Wait, Don’t Throwaway that Pickle Juice!

What to Do With Leftover Pickle Juice in the Sustainable Kitchen In the time of COVID.

If you didn’t know by now, a type of pickle juice is one of those secret ingredients that gave birth to Gatorade.

Gatorade was created in 1965 by a team of scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine, including Robert Cade, Dana Shires, Harry James Free, and Alejandro de Quesada. Following a request from Florida Gators football head coach Ray Graves, Gatorade was created to help athletes by acting as a replacement for body fluids lost during physical exertion. The earliest versions of the beverage consisted of a mixture of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice. Yes the formula for pickle juice! Just like the recipe Grandma used for canning her summer cucumbers and other vegetables.

University of Florida football player Chip Hinton testing Gatorade in 1965, pictured next to the leader of its team of inventors, Robert Cade.

 Drinking pickle juice after an intense workout can help prevent muscle cramps. It also contains electrolytes (even more than most sports drinks!) that can help you stay hydrated. So, don’t throw away that precious pickle liquid!

So you’ve come to the end of a jar of pickles, and you are left with just the liquid, bereft of the delicious vegetables it once contained. Do not panic. Do not be afraid. Do not despair. And most of all, do not pour down the drain of your kitchen sink. That pickle juice or pickling liquid is not just watery trash.


Growing up, my grandmother and mother wasted nothing…..NOT A THING in their kitchens. They are we call now, sustainable cooks in the kitchen with ZERO WASTE. I remember the old Maxwell Coffee Cans that sat on the stove, being filled with bacon grease that was perfect for frying chicken livers in, or for roasting potatoes. I still keep an old metal coffee pot with the strainer to pour bacon grease in for reuse. They would also save the ends of vegetables and scraps of cabbage leaves and onion skins to make vegetable stock. And any organic material that was left, would go into the compost pile or my grandfather’s worm bed. He kept all kinds of worms in a pit he made out of discarded old bricks. And to say  that these were the best worms you could use to go fishing with. The best natural fish bait ever.

Happy memories……But I digress……  

So what is really in commerically made pickle juice

So what is really in commercially prepared pickle juice?
Always read the labels, because they will tell you everything you need to know as the ingredients are listed in descending order, from greatest amount of what is being used to the least amounts used in the product. Did you notice it is very similar to the original recipe for Gatorade?

Photo Credit: One Good Thing, 2018.


If you play it right, it can add some pickle flavor to all kinds of delicious things. Pickle juice is a precious commodity, and you should use it. How?

Marinate Chicken In It
You know how Chick-fil-A chicken is always impossibly tender and delicious? Well, I am going to let you in a little secret. Part of that is because it’s marinated in pickle juice. Use the same trick to make copycat Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches,or nuggets or tenders, whatever makes you happy, at home.

 

Meat Tenderizer
Salty, tangy pickle juice makes a great marinade for meat. You can also use it to tenderize tougher cuts! For a marinade that’s perfect for pork or steak, whisk together some pickle juice, minced garlic, pepper, and mustard. Brush the mixture on the pork or steak, then let it marinate for an hour or up to overnight. Grill or roast the meat for a tender and flavorful meal.

Photo Credit: One Good Thing, 2018.

 

Put It In a Cocktail
A pickleback—a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice—is one of those things you don’t think will work until it does. But what about a pickle martini? Use the juice like you would the brine from a jar of olives to make a pickle-y dirty martini, why not. It’s also an excellent addition to your next Bloody Mary.

 

 

 

 

Add It to Pimento Cheese
Ahhh, Pimento Cheese on a buttery Ritz cracker for most Southerners is like having a smidgen of caviar on a blintz. The next time you’re making a batch of beer cheese or pimento cheese try pouring a little bit of pickle juice in there for flavor and a little body. It’s delicious.

Photo Credit: Williams Sonoma, n.d.

 

 

 

 


Use It Instead of Vinegar
We are in the middle of the COVID Pandemic and you need vinegar but don’t have any around? Try using pickle juice. You could even use it as part of a vinaigrette to add some sour notes to a salad, or cut through the fat of something particularly rich, like a soup.

 

 

Add it to Mayonnaise for a Sandwich Spread
Do you like pickles on your sandwich already? Good news: You can combine mayonnaise and pickle juice for a pickle-y spread for all that flavor in one.

 

 

Make More Pickled Food
Toss a handful of baby carrots or shredded carrots in the jar and let it sit in your fridge for a few days. The pickled carrots make for a delicious tangy snack.

Another option delicious option would be using thinly sliced red onions or red radishes, plus a few sprigs of cilantro for an extra pop of flavor. These quick pickled onions vegetables would be perfect as a topping for salads, sandwiches, or tacos!

You can also put a few peeled hard-boiled eggs in pickle juice to make pickled eggs! Again, just leave them in the fridge for a few days to let the pickle juice work its magic.

Photo Credit: One Good Thing, 2018.

Sources
Eby, Margaret. (2019). What to Do with Leftover Pickle Juice. Food and Wine Magazine. Accessed May 20, 2020.

History“. 2012. Gatorade. Accessed May 20, 2020.

Kays, Joe (2003). “Gatorade – The Idea that Launched an Industry”. University of Florida Research. Accessed May 24, 2020.

Nystul, Jill (2018). 7 Unexpected Things You Can Do With Pickle Juice. One Good Thing. Accessed May 24, 2020.

 

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Turkish Red Lentil and Rice Soup

IMG_0335 lentils

Did you know that lentils are edible seeds from the legume family? They are well known for their lens shape and sold with or without their outer husks intact.Though they are  a common food staple in Asian and North African cuisines, the greatest production of lentils nowadays is in Canada.

For the most part, lentils have a number of health benefits. They are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and serve as an excellent source of protein. They  also pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors and type 2 diabetes.

Lentils are often categorized by their color, which can range from yellow and red to green, brown or black. Red lentils are  are split and cook quickly. They’re great for making dal and soups and have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor.  And the best part about lentils is that they are easy to cook and do not require pre soaking prior to cooking, making them perfect for soups and stews.

And with that being said, Turkish Red Lentil and Rice Soup fits the bill for healthy eating on a budget, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

This simple, yet robust soup is rich with spices and tomato. It gets a pleasantly thick body from white rice and  red lentils, which soften and break down during cooking. The Aleppo pepper is a wonderful addition, lending a gentle heat. If you can’t find it, order online or substitute with an additional teaspoon of paprika and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. 

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons long-grain white rice
3 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Aleppo pepper oil:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
For Serving:
Chopped fresh mint leaves or basil leaves
Lemon wedges 

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
Add the lentils, rice, water, vegetable broth and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving.
Serve with mint or basil and lemon wedges.

Chocolate Orange French Madeleines

 

IMG_0068Here is a Quarantine Kitchen Challenge…..

I was  craving something sweet and during this COVID19 Pandemic, and as I walked into my kitchen pantry to find:

No butter, no problem.
No chocolate chips, no problem.
No milk, no problem.
No flour, no problem……

But with the ingredients I did have on hand in my pantry, included:   Talenti Lemon Bar Gelato ®, eggs, oranges, vegetable and Hershey’s ® Cocoa powder, the dilemma of not having butter, milk , eggs, flour or chocolate was easily conquered. I quickly figured out that I could make…..Chocolate Orange French Madeleines. And here’s how I did it.

Makes about 3 Dozen

Ingredients:
For the Madeleines:
1 box  of yellow or white cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 pint of Talenti Lemon Bar Gelato®, melted
Zest of 1 large, orange divided
Vegetable spray or oil
All purpose flour, for dusting (if you have it on hand)

For the Chocolate Sauce:
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar

Special Equipment:
A madeleine pan

To make the Madeleines:
To a large bowl, add the cake mix, the oil, the eggs , the gelato and about 1/2 of the orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, blend the ingredients into a thick batter.

Lightly coat the madeleine pan with vegetable cooking spray or lightly brush with oil. Lightly dust with flour. Tap out the excess. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Prepare a baking sheet, and place a wire rack over it for cooling. Prepare a second baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

Remove the batter from the refrigerator. Using a measured tablespoon, fill  each shell with the batter Place the madeleines in the oven and bake for 10-15  minutes, until slightly golden, springy to the touch, and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove the tray of baked madeleines and t immediately, loosen the madeleines from the tray using a wooden skewer and then gently remove from the tray and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. If you leave the madeleines to cool in the baking tray then they will almost certainly get stuck.

In the mean time, prepare the chocolate sauce.

Add  the ingredients to a small sauce pan and stir until a smooth paste is achieved. Using a double boiler on the stovetop,  add the small sauce pan and gently heat until the chocolate is glossy and all the solids have dissolved.  Add more oil as needed to get the consistency desired. Set aside and keep warm in the saucepan in the double boiler.

Once the madeleines are cool, it is time to dip them in the chocolate. Pour  the chocolate into a  small mug or other tall and narrow bowl and dip the cooled madeleines into the chocolate.  Allow any  excess chocolate to drip back into the dipping container and then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Place the chocolate dipped madeleines in the  refrigerator for 10 – 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to completely set.

To serve, place the madeleines on a serving platter and garnish with the remaining orange zest.IMG_0122 madelines

Cook’s Notes:

These madeleines should stay fresh for 2-3 days if stored in an airtight container, although they are at their absolute best soon after coming out of the oven. The Madeleines can also be frozen for 2-3 months.

To replace one ounce of unsweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon butter, shortening or oil. Dissolve the cocoa in liquid that is already used in the recipe.

To replace one ounce of semisweet chocolate, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa plus only 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter, shortening or oil and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.

For more information on different types of chocolate, see All About Chocolate and, from Cooking LightChocolate Essentials.

If you cannot find Talenti Lemon Bar Gelato® in your local area, feel free to use plain vanilla ice cream.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!