Not only can you save leftover pickle juice, you should. With so many ways to repurpose this tasty liquid, there is no reason to simply pour it down the drain. Whether you use it to repickle other produce, season foods or clean your house, pickle juice is a great item to have on hand in your kitchen.
Pickle Brine Basics
Pickles are split into two distinct categories -- fermented and vinegar-brined. Fermented pickles typically use salt to control the fermentation of the sugar into lactic acid. Vinegar pickles are made by adding vinegar and spices to vegetables to sour them. While both produce similar results through different means, the good news is you can save the brine from both to reuse in many ways in your kitchen and home. When reusing pickle brine for cooking, ensure that it is not murky or cloudy, as these can be signs of spoilage.
One of the easiest things to do with pickle brine is to reuse it for a second or even third batch of refrigerator pickles. Add eggs, garlic, onions or cucumbers to your jar, and place it in the refrigerator until its contents become well-soured to your taste. While it is simple to make refrigerator pickles with reserved pickle brine, do not reuse the brine for canning. Once processed and absorbed into the previous contents of your pickle jar, the pickle brine may not have sufficient acidity to protect pickled vegetables that are canned.
Save pickle brine and use it to add a tangy zest to recipes. Add it to hummus, a bloody Mary, macaroni and cheese, bread recipes, potato salad and fish for a slightly sour kick that adds complexity. Remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to pickle juice; add just a little for a lot of flavor.
Think Outside the Box
Take your pickle brine a bit further and use it for other household needs. The acidity of pickle brine makes it a great cleanser in the kitchen. Use it to bring back the luster of your copper cookware, for example. The vinegar and salt in brine are effective weed killers, so if you are going to throw it out, at least aim in the direction of some resilient weeds. And if cleaning is not your thing, make pickleback shots. Follow a shot of pickle juice with a shot of whiskey until all of the brine is gone.
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Based in Portland, Ore., Maxine Wallace is a writer with more than 12 years of experience. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and experience working on marketing campaigns for large media agencies, she is well-versed in multiple industries including the Internet, cooking, gardening, health, fitness, travel and holistic living.