Uses for Pickle Juice
Firstly, let me say that I love eating pickles. That lovely crunch, the wart-like texture, the saltiness...but, if you have ever bought a jar of pickles, you'll know that as you go further along, you need to dig deeper into the well to get to the pickles. But wait a moment! What about the pickle juice itself? There are some great ways to use pickle juice. It can be just as delicious and healthy as pickles if used properly.
Another benefit to using pickle juice is stretching your dollar to the maximum. When you buy a jar of pickles (or olives, or other preserved vegetables in salted water), you're not simply paying for the pickles themselves, but you're also paying for the liquid that the pickles are stored in. This liquid comprises about 35% of the jar of contents, and since you pay for the jar of pickles by weight, 35% of what you pay for is the juice itself! This juice can be very useful in enhancing the taste of your meals and can be consumed in different ways. Here, I'll talk about 5 great ways to use pickle juice:
1. Braising and/or poaching food. In place of stock or water, you can use pickle juice to braise or poach your meat and veggies for dinner. Basically, you can use pickle juice to cook your meal. The difference between braising and poaching, first of all, is that in braising, the meat or vegetable is only partially covered in liquid and is always covered in a pot. For poaching, on the other hand, the item is completely submerged in the liquid and the pot is not necessarily covered. Poaching and braising are great, delicious ways to cook your food since you don't need to add oils or butters to cook your food, hence lowering the fat content in your meals. Just yesterday I decided to braise fennel in pickle juice, adding some additional pickle juice as the liquid evaporated. The resulting fennel was delicious, with a resulting stronger licoricey taste than if I had just used only water. You can apply this to any type of meat or vegetable, and add water to the pickle juice if you like. Be mindful not to add too much salt, however, since pickle juice already has salt in itself.
2. Pickling food items. You can re-use the pickle juice to pickle other things. This is recycling at it's best! Try pickling other food items, including eggs, beets, cabbage, meat, fish, etc. Pickling is a great way to preserve food items that are in season for later times, such as winter. Also, pickling adds new dimensions to food and changes their flavours in different ways. When pickling, make sure your jar is clean and sterilized. You can do this by boiling the jar. Also, write the date that you pickled your food items on the jar since you should keep your pickling food items in a cool, dark place for a couple weeks before opening them to consume. After you open the jar, you should refrigerate the jar of pickled items.
3. Make a nice, warm pot of soup. Use pickle juice as the base of your soup. Add more water to dilute the saltiness and then add meats, veggies, noodles or rice to your liking to create a delicious soup. You can also add chicken or beef stock to create complex flavours within your soup. Making soup also relates to my first point about using pickle juice to braise or poach your food. One of the great benefits of braising and poaching, besides the health benefits explained earlier, is that liquids used for braising and poaching absorb a lot of the vitamins and flavour of the meat and vegetables that are being cooked. You can then save this braised liquid and turn it into a soup for the next day.
4. Make salad dressing. What's healthier than a freshly made salad with low-fat dressing added on top? Pickle juice has a strong flavour that complements different lettuce well. You can easily use pickle juice by throwing it into your salads own its own, such as using it in coleslaw. Or, you can mix pickle juice with other flavours, such as vinegars, such create a different dressing for your salads. Feel like having a creamier dressing? Mix pickle juice with mayonnaise and a spritz of lemon juice to mix with your salad. This is a good way to make your own lunch for bringing to work. Just put the salad in one container and the pickle dressing in another. Come lunch time, voila! You have your delicious salad with pickle juice dressing for extra flavor.
5. Create beverages. Pickle juice can make a great addition to savory drinks as another flavor. For example, you can use some pickle juice in a bloody mary or add it to tomato juice. It may sound strange, but don't be fooled! I have heard of pickle juice being served at cocktail parties before. Besides, is serving pickle juice cocktailes any strange than serving clam juice?
Pickle juice can also be especially useful for post-exercise since its sodium content provides electrolytes to re-energize your body. Try drinking pickle juice (you can dilute it if you prefer) after exercising or if you're feeling tired to perk your system back up. It's not bad, I promise!
So here are the 5 best ways to use pickle juice in healthy, delicious ways. Using the pickle juice is also a thrifty and nice way to get the most out of the jar of pickles. Pickle juice can be used in recipes to provide new twists or to strengthen the already exisiting flavors of the recipe. I am sure that there are other great ways to use pickle juice, so if you find ways of incorporating pickle juice in your food or beverage, share them! You could even look into your cookbook and see if you can somehow fit pickle juice into the recipe to make it even better. Have fun and be creative. Enjoy!