Cooking with Pickle Juice

Chicken in Pickle Juice/Honey Glaze

The older I get, the more I realize I am turning into my Mother. She hated to waste food. She also hated to waste flavor. Let me explain.

If mom were roasting a piece of meat or perhaps a chicken, she would use the pan drippings to make gravy. Nothing odd about that.

However, if she was not using the drippings to make gravy, she would still save the drippings to use later on. She would scrape them out of the pan and toss them in the freezer. Then she would use her saved drippings in all sorts of dishes later on. She would add them to soups, or her sweet and sour cabbage.

When the last pickle was eaten from a jar- Mom would save the pickle juice, as she called it. She said she hated to just throw it away, it had so much flavor in it. She would use the liquid in different ways. Sometimes, she would just add more veggies to the jar. Sometimes she would add the pickle juice to a dish.  She saved the liquid from both sweet pickles and dill pickles.

To this day, I have a hard time tossing leftover pickle juice. I have two jars in my fridge right now. I also save those drippings to use later. Whenever I use them, I remember her. That is a nice memory for me.


So how do you use pickle juice? Probably the easiest way is in salad dressing. It’s already vinegar based. I just prep my salad veggies, toss with some oil and drizzle with some pickle juice. Depending on the brine, you might not even need to add salt. Finish with some fresh ground pepper.


Tossed Salad with Pickle Juice Dressing

You can add pickle juice to sauces, chili, dressings, soups and veggies. Add a little, then see if you want a bit more.It is a nice base for marinades, too.

I used it in a tossed salad the other night. I just added some avocado oil to the veggies first. I tossed the oil in, then drizzled in some pickle juice. I added some fresh ground pepper and a little Asiago cheese to finish off the salad.

Pickle juice can make a nice base for a sweet and sour sauce, too.

I used it in a chicken dish the other night. I sauteed chicken thighs and shallots in a pan. Then I added sherry, pickle juice and honey to the pan. The mixture, cooked down into a glaze was very tasty.



Chicken Thighs in a Pickle Juice/Honey Glaze

6 chicken thighs, bone in

1 lb. shallots, peeled and sliced

1 c. chicken stock

1/2 c. pickle juice- from sour, not sweet, pickles

1/4 c. sherry

1/4 c. honey

1 t. fresh grated ginger

hot sauce to taste

fresh ground pepper to taste

In large skillet, brown thighs on both sides over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until they are just starting to turn golden. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low. Cover pan and let chicken cook about 15 minutes. Really large thighs could use 20 minutes. Remove lid and turn heat up to medium. Allow liquids in pan to cook down into a glaze.  Baste chicken pieces a few times. As sauce cooks down, turn heat down a bit to prevent it from burning. This will take about 10 minutes. You probably won’t need salt, but check seasonings before serving. Place chicken on serving plate and spoon over the shallots and sauce.




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