineral water as the best liquid to use when simmering stock, poaching eggs or fish, creating a soup, making bread, or any other water-forward cooking method where one may taste the subtle mineral nuances. A similar school of thought is found in some bars where mixologists play with different mineral waters in their ice cubes.

Does it make a huge difference? Maybe so, but you would have to train your palate to really pick up these refinements. It certainly can't hurt to experiment a little with different mineral waters in foods and drinks, perhaps you'll find a new recipe that just sings with Rocky Mountain minerals or makes that stew taste even more like home.

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What Does Mineral Water Taste Like?

The same way wine and cheese boast having a terroir, mineral water too can possess the flavor of the land. In areas rich with limestone like Kentucky, you might notice it tastes clear and crisp with a bit of salinity (which is also the supposed reason bourbon from the area remains so popular). If you're drinking mineral water from areas with halite, expect a sharper salty note; and places with a lot of iron in the rocks may have a more metallic tasting water. Overall mineral water tastes like water, and the mineral nuances usually prove subtle. Though, if you have a sensitivity to certain flavors, such as sulfur, you may want to skip the water from beach regions where the mineral is found.

Where To Buy Mineral Water

Any grocery store should have at least one mineral water option, though chances are there will be many. Not all the mineral waters on the shelf will have come from the region you're in, so make sure to read the label and decide what exactly you want. Some will be local, many imported, and some will even come from overseas.

Storage

Keep mineral water in a bottle, glass jar, travel mug, or anything that can safely hold liquid. It won't go bad, and you don't need to keep it cold. The minerals will still be there just as long as you don't boil the water or distill it.

Nutrition and Benefits

Depending on what minerals the water has in it dictates how healthy the drink is for you. None of it is bad, but say you want some more calcium in your body you should seek out Gerolsteiner. Those needing magnesium might want to try a bottle of San Pellegrino; and for people looking to up their bicarbonate, Perrier has a good dose in it. Not that mineral water should ever replace food in a diet, but it can boost your nutrient intake.

Mineral Water vs. Distilled Water

When using a humidifier or steam iron, you may have noticed the device calls for distilled water to be used. This is mineral water stripped of all the minerals, so you're left with a flat, boring, and truly flavorless water. It's great for running machines where minerals might affect metals and gears, but not so great for drinking. Mineral water, on the other hand, tastes like something, and usually, it's something good thanks to all the rocks surrounding the underground caves and wells this liquid comes from. Just remember mineral water for humans, distilled water for machines.

Varieties

Just about any place with a good water source will have mineral water available. Popular brands include Fiji, San Pellegrino, Evian, Voss, and more. There are hundreds of mineral waters from all over the world gracing the grocery store shelves, and some restaurants even specialize in water varieties. Unless the bottle says spring water, it's going to be mineral water and have at least some good things in it for you. Keep in mind tap water also can have minerals, so don't discount it during your quest to boost nutrients.

Myths

Mineral water isn't necessarily healthier than tap water. A lot of minerals and nutrients come from the water we get out of our sink. If you want to know what's in your own tap water, get it tested, and compare the levels of magnesium and calcium to the water you're buying at the store. It may surprise you, especially if your water comes from an underground well.