The ways to use leftover pickle juice must be one of the great mysteries of the food world. Did you know that Americans consume in excess of 9lbs of pickles each year? That’s a serious pile of pickles. And that means a whole lake of leftover pickle juice. Do you do like most people and pour it down the drain (via the sink)? Well, stop wasting it because there are lots of ways to use leftover pickle juice.
1. Replacement for Vinegar
If you are ready to reform your pickle-juice-wasting ways, once of the most obvious ways to use leftover pickle juice is to use it as vinegar. You can use pickle juice on many occasions when vinegar is called for. It’s especially good in salad dressings.
2. Perfect for Pickling
Another of the more obvious ways to recycle pickle juice is as your pickling liquor. The vinegar has already been souped up with spices so there’s no messing around. You can chop up leftover veggies, leave them to rest in the pickle juice for a few days and hey presto! New pickles. Pickle shredded carrot for use as a salad topping, slice thin red onions and pickle those and then use on hot dogs, hamburgers and tacos. And if you’re partial to a pickled egg, leftover pickle juice is just the job.
3. Pimp up Potatoes
As a Brit I live in a land where we sprinkle salt and malt vinegar on our chips (fries) – I have found that pickle juice works just as well. Another way to use pickle juice to make potatoes better is to add it to boiled potatoes before you mash them. You’ll find it means you won’t need to add as much butter or milk/cream to make them taste divine. And, pickle juice added to the mayonnaise for your potato salad gives it an extra zing.
4. Make Meat Marvelous
Vinegar is a natural tenderizer and thanks to the addition of the spices, it acts as a great marinade too and you end up with juicy succulent chops and steaks. Mix your favorite seasonings into pickle juice (garlic, mustard, hot sauce …) and brush it over the meat. Leave for a few hours (overnight is best) then broil or barbecue.
5. Cook up a Storm
Leftover pickle juice doesn’t just work wonders with meat and potatoes. It can jzoosh up flavors in lots of areas of your culinary efforts: try some in your staple mac and cheese recipe – not too much!; add some zing to a flat store-bought barbecue sauce; it can make a difference to a veggie juice - just a teaspoon or tablespoon will do (depending on taste); add it to the poaching liquid for fish; add a dash when you’re seasoning your meatloaf mix; and you can even add a little something extra to hummus.
6. Dress up Drinks
It isn’t just in food that the ways to recycle leftover pickle juice come into their own. Ready to hear how to add a zing to drinks? Adding a tablespoon of pickle juice to a Bloody Mary gives it bite; ever tried pickled beer? Mix 1/8th cup of pickle juice with 12oz of beer and garish with a pickle; or try a pickleback shot – drink a small amount directly after a swig of whiskey. You might also want to try it the “Texan” way by using pickle juice as a flavor on your shaved ice.
7. Reach for Remedies
Your leftover pickle juice can also be put to work outside of food and beverages: it makes a great remedy for hangovers because it helps rehydration and replenishes depleted sodium; for the same reasons, it makes a good post-workout drink; and again for the same reasons, it can act as a remedy for PMS; need a laxative? Drink a glass of pickle juice; got an upset tummy? Drink some pickle juice to aid the digestive processes; need relief from heartburn? A few sips of pickle juice will calm acid reflux by helping to balance the stomach’s pH; and lastly, some people claim a small glass of pickle juice will stop hiccups.
Did you ever imagine there were so many ways to use leftover pickle juice? It really is a little bit of magic.