You should save your leftover pickle juice. Here’s why

If you eat a lot of pickles, you’re probably used to having half a jar of green liquid left once all the pickles are gone. If you’ve just been pouring the stuff down your sink, though, you may be missing out on the best part of the pickles. As Healthline reports, pickle juice actually has a number of health benefits, so much so that some athletes will even use it as a recovery beverage, doing straight shots of the stuff post-workout since it’s known to relieve muscle cramps more quickly than water alone can do.

Pickle juice also contains electrolytes that can help you rehydrate, and is far lower in fat and calories than most commercial sports drinks, and costs a lot less, too (since it’s basically free with the purchase of your pickles). It also contains antioxidants that can boost your immune system functioning, and the vinegar it contains can help with gut health, maintain a healthy blood sugar level, possibly aid in weight loss efforts, and even freshen your breath.

Use pickle juice in cocktails

If the idea of knocking back a glass of pickle juice straight up does not appeal, how about mixing it into a drink? Bon Appétit suggests using pickle juice in a Bloody Mary or a michelada, or else having a “pickleback” chaser after a shot of whiskey. Garden and Gun adds that pickle brine can be substituted for the olive brine in a dirty martini, and a little frozen brine goes nicely in a glass of bourbon. Pickle juice, oddly enough, might even help make cheap wine more drinkable.

Not a booze drinker? That’s okay, you can still enjoy a refreshing pickle juice slushie. After all, it worked for Sonic, didn’t it? Taste of Home called their pickle slushie “sweet and tangy and super-refreshing,” and said it was reminiscent of “a pickle-flavored margarita”, which is yet another possibility worthy of exploration. Oh, and in case you overdo it on those pickleritas, it’s good to know that drinking pickle juice can also help to cure a hangover (via Medical News Today).

Use pickle juice in cooking

Pickle juice can be substituted for vinegar in just about any type of dish, including salad dressings or homemade mayonnaise, and Taste of Home also recommends using it to freshen up deli salads such as tuna, potato, or egg salad. Pickle juice also makes for an excellent meat tenderizing marinade, and it goes well with cheese (grilled, pimiento, mac and, etc.) and helps liven up creamy chowders, white sauces, and mashed potatoes. StyleCraze has a recipe for pickle brine gazpacho, while Food has a recipe for Polish dill pickle soup. Self suggests making dill pickle bread, which could go nicely with the pickle butter from Noble Pig. Pickle juice is undoubtedly chicken’s very best friend, as well, since it’s perfect in chicken salad, fried chicken, and of course copycat Chick-fil-A recipes. Pickle juice desserts are also a thing. If you have a snow cone maker, The Daily Meal provides a recipe for pickle juice snow cones, and the Grand Forks Herald published recipes for pickle juice cupcakes and cookies.

Of course, if you’re feeling lazy, you can always just use your pickle juice to make more pickles. Not just cucumbers, either — Bon Appetit says you can use your leftover juice to pickle onions, garlic, or hard-boiled eggs. Just slice them up and toss them in the brine, but make sure to keep your new pickles refrigerated. Taste of Home warns that reused pickle juice isn’t safe for use in canning.

Make pickle juice your new skin toner

It may sound a bit weird, but there are evidently quite a few kitchen cosmetics enthusiasts who swear by using pickle juice as a skin toner. One woman experimented with using this home beauty hack, and wrote about her results for Bustle. She began applying fresh sour dill pickle juice twice a day after cleansing in place of her usual toning mist, and after a full week’s worth of use found that it gave her “nothing but hydrated, soft skin” at a much lower price than her store-bought toner. The only issue with swapping her regular product for pickle juice on a permanent basis was that she felt pickle juice shouldn’t be kept around for longer than a week’s time, so it would be necessary to buy a new jar of pickles every week. Not much of a downside, if you’re a pickle addict! More like a really good excuse to keep on buying (and eating) more pickles.

Use pickle juice around the house (and garden)

Pickle juice can be used to clean copper pots and pans, as Wide Open Eats explains that its acidity will allow it to break down difficult spots and stains. They also suggest using pickle brine to scrub charred food off a grill, and Garden and Gun quotes a restaurateur who uses it to clean off the stovetop since it makes for a natural alternative to harsh chemical cleaning products.

Wide Open Eats also reveals a gardening hack involving pickle juice. Evidently the acidity and the salt in pickle brine make for an effective weed killer, and one that’s reassuringly non-toxic and pet-friendly, as well.

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