If you’re like us, you may not have time for canning, but you always have a jar of your or your kids’ favorite pickles in the fridge. Well, there’s more deliciousness in that jar than the pickles themselves. That brine that you’ve been dumping down the drain when the jar is finished? It’s kitchen gold! Here are five ways to reuse pickle juice so that you never throw it away again.
Yay for clever kitchen hacks to make use of every single drop!
1. Make more pickles.
The most useful thing that you can do with leftover pickle brine is make more pickles! Instead of making a brine from scratch, simply put cucumber spears, garlic cloves, hard boiled eggs (yes, seriously), carrots, celery, or whatever else you like slightly brined back into the jar, cover, and refrigerate. While they won’t be shelf stable for months (since you won’t properly can them), they will pickle more and more over time. Yum.
2. Pour on the flavor.
Your favorite pickles are delicious because that pickle brine is delicious, so use it to make other things delicious too. Brine can give roasted potatoes, potato or macaroni salad, dressings, soups, hummus, even macaroni and cheese a salty, zingy flavor that gives your cooking a little something extra that everyone will wonder about. In a good way.
3. Tenderize meat.
The acid in pickle brine is a powerful meat tenderizer. Use it to marinade steak, chicken, or chops—either plain or as an ingredient in a more involved marinade—to ensure a super juicy cut.
4. Use as a substitute for vinegar.
Keep the brine in your fridge to use as a substitute for vinegar whenever you run out. Lifesaver!
5. Make a cocktail. Whoo!
Yup, upgrade that Bloody Mary or relive your college years with a pickleback, a shot of whisky chased by a shot of pickle juice. Another option: Drink your booze plain and use the pickle juice as a hangover remedy the next day. Hey, whatever works.