Why You Should Save the Liquid from Your Pickle Jar

published Jan 18, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

You’ve polished off the last pickle in the jar. For most of us, the next obvious step is pouring out the liquid and washing that jar so we can use it to store more bulk bin items.

Not so fast! The liquid leftover in the jar might not seem like anything special, but in fact, it’s liquid gold — and you should be saving every single drop of it. Here’s why.

Psst … that pickle juice is a brine!

Which means it’s packed with zesty flavor, spices, and salt. Here are a few ways pickle brine gives a repeat performance.

  • Quick Pickles: Fill the pickle jar with chopped veggies — like carrots, cauliflower, and red peppers — and then let it sit in the fridge for a few days to make a quick pickle.
  • Vinegar Replacement: Since brine is super acidic, it’s a great replacement for vinegar anytime you want to wake up a dish. It also makes a more flavorful substitute when whisking together a vinaigrette.
  • All-in-One Marinade: My favorite use for leftover pickle juice is as a marinade and brine. Not only does it lend a punchy flavor, but the acid makes leaner cuts of meat, like chicken breast and pork chops, so much more tender and juicy.
  • Cocktail Mixer: Like your five-o’clock drink on the dirty side? Hold off on the olive juice and pucker up to a splash of pickle juice.

Note: While store-bought and homemade brine can be reused, it’s safest to use it only once. But that’s reason enough to buy other jar of pickles, wouldn’t you say?

Do you save the brine? What’s your favorite way to use it?