For a time in my family there was running joke that all I needed for Christmas was a jar of pickles. But, having an extreme love of pickles isn’t such a crazy thing. There’s pickle juice sold in cans now for drinking and a restaurant in New Jersey that offers sandwiches made on giant pickle “buns”. If you love pickles, then you probably buy a couple of jars per month. And, you might feel a little bad throwing out all that perfectly tasty pickle juice once you’ve finished the pickles. Well, here are 13 genius ways to use up leftover pickle brine, from household uses to cooking.
13) Just Re-pickle
The most obvious way to use pickle brine is to simply use it to pickle something else. Blanched veggies, hard-boiled eggs, onions, or even canned vegetables are all great candidates for pickling. There’s so much flavor still left in the brine (and often spices floating in the mixture as well) that can impart that lovely pickle flavor to more foods.
12) Steam Veggies
If you’re not into making a batch of pickled vegetables, you can also use the pickle brine as the liquid when making steamed vegetables for a more subtle dill and garlic flavor.
11) Add Flavor to Salads
I have always added a bit of dill pickle brine to my potato salad and tuna salad. You will need to adjust the other ingredients accordingly to keep the mixture from getting too wet. However, the extra work is worth it because the taste always garners many compliments.
10) Add to Sauces
Store-bought BBQ or tartar sauce can get a real kick when you add pickle brine to them. Any place you think a hit of salt and tang might be welcome is a good place for pickle juice.
9) Marinate Meat
The salt and acid in pickle juice is a great meat tenderizer. Plus the garlic and herb flavors in most pickle brine will also add flavor to the meat.
8) Replace Vinegar
When vinegar is called for in savory recipes you can add pickle brine instead for a lot more intensity. Salad dressings instantly spring to mind.
7) Makes Meatloaf More Interesting
Adding some pickle juice to your meatloaf mixture can deepen the flavor and add dimension to what is otherwise a pretty standard dish.
6) Use It In Mixed Drinks
Pickle brine can be used to make a unique dill pickle gin and tonic. Simply add a teaspoon (or more to taste) into the drink. Pickle brine is also great in a Bloody Mary.
5) The Great Pickleback
A shot of pickle juice is often used as a chaser for a whiskey shot, although some people just have these little shots on their own with no alcohol at all.
4) Hangover Cure
Some people use pickle juice as a hangover cure because the high salt content can act as electrolytes to help rehydrate the body.
3) Change the Acidity of Soil
An old trick is to pour pickle juice on the ground where a hydrangea is growing to change the soil acidity. The more acid the bluer the blooms will be.
2) As a Cleaning Agent
Since salt and vinegar are major components of pickle brine, the liquid can be used to clean pots and pans.
Some folks say that taking a swig of pickle juice can cure the hiccups. I’ll have to try this one and report back. The tricks of downing a teaspoon of peanut butter or sugar or drinking a huge glass of water don’t always work, so this pickle lover remains skeptical.