Pickles have been a staple for eons in several cultures around the world — they date back more than 4000 years ago to the Mesopotamian era when people would soak cucumbers in acidic brine as a way to preserve them.
In the United States, pickles are commonly used as a condiment on burgers and sandwiches, chopped up as pickle relish and served with hot dogs and sausages, or served as a side dish to accompany meals.
What’s great about pickles is that not only is the “pickle part” in them extremely delicious and nutritious, but also the “pickle juice” that the cucumbers are immersed in.
So, how to make pickle juice and what are its best uses? While pickle juice can be used straight from a jar of store-bought pickles, it can also be purchased by the gallon or made from scratch. Pickle juice is used in several recipes. Although it might sound a bit unappetizing, many people (including athletes) drink it for its perceived health benefits.
Read on to find out how to make pickle juice, its multiple uses, how to make pickle juice for pickled eggs, and much more.
What Is Pickle Juice?
We all know how healthy and nutritious green juices made with spinach, kale, cucumbers, and celery are. But they’re not the only green juices that you should be drinking for amazing health benefits!
Pickle juice is another nutrition-filled juice (that requires no juicing) that you should consider including in your diet.
However, considering that it is a brine usually made with water, salt, and distilled white vinegar to pickle cucumbers, just the thought of drinking it might make your mouth pucker.
Many people even toss out the leftover juice in their pickle jars once the pickles have finished, but once you find out its health benefits, you might want to reconsider!
Pickle juice is a basic drink that can easily be made at home with just a handful of ingredients. Due to its popularity, you can also find ready-made pickle juice by the gallon at the supermarket.
Pickling refers to the scientific process of osmosis where the water and flavors of the cucumbers exchange places with the salt and vinegar in the brine, resulting in a milder, more delicious flavored brine after the pickles are done curing.
Benefits Of Pickle Juice
Pickle juice is said to provide a plethora of health benefits that aid digestion, boosts your immune system, combat muscle cramps, and controls blood sugar levels.
Although some of these claims still require scientific research to back them, pickle juice is used by athletes all around the world for its wondrous properties.
Its benefits include:
- Muscle cramp relief. Due to the salt and natural vinegar acids present in pickle juice, it is said to immediately relieve cramping caused by intense exercising. It may be most effective if consumed on an empty stomach shortly after a heavy workout.
- Rehydration. Pickle juice is said to replenish lost electrolytes since it contains high amounts of sodium and some potassium. After working out or sessions of intense activity, water may not be enough, which is why many athletes go for pickle juice or sports drinks to rehydrate their bodies.
- Immune system support. Pickle juice contains antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, that support the immune system, promote tissue growth, and repair and help the body fight against infections.
- Lowered blood sugar levels. Vinegar present in pickle juice can help lower or regulate blood sugar levels after meals and is a great natural remedy for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a few studies. It may also reduce the risk of health conditions such as kidney damage and obesity.
- Weight management. Pickle juice is a low-calorie and no-fat substitute for energy drinks that are high in calories and added sugars. Therefore, for people looking to lose weight, it might be a great option if consumed in regulated amounts.
- Healthy gut. Fermented foods and liquids are known to aid digestive processes and help maintain the right balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. Vinegar is one such fermented liquid and it prevents issues such as indigestion and stomach cramps.
Side Effects Of Pickle Juice
While there are many possible benefits of adding pickle juice to your diet, having too much of something can never be good. You should keep a few things in mind before making pickle juice a regular part of your meals.
Pickle juice contains a lot of sodium and may be harmful to those with high blood pressure. In addition to that, the acidity in the vinegar may aggravate existing ulcers in the stomach causing pain and general discomfort.
The bottom line to consuming pickle juice is that it is generally considered safe for most people, and even beneficial in some cases, but only if taken in moderation.
How To Make Pickle Juice Brine
While you can easily find ready-made pickle juice in the supermarket, you can also easily make it at home using a few basic ingredients.
While making pickled cucumbers and other vegetables will take a minimum of 5 days to properly pickle them, making pickle juice takes barely 15 minutes!
There are several recipes for making pickle juice at home and you can modify the ingredients according to your taste and needs.
The few basic ingredients include:
- An assortment of herbs and spices
- Your choice of vegetables such as cucumbers, onions, jalapeños, and cabbage (optional)
Here are step-by-step instructions for making pickle juice at home:
- Start with preparing your spices. Peel and chop a few cloves of garlic, grate a few teaspoons of ginger, and use any herbs and spices that you wish to add to your pickle juice.
- For an added kick, you may add your choice of vegetables.
- Next, combine the water, salt, vinegar, and spices in a medium saucepan.
- You may use any type of vinegar that has an acidity level of at least 5%. Some common options include apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and white distilled vinegar.
- Make sure to use a 2:1 ratio of water to vinegar if you want the pickle juice to turn out right.
- Set the burner to low and let the ingredients simmer.
- Once the ingredients have fully incorporated into one another, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the liquid to cool at room temperature.
- For quicker cooling, pour the liquid into a heat-resistant container and put it in the refrigerator.
- After the liquid has fully cooled, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container with a lid. This will catch any pieces of herbs and spices that remain, in addition to the pickled vegetables.
- Serve and drink immediately or store it in the refrigerator for later use.
How To Make Pickle Juice For Pickled Eggs
Pickled eggs, although they may sound unappetizing, are actually pretty delicious and are served with deli meats or as an appetizer or healthy snack.
Making them is super easy — you can either use homemade pickle juice to submerge the boiled eggs in or buy readymade pickle juice from the supermarket.
Here are step-by-step instructions for making pickle juice for pickled eggs:
- Combine the water, vinegar, salt, and pickling spices in a small saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring it frequently.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan, letting it simmer for 10 minutes.
- If you want, you may strain the liquid through a sieve or cheesecloth, or leave it as it is.
- Place a few hardboiled eggs in a jar with a lid and pour the liquid over the eggs.
- Cover the jar with a lid and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks to allow the pickle juice to flavor the eggs.
- For a stronger flavor, let the eggs soak in the pickle juice for 6-8 weeks.
You may prepare different variations of pickled eggs, for example, by adding a peeled and sliced beet into the pickle juice — this will give the eggs a nice pink color!
Alternatively, you may add sliced jalapeño peppers to the jar for a kick of spice or some steamed spinach for a green color and mild spinach flavor.
Best Uses For Pickle Juice
Pickle juice is a versatile liquid that, in addition to having several health benefits, can also be used in many ways.
Not only can you use homemade pickle juice, but you can also make use of the leftover pickle juice from a jar of store-bought pickles instead of dumping it down the drain!
Here are some of the best uses for pickle juice brine:
- Drink it “as is” for its multiple health benefits.
- Brine hardboiled eggs, onions, cucumbers, and any other vegetables of your choice.
- Marinate soft cheeses such as mozzarella and goat cheese.
- Marinate pork chops and steak since it is a great meat tenderizer.
- Use it as an alternative to vinegar and other strong acids (such as lemon juice).
- Add to sauces such as BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and tartar sauce to liven them up.
- Cure fresh raw fish.
- Make savory homemade dill bread.
- Add it while boiling potatoes to give them some depth.
- Use it to make some crazy-awesome potato salad.
In addition to these great uses of pickle juice for cooking purposes, this multipurpose liquid has several non-edible uses as well:
- Use it for stubborn stains on your copper pans and dirty cooktops for a chemical-free way to clean them.
- Use pickle juice in your garden (and on your house plants) as a great way to keep weeds at bay.
Now that you know how to make pickle juice at home and some of the best ways to use it, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have.
Does pickle juice go bad?
Yes, although pickle juice contains a lot of vinegar that creates a hostile environment for bacteria to grow, it will not last indefinitely.
It is very important to properly store pickle juice in the refrigerator or it can go bad, which is why you must be careful when reusing leftover brine.
A simple way to test whether it is safe to consume and still tastes good is to check for any visible mold. Check the sides and the lid, and discard it if you see mold anywhere.
Sometimes, the pickling liquid can become too strong and even inedible. When cooking with pickle juice, make sure to taste it first to check the level of acidity in the brine before drinking it or mixing it into other food items.
How long does pickle juice last in the refrigerator?
Pickle juice kept in the refrigerator will last for about 2 months if stored properly in a sealed container such as a glass jar with a tight lid.
Make sure to keep an eye out for visible signs of the pickle juice going bad, such as the brine turning murky, which could indicate possible bacterial growth.
Can you freeze pickle juice?
Yes, you can easily freeze both homemade and store-bought pickle juice for later use. If stored properly, it can last for a long time without affecting its taste or quality.
All you have to do is pour the pickle juice into a sealable container and freeze it for as long as you want.
To prevent oxygen from getting inside the container, you may vacuum seal it using a standard vacuum sealing kit to store it for even longer.
How to choose the best eggs for pickling?
When making the perfect pickled eggs, make sure you pick small- to medium-sized eggs instead of very large ones.
Not only will this allow you to fit more eggs in one jar but it will also let the pickle juice or brine permeate the eggs more quickly, bringing them to their ideal taste sooner as compared to bigger eggs.
Also, although fresh eggs keep longer, they may be harder to peel once boiled. For this reason, allow the eggs to age for a few days before boiling them so that their shells peel off easily.
How to prepare eggs for pickling?
Place eggs in a saucepan filled with water and bring them to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let the eggs cook in the water for around 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how big they are.
When done, place the boiled eggs in an ice water bath to cool them quickly. Peel each egg while running it under cold water to make the peeling process easier.
Once the eggs have been peeled, add them to the pickle jar, making sure to not overcrowd them. Each egg must have a cushion of brine surrounding it to ensure it absorbs all the flavors quickly.
How long will pickled eggs keep?
Pickled eggs are a favorite food item that can easily be prepared at home using a few ingredients. However, it is very important to store them properly and keep them refrigerated for a maximum of 4 months, or you could risk botulism growth.
To prevent any bacterial growth, make sure to follow certain safety practices when making pickled eggs, such as:
- Using sterilized jars
- Avoiding keeping the pickled eggs at room temperature
- Leaving the boiled eggs intact in the pickle juice
- Letting the eggs sit in the seasoning for at least 2 weeks before eating them
If you want your pickled eggs to last longer, you may opt for commercially processed ones that can keep on your shelf for several months if unopened.