Reuse Your Pickle Juice!

By Liesl Clark

We love our Claussen pickles (they’re one of the few commercial brands of food we buy) and for years I’ve regretfully poured the pickle juice out, until my passion for reuse got the better of me and we did an experiment.

Claussen Kosher Dill Pickle Juice, Sans Pickles. Photo © Liesl Clark

Claussen Kosher Dill Pickle Juice, Sans Pickles. Photo © Liesl Clark

We sliced some beautiful spanish onion very thinly and threw it in the pickle juice sans pickles. A few hours later, the pickled onions were perfect! We’ve been enjoying them ever since. They go nicely on a salad, in guacamole, in tuna salad sandwiches and would likely be perfect for hamburgers and hot dogs. My children eat them straight out of the jar.

Thinly sliced Spanish onion is perfect for pickling. Photo © Liesl Clark

Thinly sliced Spanish onion is perfect for pickling. Photo © Liesl Clark

I did a little research across several discussion boards, to make sure reusing the juice is okay, and here’s what I learned: You can definitely reuse the juice to pickle fresh or blanched veggies in your refrigerator. Some people expressed concern about the health risks in reusing pickle juice for a new stash of pickled somethings. But almost all sites concluded that you should simply use your best judgement. Many admitted even drinking the stuff. Perusing the web showed me that there are pickle  juice-reusers out there who have been doing it for years. With good instincts and taste buds, and as long as you only reuse the pickle juice for short-term pickling in the refrigerator (no more than a couple of weeks), I think your re-pickles will be worth the risk.

Pickled onion. Yum. Photo © Liesl Clark

Pickled onion. Yum. Photo © Liesl Clark

Some people add a teaspoon of kosher salt and another of distilled white vinegar to the jar to ensure a strong brine.

We’ve even started pickling our fresh-laid (hard boiled) eggs in there for a delicious lunch snack for the kids when cucumbers aren’t in season. Vegetables to definitely try are: Green tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, cauliflower, and mushrooms (very short term pickling). I’d like to also try a kimchi experiment with cabbage and carrots and use the pickle juice when I’m brining my kimchi.

Of course, the one down side to Claussen pickles is that they’re not entirely plastic-free. There’s that little plastic neck thing that corporate food tends to have around it to prove that no one has tampered with the glass jar. Local organic pickles don’t have those annoying plastic sealers and most of us are used to hearing that “pop” when a jar of safely-canned food is opened. You can always make your own pickles. We do, when they’re in season, and we have a great refrigerator pickle recipe for you here.

Organic Homemade Refrigerator Pickles. Photo © Liesl Clark

Organic Homemade Refrigerator Pickles. Photo © Liesl Clark

Other pickle juice reuse ideas that I’ve discovered?

1) I found one reference online that said you can clean your copper pots with pickle juice. Just dip your sponge in the juice and polish away!

2) Make a salad dressing using your pickle juice.

3) Try your hand at Polish pickle rye bread.

4) Pickletinis: Mix pickle juice with a dash of vodka or gin. I dare you to try one.

Do you have any pickle juice reuses to share? Please do in the comments below!

If you’re looking for more food reuses, please visit our Trash Backwards app where we have reuse ideas for everything, including fresh produce:

Click Through for Fresh Produce Reuse Ideas at Trash Backwards

Click Through for Fresh Produce Reuse Ideas at Trash Backwards


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Categories: DIY, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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22 Comments on “Reuse Your Pickle Juice!”

  1. February 3, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Can’t wait to try this!

  2. Janell
    February 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    We toss radishes in along with the onions and cucumber slices. If you put a hot pepper in the pickle juice, there’s even more punch.

    • February 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Hi Janell! Love the idea of radishes. We’ll try some daikon radishes from the garden (thinly sliced) in there tonight. Thanks for the tip.

  3. February 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Admittedly, I am a pickle juice drinker. I was told, as a kid, that it wasn’t healthy, but as I’ve grown, I’ve found that the human body will crave things it needs for basic nutrient balance. Seems I just needed a lot of salt in my diet as a kid lol Or at least that’s the excuse I’m going with.

  4. February 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    here is a good one (cocktail), note – the article stresses that Jameson is the way to go, he explains, here…

  5. February 6, 2013 at 6:31 am #

    When we moved to Arizona (desert) my son was active in sports and would become easily dehydrated. We heard about a pro football player who used pickle juice to prevent dehydration and the accompanying cramps and decided to give that a try. It worked better than anything else, especially those commercial sports drinks.

  6. Camille
    August 17, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I have also found this to be a great way to preserve excess summer squash. Thinly sliced zucchini and crookneck squash that may be growing faster than I can use it gets turned into this savory snack for later.

  7. September 8, 2013 at 5:03 am #

    Sometimes when I make my own cucumber pickles, the juice gets watered down so I add a tiiiny bit of concentrated white vinegar to “re-sour” it. Works great!

  8. JohnyP
    April 5, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    I reuse the juice to make my own fresh pickled eggs as well, I also add carrots, jalapenos and onions to the mix just to give the eggs more zip and the carrots, onions and eggs go well with a fresh salad.

  9. July 7, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    When my throat starts getting scratchy and I can tell I’m coming down with a sore throat, I take a big swig of pickle juice, and another in a few hours if need be. Not sure why, but it never fails to wipe out that nasty sore throat before it takes hold.

  10. phyllis
    December 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    I agree. Pickle juice is the best drink but it has to be Claussens which are hard to find in Southern California.

  11. December 8, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    My husband and I fight over the juice….we drink it! Would like to find just the juice available!

  12. Sarah Winters
    April 4, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    I sip leftover dill pickle juice (refrigerated of course) to relieve leg or foot cramps. Works quickly everytime.

    • AJ
      February 16, 2017 at 6:51 am #

      Sounds a lot like dehydration. Make certain you’re getting plenty of water as well. Water will re-hydrate and the salty brine replaces some electrolytes.

  13. Pete
    April 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    I use it in my tuna and chicken salad, onions, veggies, eggs.

  14. evain
    July 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    So I did this with a jar of sweet bread and butter pickles. The first batch of refilled cucumbers did great and tasted amazing, the second time I tried it, it started getting fizzy and carbonated after a couple of weeks. When I opened the jar, it was fizzing like crazy non-stop. Is this still safe to eat? I mean….it’s never been left out in a warm area, it’s always been in the refrigerator. How did it ferment? IS IT SAFE TO EAT?

  15. Mary
    December 23, 2016 at 7:30 am #

    I use dill pickle juice in my Bloody Mary. Yum. I also take a shot of tequila and chase it will a shot of dill juice. Try it you might like it.

  16. Sam Long
    March 13, 2017 at 6:39 am #

    I save the Juice and add a Tablespoon to a Gin or Vodka Martini instead of Olives or Onions. The more P Juice the Dirtier the libation! GREAT STUFF!

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