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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Duck Confit Croquettes with Yuzu Vinaigrette

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I recently traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for a conference recently. Although I pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport quiet frequently, I rarely have time to leisurely grab anything to eat while trying to get from one terminal to another to catch a connecting flight.

However, this time I had an extended layover and being that it was lunch time, I decided to take full advantage of what the restaurant scene in the airport had to offer, and in checking the menu outside the establishment it appeared that One Flew South would fit the bill.

Located in Concourse E, One Flew South is the first upscale dining experience in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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Photo Credit: One Flew South, 2017

 

The cuisine at One Flew South  can be described a spirited global fare featuring a ‘Southernational’- Cuisine inspired by world travels specializing in Deep Southern and Asian flavors that cannot be denied with dished prepared largely with high quality, fresh, local ingredients from regional farmers and purveyors. An added bonus is that frequent fliers’ know that this Southern/Eclectic spot offers an exceptional prepared to-go selection for travelers as well.


               Photo Credit: TripAdvisor 2018.

The food menus has offering covering soups and appetizers, salads, sandwiches and full entrees. The  is a dessert menu for those that may have a sweet tooth, so be sure to ask your server to share it with you.

One Flew South has a top shelf bar that serves proper cocktails and features an exceptional sushi menu and take-away items. The restaurant presents an enticing culinary destination for travelers braving the world’s busiest airport.

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        Photo Credit: One Flew South, 2018

 

With that being said, I ordered the French Southern inspired duck confit croquettes and the thyme braised pork belly. The croquettes were made with duck, English Peas and Carolina grits and served with fennel slaw, candied citrus, Yuzu vinaigrette and topped with micro greens of cilantro and parsley.

As for the entree,the thyme roasted pork belly was cooked to perfection and served over a bed of parsnip puree and a black-eyed pea and arugula salad. This dish is normally served with a blackberry-onion marmalade, but because the blackberries were not in season yet, the chef made do with a balsamic vinegar reduction. I am working on replicating this recipe and hope to post it at a later date. Stay tuned!

The service was great and I truly enjoyed my meal and I could not wait to get back home to my kitchen to see if I could create such and interesting appetizer tailored to my taste. You see, cooking is pure happiness for me and I was truly inspired my first dining experience at One Flew South I start with this French inspired crispy Duck Croquettes recipe that is absolutely amazing. This process is a bit time consuming in terms of preparation, as they are a bit tricky to make, but they are so totally worth it. Make a few extra while you’re at it. You can keep them in the freezer, just ready to deep fry when you want to.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Croquettes:
3 Duck Legs about
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Béchamel:*
2 tablespoons all purpose flour*
1 oz unsalted butter
1 cup Whole Milk
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Breading*
Finely ground Japanese Panko bread crumbs*
2 Eggs
1 cup rice flour
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

For the Candied Citrus Peel:**
1 grapefruit
2 Navel oranges
2 lemons
2 1/2 cups sugar

Yuzu Vinaigrette:***
Yields Approximately 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup Yuzu Juice, Yuzu marmalade or Monin Yuzu Fruit Purée
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oilSalt and pepper, to taste

For the Fennel Slaw:
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, or to taste
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 lb fennel (sometimes called anise; about 1 1/2 large bulbs)

For the Garnish:
Mixed Micro greens

Directions:
To make the confit: Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper the duck thighs and fry in a little olive oil. Once it got nice color put it in a large casserole.

Saute the shallots and add to the casserole with and garlic. Add wine and some olive oil.

Place the casserole in the oven at 350°F for about 1 ½ hours, until the meat is soft and falling off the bone. Let it cool down to manageable temperature and pick the meat from the bone.

Chop the meat finely and add to a bowl. Also,  add  the shallots from the casserole and add to the bowl.

For the Béchamel: Add the onion and the butter to a medium saucepan and cook on low heat, until the onions are translucent. Whisk in the flour with a little of the milk to the saucepan. Stir and slowly add the remaining milk until a thick paste is formed. Bring to a boil,  constantly stirring.  Reduce the heat and cook over low heat for a short while, as the consistency should thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove from the heat and set aside, allowing the béchamel  to cool slightly.

To  a large plastic or stainless steel bowl, add about 1 cup of the béchamel, the chopped duck and  the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Place the bowl in the freezer to solidify the mixture, for at least 1 hour. This step makes it easier to manage the meat mixture.

Spray your hands with a light coating of vegetable spray. Using a small ice cream scoop, fashion the croquettes, by rolling the meat mixture in balls, about 3 ounces each, and set on a plate. Place the croquettes in refrigerator for a least 4 hours.

To make the candied citrus peel: Score grapefruit, oranges, and lemons through peel from top to bottom in 6 sections for grapefruit and 4 for oranges and lemons (don’t cut into fruit). Pull off strips of peel with your fingers. Slide a small, sharp knife along inside of peels to remove excess membrane so peels are about 1/4 inches thick. Cut peels lengthwise into strips about 1/2 in. wide in center and tapered on ends.

Put peels in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then drain. Repeat twice more.

Refill pan with 2 1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 cups sugar; bring to a boil, making sure that sugar dissolves. Add peels and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until peels turn translucent and syrup begins to form bigger bubbles, about 1 1/2 hours.

Drain peels, saving syrup for other uses (such as topping pancakes) if you like. Spread peels on a nonreactive cooling rack set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow peels to dry completely, about 2-3 hours.(Store the candied peels in an airtight at room temperature for future use.)

Meanwhile, make the yuzu vinegrette. In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients except oil until combined. Slowly add oil with blender running until all of the oil has been added.If you do not have a blender or food processor, then add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well blended. Decant to a glass mason jar or cuvette and set aside.

To make the fennel slaw: Whisk together all ingredients except fennel. Trim fennel stalks flush with bulb, discarding stalks, and remove any discolored outer layers. Halve fennel through root end and discard core. Thinly slice fennel with a mandoline or other manual slicer.Place the fennel in a large bowl and toss the fennel with enough dressing to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When you are ready to fry the croquettes, set up the breading station. In the first shallow dish add the flour. Whisk the eggs and add them to a shallow bowl. Add the breadcrumbs to a third shallow dish. Dip a duck conift ball, first in flour, then beaten eggs and finally in breadcrumbs. Set aside. Repeat until all the balls have been coated.

Add several inches of vegetable oil to a deep fryer or a large pot. Heat the oil to 360°F.  Deep-fry the croquettes in batches, if necessary until they are a nice golden brown in color. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

To serve as an appetizer, with the fennel slaw,followed by the croquettes, topped with the candied citrus, micro herbs and the yuzu vinaigrette.

 

Cook’s Notes:
* You can substitute cornstarch for the flour for a gluten free option. Also use gluten-free breadcrumbs as an alternative to the the Panko.

**To save time, make the Citrus Candied Peel several days ahead and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

***This simple yuzu-soy vinaigrette goes well with many dishes, as a dressing for salads, cooked veggies, as a sauce for raw fish dishes such as tuna tartare or sashimi, or as a dip for homemade tempura. Yuzu marmalade (Yujacheong, 유자청), can be purchased from a local Asian Markets. If you cannot find Yuzu juice at your local supermarkets, you can use lemon juice as a substitute.

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!

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Kentucky Bibb Lettuce Salad with Bourbon Vinaigrette

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Bibb lettuce is named for its original cultivator, John Bibb. In 1865 he grew his special Bibb lettuce in Kentucky’s alkaline soil. This variety, also called limestone, would become the first American gourmet lettuce. Bibb lettuce varieties are known for tolerating varied soils and heat and resisting blight during summer months, making them a choice lettuce for home gardeners. Not only does tender Bibb lettuce comes from Kentucky,  but  so does the best Bourbon whisky, both coming together in a perfect combination of Southern flavors that is fits nicely on the menu for a Kentucky Derby brunch.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
8 chicken breast skins
1 1/2 cups pecan halves and pieces
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8 cups torn Bibb lettuce (2 to 3 medium heads)
4 cups trimmed watercress
4 large peaches, pitted and sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

For the Bourbon Vinaigrette:
Makes 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Woodford Reserve Bourbon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup canola oil

Directions:
For the Chicken Skins:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat chicken skins dry.Bake skins on parchment paper-lined sheet pan for 15 minutes.Remove from the oven to cool.Crumble the skins into medium -sized bits and set aside.

For the Pecans:
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Toss pecans in butter. Stir together brown sugar and red pepper in a bowl; add pecans, tossing to coat. Spread pecans in a single layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined shallow pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned, toasted, and fragrant. Remove from oven.Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; separate pecans with a fork and set aside.

For the Bourbon Vinaigrette:
Whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, bourbon, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add canola oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth.Set aside.

For the Salad:
Gently combine the watercress, peaches,red onion slices and pecans in a large bowl.

To serve, place several Bibb leaves on a salad plate. Place the peach mixture on top of leaves. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese and chicken skins bits on top of the peach mixture and lightly drizzle with the vinaigrette.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor