One of the things I learned in my permaculture course was that when a resource enters into a system (like water for example) you want to put it to as many uses as possible before it cycles through or leaves the system. I think about this a lot and wherever possible I try to practice this principle in my life. So whenever I take food out of the oven (in the cold seasons), I leave the oven door ajar allowing the hot air to escape into the room, thus putting that use of electricity to two uses: cooking food and heating my space. I collect my dish rinse water in a bucket and use it to flush the toilet. And when I steam vegetables (which I'm doing a lot of these days) I keep the nutrient rich, flavourful vegetable water left in the bottom of pot and put it to many, many uses.
This leftover vegetable water serves as a base for soups and stews. You can cook rice, beans and pasta in it. Add a splash to your morning smoothie. Season it with herbs, salt and pepper and serve hot in a mug for a nourishing beverage to sip on. I especially like to mix this with my homemade bone broth. I even water my plants with it. And if I had pets I would mix some in with their food. I freeze what I can't use right away. Rarely, a little might end up in the compost. But the one thing I never, ever do is pour it down the drain.
This vegetable water is from a steamed buttercup squash. It's so beautiful and tasted wonderful!