Here’s your frugal tip for the day: You can and should reuse your leftover pickle brine. Why waste such a delicious byproduct of those tasty pickles, especially one that was lovingly crafted in your kitchen?
Once I empty a jar of my favorite homemade pickles (say, these radish seed pods), I often save the brine, which is full of zesty flavor and pungent spices that have been steeping in the liquid for weeks.
Sometimes I’ll refill the old jar with new veggies and make quick pickles by letting them sit in the fridge for a couple of days (perhaps in a bath of Vietnamese đồ chua). I usually only reuse the brine once or twice; after that it’s become too murky for me to find it appetizing. (And do not attempt to re-can a jar in a boiling water bath using the old brine, as its acidity level may have diminished.)
Sometimes I’ll make a vinaigrette for a freshly harvested salad (like this garden delight with pea shoots). Whisked with olive oil, the brine has enough tang on its own but you can add pinches of salt, pepper, or other spices to it too. Aside from being a standard salad dressing, a dribble on steamed veggies (when you’d normally use lemon juice) adds just the right kick. (Try this with some kohlrabi pickle brine!)
Sometimes I’ll use it as a marinade for chicken before I grill, or I’ll poach a fish in my favorite pickle juice (this one with dilly beans pairs well with white fish). If you have a slab of beef, all that vinegary goodness tenderizes it to perfection — go ahead and give it a good soak!
It’s also my secret ingredient for tuna salad and potato salad (especially a tangy one like my bread and butter cukes). Pickle juice and mayo just go so well together! (And this works for all mayo-based salads, including egg salad, chicken salad, and macaroni salad.)
Add the brine to some broth to give your soup a lovely tang. (My rhubarb brine is especially good with noodle soups, Asian soups, and caldo verde, a Portuguese greens soup.)
For a puckery pick-me-up, add some brine to your bloody mary or dirty martini (this is my favorite way to use the juice from my hot and spicy pickled green tomatoes — and I’ll even throw in a few tomatoes with it).
And of course, there are people who like to drink the pickle juice straight… but I haven’t done that since I was 10.
How do you like to use your leftover brine?
Adam BurmanMay 3, 2023 at 6:52 am
A little late to the party, but only got back into growing my own veges in 2020, and been working out as time goes by how to use every bit of every plant.
Just picked a bunch of radish seedpods from the last of the winter crop, and waiting for the brine to cool off before pickling them.
Thanks for the tips.
Adam BurmanMay 3, 2023 at 6:54 am
I like the sound of the Kohlrabi pickles. Picked a few nice big purple Kholrabi a few days a few days ago, and was trying to decide how to use them…pickles it is!
DebieOctober 9, 2014 at 8:03 am
NEVER…NEVER through out a good pickle brine. I use it in my Summer macaroni salad I am famous for in my family. My daughter’s husband decided to clean out the fridge one day (which he never does) and threw out her coveted jar of brine. HA…ha…I thought she was going to divorce him for the unforgivable act…LOL
Linda LyOctober 12, 2014 at 1:12 am
Shelley DeDauwFebruary 28, 2014 at 11:15 pm
Pickle juice is the secret ingredient for deviled eggs or tuna salad
theGardenBettyFebruary 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm
Tips from my kitchen: What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/Ce9nLi8aTQ #canning #canvolution
theGardenBettyJuly 31, 2013 at 11:05 am
Hint: It’s the secret ingredient in my tuna salad. What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/wIiVHTbY69 < TY for RT! @mrswages
theGardenBettyJuly 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm
You can and should reuse your pickle juice! What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/jXP6f54Vy3 #canning
PamJuly 30, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Great ideas. I drink the pickle juice for leg cramps. I get them often in my sleep and are painful. Don’t know why bit it works. Maybe I better make some juice with a few pickles. Thanks.
theGardenBettyJuly 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm
It’s great for making vinaigrettes and marinades! What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/1bHN94fIv2 #canning
mrswagesJuly 30, 2013 at 9:42 am
RT @theGardenBetty: Hint: It’s the secret ingredient in my tuna salad and potato salad. What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/…
theGardenBettyJuly 30, 2013 at 9:06 am
Hint: It’s the secret ingredient in my tuna salad and potato salad. What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/wIiVHTbY69 #canning
Ben ShomshorJuly 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm
I’ve never thought of most of these uses. Certainly curious to try a dirty pickle martini. I appreciated your mention of brines as a base or addition to soups. Pickle and kraut juice are commonly used with, or in place of, stock in Russian and East European cooking. And there’s nothing like a small glass of kraut juice, perhaps with a touch of tomato, to accompany a breakfast of buttered rye bread and herring.
theGardenBettyJuly 29, 2013 at 6:02 pm
Here’s your frugal tip for the day: What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/NEKszCx0Ak #canning
theGardenBettyJuly 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Wait – don’t toss it down the drain! What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/YGkdikHh69 #canning #canvolution
Reduan SallehJuly 29, 2013 at 11:08 am
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Esther Van de KlundertJuly 29, 2013 at 11:08 am
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Irene SkrybailoJuly 29, 2013 at 8:16 am
I don’t like vermouth, but an ex boyfriend of mine swore by dirty pickle martinis http://www.cookbookarchaeology.com/?p=898
Garden BettyJuly 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm
DIrty pickle martinis are delish! (I also love pickle juice in my Bloody Marys.)
Jun IguchiJuly 29, 2013 at 7:53 am
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Kendra NordgrenJuly 29, 2013 at 7:53 am
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BG_gardenJuly 29, 2013 at 6:01 am
What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine?:
Here’s your frugal tip for the day: You can and should reuse your lef… http://t.co/aRdw6x52bQ
theGardenBettyJuly 29, 2013 at 6:00 am
Blogged on Garden Betty: What to Do With Leftover Pickle Brine? http://t.co/5yKhkt342I