In a Pickle Over an Empty Jar By Edan Goode

I’m willing to bet that most American refrigerators have a jar of pickles shoved way, way to the back. There are probably only two or EAT-Picklesthree lone pickles floating around in all that brine, freely bumping up against peppercorns and bits of garlic. When we finally polish off the last pickle, we’re left with a jar of salty, vinegary, spicy stuff that seems too worthwhile to just throw out. After all, the juice olives are floating around in is so important, it’s the “dirty” in Dirty Martini’s. It is coveted!

Seems to me that pickle juice should also have a second life once its original residents have moved on.  But what can you do with the stuff? I posed the question to members of an online community I belong to – a group of very resourceful, creative and responsive women. Within minutes, I had ideas I would have never thought of and am inspired to share with you. Because one day, that pickle jar will be nothing but brine and you’ll stand there, like me, wondering what to do with it.

According to The Pickle Guys, the earliest known pickles were noted around 2030 BC in Mesopotamia. They say that “pickles are mentioned at least twice in the Bible (Numbers 11:5 and Isaiah 1:8), were known to the ancient Egyptians (Cleopatra attributed some of her beauty to pickles), and Aristotle praised the healing effects of pickled cucumbers.” Good enough for me! Here are the suggestions I received:

  • Use about 1/3 of a cup of pickle juice with 1/3 of a cup with buttermilk, marinate in the fridge for an hour to all day.  Then toast panko crumbs (about 3 mins, stirring frequently in a sauce pan without anything).  Remove the chicken from the marinade, roll in the crumbs and then bake in the oven for 12 mins or so at around 400 degrees. Cut the chicken into bit size nuggets pieces (which can be done prior to putting in the marinade). Something about the mix of pickle juice and buttermilk makes the chicken really moist and tasty. This is inspired by a recipe on the Cooking Light website. – Michelle
  • We recently had a family wing competition and one of the sauces we made up was pickle juice.  After we cooked our wings we soaked them in pickle juice and then coated them with parm cheese and garlic salt and baked a little more…needless to say out of 12 different made up recipes we won!!!! – Deb
  • Brine is very different from a marinade.  The salt breaks down meats and makes them very tender and juicy, but it is salt, so it also adds sodium and salty flavor.  If you brine meats, you have to be careful how long you leave it in the brine. You can, however, take a fresh cucumber, cut it into slices, and place it in the brine.  After just a few days, those slices will be pickly.  After a week or two, you will have another great jar of pickles.  Keep it refrigerated!  – Jennifer
  • I heard it’s a cure for a hangover. Perhaps wait for the weekend & see if there’s any takers?! – Anonymous
  • Use it in soups if you like a more sour tasting one. Just add it and water to the pot with peeled potatoes, carrots, other root vegetables. You can also do a straight pickle soup and add chopped pickles to it. – Caroline
  • If you love bloody mary’s Bon Appetit has a seriously delicious recipe. Make it to your taste.  Last time we left out the curry and still delicious.  – Stephanie
  • My mother in law uses it to make deviled eggs.  She mashes it into the yolks, with some mayonnaise, to taste – nothing so fancy as a “recipe”.  I thought it was odd, but when I tasted it, I couldn’t argue.  Depending on the flavor of the pickle brine, it could also be used to substitute for the vinegar in making your own salad dressing, I suppose – it’s basically flavored vinegar, which is what you whip the oil into when you make dressing. – Katy
  • When I make tuna melts, I add a little chopped pickle and a splash of the pickle juice to the tuna mixture. It adds a little zing and the kids gobble it up. – Debbie

Who knew there were so many possibilities for good food and drink just waiting in that leftover liquid? I’m going to give a couple of them a try. Then, I think I’ll buy another jar and hurry through those pickles (keeping them front and center in the fridge) just so I can try out some more recipes!

What do YOU do with pickle juice? Leave a comment and share your ideas.  We might just run an “In a Pickle” sequel!

Come, E.A.T. with us!

Twitter: @CoParentEATblog



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