When you buy a jar of pickles, you're paying for the vegetables—and for the pickling liquid. Rather than throw away that brine, here's how to put it to good use.
We've already found that you can repurpose the brine to make another batch of pickles. But since the main ingredients in most pickling brines—vinegar, salt, and sugar—are all effective flavor enhancers, you can also use the leftover liquid to add zing in all kinds of applications. Drizzledill pickle juice over warm potatoes before making potato salad. Add pepperoncini juice to a Bloody Mary or a pan sauce. Instead of spritzing lemon juice on your steamed vegetables or your grilled fish or chicken, add a little of the liquid from pickled jalapeños. Note: The vinegar in brine is slightly diluted by water pulled from the vegetables, so you can't substitute it one-for-one with vinegar or lemon juice. Also, some brines are extremely salty, so if your recipe calls for salt, withhold it and season to taste at the end.