What do you do with your leftover pickle juice? When I say pickle juice, I mean any brine left over from a ferment. I’m not referring to the food coloring laden vinegar from store bought pickles. We know that brine is teaming with all sorts of good stuff, lactic acid bacteria, B vitamins and lots of flavor. I can’t bring myself to just pour it down the drain. “What can I do with left over brine?” is one of my most often asked questions. I’ve complied a list of ways I’ve used it and have heard others use it. Please comment if you have any other brilliant suggestions.
1.Bottoms up! The best way to use it is to just drink it. I may be weird but I like it. Not a tall glass of it but a swig here and there.
2. Sprinkle a bit over your dinner. It’s a great way to get probiotics in a kid who refuses to eat them.
3. Add a few tablespoons to soup. It adds just a bit of flavor and the kids won’t even notice it. Add it to your bowl after its cooled enough to eat so you don’t kill off all the bacteria.
4. Make salad dressing out of it. Use leftover brine in place of vinegar in your favorite vinagrette recipe. Try it in this lemon poppyseed dressing. Yum! Just be sure the ferment compliments the dressing. Cauliflower brine has a strong taste where green beans aren’t so overpowering. I used the brine from asparagus with onions and it was yummy.
5. Marinade. Pour over your meat for a tasty marinade. While cooking it will kill off the bacteria, it will still add good flavor to your meat and it does a great job tenderizing it.
6. Feed it to your animals. My chickens love it!
7. If you are a juicer, add a bit of brine to your vegetable juice.
8. Bloody Mary anyone? Just a splash will do.
9. Potato Salad, yum! Use in place of vinegar in your German potato salad recipe. I should post a recipe. Love potato salad!
10. Sprinkle over sautéed greens.
11. Make bread! Use brine as the liquid portion of your bread. It also makes a great soaking agent
12. Many people use it to inoculate future ferment batches though I prefer to let the ferment run its natural course.
13. If you find yourself with more than you can consume, instead of pouring it out, add it to your compost.
I’m sure there are plenty of things I’ve missed. Let me know if you have any other great suggestions.
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