Tangy and salty, with varying levels of sugar, spice, and sourness — not everyone is a fan. They’re what you might call an acquired taste.
Of course, for those of us who do love them, we can’t stop singing their praises.
We swear by them as an effective way of waking up the senses, we pop them in Bloody Marys, we even deep-fry them and serve ‘em up as a snack! In the pro-pickle camp, we’re pretty keen on showing the world why briny, flavorful pickles are the best.
Of course, up until now, most of the arguments have been about food and taste. Now, however, we have a brand-new tactic: pickle juice!
Most of us throw out our pickle juice once we finish the jar, even those of us who love the taste. As it turns out, that’s a huge waste of money; plain old pickle juice has tons of hidden benefits that we should all be taking advantage of.
Check out the gallery below to learn a few of the secret skills your pickle juice is hiding!
Pickle Juice 101
What exactly is pickle juice?
The ingredients in pickle juice vary depending on recipe, but most blends include salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and onion. Other spices that might be added include celery seed, dill, cloves, and turmeric, among others.
The purpose of pickling is to preserve fresh vegetables after harvest, because the compounds in the brine will kill off the bacteria that makes fresh food rot.
People pickle everything from the classic cucumber to more surprising ingredients like watermelon rinds and hard-boiled eggs. But now, people are finally examining pickle juice beyond its preservation properties: its surprising alternative benefits!
Pickle Juice Benefit #1: Eases Heartburn
Heartburn is an uncomfortable, fiery sensation that most people experience after overindulging, or eating something extra spicy or acidic. You might think pickle juice would only make this problem worse, but a sip of brine is actually a reliable fix for heartburn.
Surprisingly, vinegar, which is highly acidic, seems to be the ingredient that does the trick.
According to RefluxMD, science is still working out this puzzle, but it may be that the vinegar in the juice encourages your stomach to produce more natural antacids.
This helps to balance out the acidity working its way through your system.
Pickle Juice Benefit #2: Soothes Sunburn
I’ve experienced plenty of painful sunburns in my life, and I usually reach right for the aloe to help soothe the discomfort.
As it turns out, it may be helpful to use a little bit of pickle juice, too!
Aloe cools the burn and helps to promote new, healthy skin growth, but pickle juice comes in handy if the burn stings or itches badly.
According to the Kitchn, the salt and vinegar in the juice have an instant effect that takes the sting right out of the uncomfortable sensation.
Pickle Juice Benefit #3: Relaxes Muscles
If you’re someone who works out or gets muscle cramps pretty regularly, you may have heard the term “electrolytes” thrown around.
Electrolytes, micronutrients that help keep our synapses firing, get lost when we sweat or otherwise lose water.
Without them, our muscles cramp up and stop responding as well.
Fortunately, pickle juice is packed with electrolytes like sodium and potassium, so diluting a few spoonfuls into some water can recharge your body the same way a sports drink might, and, as described in a
New York Times article, will stop cramping in its tracks.
Pickle Juice Benefit #4: Helps Sore Throat
We all get sore throats from time to time, and they can be a real hassle.
As long as it’s just a sore throat, and not something more serious, there are a couple of simple home remedies.
A warm saltwater rinse is often recommended to kill germs and balance pH levels.
Instead, consider warming some diluted pickle juice to gargle, and reap the additional balancing effects of the vinegar in the juice.
Pickle Juice Benefit #5: Cleans Copper Pans
If you cook with copper-bottomed pans, you may despair of ever getting them back to their shiny, new-penny glory.
Well, never fear, that blackened char and dull color that copper pots acquire over time will disappear in no time with a little elbow grease and pickle juice.
The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through the gunk, and the salt and acid react with the greenish oxidization to brighten up your cookware in a flash.
Pickle Juice Benefit #6: Fertilizes Plants
With summer just around the corner, most weekend gardeners are getting their veggie patches and flower beds into fighting shape.
But did you know that the secret ingredient to an extra-green thumb might be a jar of green pickle juice?
For plants that like acidic soil, like hydrangeas and rhododendrons, pickle juice can provide a much-needed boost to help support happy plants.
Just make sure to test your soil and research the plant before you start pouring pickle juice on it!
Pickle Juice Benefit #7: Adds Flavor
You might be disappointed when you finish up a jar of pickles, until you realize what you can do next!
Go through your fridge and hunt down any stray veggies that need to be used up.
Carrots that are drying out, leftover broccoli, and red onions can all be submerged in leftover pickle juice overnight.
When you test the veggies the next day, you’ll have some fresh quick-pickles with a tangy zip all their own!