The old saying is “Waste not, want not.” That’s even true when it comes to pickles. You may have thought that these specialty cucumbers preserved in their vinegary brine were the stars of the jar, but we’re here to tell you that there’s more to the liquid side of the equation.
Pickle juice has three main ingredients: water, vinegar, and salt. Various recipes may add sugar, onions, garlic, dill, and pepper. The acid in the vinegar and the salt combine for a powerful punch — and not just in preserving foods.
Keep your vegetables at home longer.
Give your juice extra life. You can use your leftover pickle juice as a base for quick pickling your own vegetables. Do you ever find yourself with extra carrots, onions, peppers, or cucumbers? If you’re not going to eat them in the next couple of days, don’t let them go bad in your refrigerator, chop’em up and toss them in your leftover pickle juice. If you’re into spicy foods, you can use this same trick with jalapeno juice.
Make your grits even greater.
The next time you’re preparing this classic southern dish, add a tablespoon of pickle juice to your favorite recipe. The juice will add a subtly salty and tangy touch of flavor.
Make your copper pop.
If your copper pots and pans are starting to get green with oxidization, use a little pickle juice to get remove the emerald residue. The acid in the vinegar and the salt are the perfect antidote to the copper oxide..
Help your garden grow.
There are some bold claims about the power of pickle juice in the garden. The biggest thing this juice can do in your garden is help increase the acidity level of the soil, which some plants love — particularly those that thrive in the shade.
Be careful though, because the salt can be bad for a plant; if you’re going to take this approach, dilute the juice with water. Make sure not to apply the juice directly to any leaves, as the vinegar can burn the leaves!
Replenish electrolytes… kinda.
There are a number of places where you can read about athletic trainers insisting that pickle juice is a wonder remedy that helps keep athletes from getting dehydrated and helping to prevent cramping.
Their theory is that athletes lose electrolytes while exercising and sweating. Technically, salt is an electrolyte, and drinking liquid is a helpful way to ward off dehydration. But scientists have essentially said that pickle juice doesn’t have any particularly observable health benefits. If you’re an athlete looking to pickle juice as a super solution to your training needs, replace your salt through your foods and drink plenty of liquid. Life most things in life, replacing electrolytes comes down to finding a healthy balance.
If you buy into the health benefits of pickle juice, we won’t judge, but avoid leaving it in your mouth for any amount of time. Acids are bad for your teeth, they can erode your enamel. It’s just one more thing to consider as you search for healthy habits.
So be wary of messages declaring pickle juice to be a wonder drug. Sure, it’s got salt and liquid, it’s great for preserving vegetables, it is a unique flavor additive, and it’s a reasonable alternative to using regular vinegar, but pickle juice probably not going to be what helps you win the next big game .