Several weeks ago, we bought some Rick's Picks Kool Gherks. They were delicious, but they didn't last long. And when we'd finished them, we realized we had a beautiful, flavorful brine full of peppercorns and herbs and garlic cloves that we hated to throw out
. Especially since we spent about $8 or so on the jar.
We remembered a tip Rick had given us more than a year ago about reusing brine. Well, this one has given us three batches of excellent pickles since... Once we'd polished off our gherks, we sliced a squatty pickling cucumber into wedges and shoved them in the jar. They didn't quite fit, and the brine didn't quite cover them.
So, we transferred the brine to a larger plastic container. Because the brine still didn't cover the cucumber spears (slices probably would have been easier), we decided to add to the brine. We boiled some cider vinegar with a little sugar and salt, until everything dissolved, and poured it on top.
Now, we got some spicy, sweet, very delicious pickles out of this because Rick's original brine is full of high-quality ingredients (that's why the jar cost $8). As we said, there were tons of whole spices, big chunks of garlic, and fronds of herbs to season our cucumbers. We're not sure we'd have bothered reusing the brine if it had been a cheap jar of pickles. But with almost zero effort on our part, we got several batches of Rick's-quality pickles for the cost of one jar (plus a few cucumbers).
You could also add other vegetables, not just cucumbers.
Here are a few more tips and discussions on reusing leftover pickle brine:
• What Can I Do With Leftover Pickle Juice?
• Quick Tip: Use Leftover Pickling Brine to Make Vinaigrette
• Waste Not: Using Leftover Rick's Picks Brine
Related: Cooking Basics: Very Easy Pickling
(Image: Rick's Picks)