The most common thing most people do when they are done with their jar of pickles is to dump the juice down the drain and dispose of the pickle jar. The brine that is left behind can be used for a number of foods to make them very tasty!
Bonnie Plants provides The Home Depot with a wide variety of vegetables. Out here on the West Coast we are able to grow vegetables year round. This allows our home gardeners the opportunity grow different crops throughout the year. Pickling and canning is a great family activity and can be shared by all generations. With a wider variety of vegetables to pick, you can continually add to your pickling menu.
Take onions for instance. Did you know that you can use that pickle juice to pickle your favorite onion? Or how about using that brine just to add some extra flavor to your onions? Yum! You can try any number of combinations that you find tasty, even combining some of your favorite veggies together. One of my favorites is beets.
How about using radishes, cauliflower, carrots, string beans, onions, beets, zucchini and garlic cloves, sliced or whole, and, yes, even asparagus!?!?!?!?!
You can even use plain old dried, crushed chili peppers in the pickle juice to spice up your mix.
For some added color, you can add some red and yellow Bell Peppers to your mix also. Do not forget the great flavor that dill can add as well as slices of cabbage too.
To add a little kick, to your pickle juice, add some chili pepper seeds and allow them to marinate in the juice for a few hours or days before you use it. You can even use some jalapenos or serranoes if you are adventurous or even, if you dare, some Habaneros.
Pickling is not a new idea. Our Grandparents and Great Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles as well as distant cousins used this process of pickling to preserve items that would normally need refrigeration, but when pickled, they attained a natural preservative that greatly extended their shelf life. If they could grow it or raise it, they found way to preserve it by using the pickling method.
There is a specific recipe to follow so make sure you take out your cookbook or check with some friends who have done this before. Pickling is a bit different from canning. Be sure to do your research before you begin.
Have you ever gone into a corner store or local watering hole and saw a large gallon jar of pickled eggs on the counter? Tasty! My parents had large ceramic vats in the basement that were used to pickle any number of different foods including cooked meats, no chicken though!
Being from Minnesota, I can remember a Sunday morning treat of “Pickled Pigs Feet” shared with my parents. We came from a farming family and this type of odd food was a treat for us. Keep in mind, this was a cooked item!
Pickle juice should contain an ample amount of vinegar. Try different brands of pickles, both dill and sweet pickles just to see which one you like the most.
The Pickle Juice craze has also found its way into the club scene as well, although, not so much out here on the West Coast. The next time you go out for a Sunday Brunch, try asking for your ‘Bloody Mary” with a bit of pickle juice!