What Is It?
The brines for some pickles, like bread-and-butter, also contain sugar. And individual cultures and nationalities use characteristic seasonings that make them unique. Kosher-style pickle brines get generous additions of garlic and dill. Polish-style ones usually contain even larger amounts of spices and garlic, and often mustard seeds. And delicate French gherkins skip the sugar in favour of a sour brine made with vinegar and tarragon.
Delicious Ways to Use Pickle Juice in Recipes
- Dill pickles: These are some of the most common pickles available in North America. Their zesty, dill-scented brine makes a tangy addition to vinaigrettes, sauces and dill pickle soup (a favourite in Poland). It’s also a wonderful partner to potatoes — drizzle a little over boiled or roasted spuds, stir it into the dressing for our creamy Dill Pickle Potato Salad or dip fries in a sassy mix of mayo and pickle juice. Looking for a fun cocktail idea? Try a Pickletini (vodka or gin stirred with pickle juice) or a Pickleback (a shot of whisky chased with a shot of pickle juice).
- Sweet cucumber pickles: Sugar in the brine gives bread-and-butter pickles and sweet gherkins a sweet edge. Try adding the juice to your favourite barbecue sauce for a little extra zip, or to chicken, tuna or pasta salads.
- Sour gherkins: The sour vinegar brine from these mini French pickles lends a zesty, mouth-puckering hit of flavour to drinks. Use it to give a Pickletini a tart, lip-smacking edge.
- Pickled beets: Earthy tasting and bright magenta, this brine can be a bit on the sweet side. It’s an easy shortcut for making pickled eggs: Just toss in a few hard-boiled eggs for a yummy, rosy-coloured snack.
- Cocktail onions: This briny, sweet pickle juice is often enhanced by peppercorns, juniper berries and coriander seeds. It’s tasty in place of vinegar in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted vegetables.
- Pickled hot peppers: To give a subtle spicy note to beef stew or chili, add a few spoonfuls of the juice from a jar of pickled banana peppers, pepperoncini or jalapeños.
- Pickled mixed veggies: Jardinière (also known as giardiniera in Italian) is a mix of peppers, celery, carrots and cauliflower packed in a vinegary brine. It adds a pleasant tang and subtle vegetable flavour to poultry dishes or Classic Mixed Bean Salad .
- Pickled green beans: The fresh-tasting brine in dilly beans, such as our Quick Pickled Beans with Garlic and Dill, is a yummy substitute for plain vinegar in vinaigrettes. It’s also excellent in a caesar — whether it’s the salad or the drink (like our Ultimate Canadian Caesar).
- Capers: This salty, vinegary brine has a bold flavour that’s wonderful in hearty pasta sauces or seafood dishes.
Other Creative Uses for Pickle Juice
- Marinate foods: Pickle juice tenderizes meat and is delicious on pork or steaks. Some chefs even swear by soaking chicken in this tangy liquid before deep-frying. You can also marinate cubes of any mild cheese in it for a quick appetizer.
- Season butter: Blend softened butter with pickle juice and chopped fresh dill. Shape into a roll and toss it into the freezer. Top steamed salmon or other fish with a pat or two for incredible flavour.
- Make more pickles: Toss baby carrots, celery sticks, beets, radishes or even grapes into a jar of leftover pickle juice. Refrigerate for a few days, and you have a fresh batch of pickles.