Healthy Snack Ideas

I Was Today Years Old When I Learned You Can Make Homemade Pickles in an Empty Pickle Jar Filled with Leftover Brine

Photo: Stocksy/ Martí Sans
Few things are more polarizing than food dichotomies. Think: chocolate vs. vanilla, corner brownie vs. center piece, and pizza with vs. without pineapple. In most cases, people are firmly on one team or the other.

Along with these popular food feuds, pickles are often a heated topic of debate—you either fiercely detest them (and pick them out of your burger the second you see one creeping out of the bun) or you love them so much that you order extra...and eat them straight out of the jar for a casual midday snack. If you identify with the latter of the two, we have good news for you: Lazy pickles are about to become your new crunchy BFF (best food forever).

As you might have guessed from the name, lazy pickles are incredibly straightforward. To make them, you simply take a just-finished pickle jar that's still filled with leftover pickle juice and use said delicious brine to make a few quick pickles out of fresh cucumbers. Are all the juicy details are ahead, and heads up: They’re kind of a big dill.

How to repurpose leftover pickle juice to make a lazy pickle in mere minutes

According to a recent TikTok video by @stephaniegrime, all you need to make a batch of lazy pickles is a cuke and an empty pickle jar filled with juice. Slice your cucumber into quarters lengthwise, then insert each wedge into the jar, submerge them into the liquid, and close the lid. Place the jar in the refrigerator for a day, and voilà: homemade pickle heaven. The final product is not as intensely flavorful as standard store-bought (or homemade) pickles, but lazy pickles are equally refreshing, satisfying, and easy to prepare.

@stephaniegrime #ad @thecoldestwater #coldest I’m obsessed w/this lazy pickle hack!! Thanks @keto_country ♬ Send Me on My Way - Vibe Street

While this hack may seem revolutionary, it’s based on a simple culinary technique that’s been around for centuries called “quick pickling,” which involves immersing food in a spiced vinegar and water solution for immediate or short-term consumption. According to historians, the concept of pickling (and pickles) has been around for more than 4,000 years and dates back to when ancient Mesopotamians began soaking cucumbers in an acidic brine as a way to preserve them. (God bless 'em.) Quick pickles have since become the simplest way to achieve all of the pickle-loving flavors on a time crunch—no pun intended.

By the way, know that you can quick pickle much more than just cucumbers using that leftover jar of brine. Think: red onions, carrots, jalapeños, or asparagus spears.

Health benefits of pickles, according to a registered dietitian

Aside from the fact that they taste like heaven on earth, pickles are loaded with a few surprising health benefits, too. According to registered dietitian Mia Syn, MS, RDN, pickles can be a source of hydration post sweat-session. Why? “While water is sufficient to rehydrate after a workout, those who exercise for a prolonged period of time or are in a hot climate could benefit from electrolyte replenishment. Because pickle juice contains electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium, it can help restore fluid balance in the body,” Syn says.

Additionally, studies have shown that as little as one-third cup of pickle juice can help soothe muscle cramps and assist with post-workout recovery. But that’s not all: Pickle juice may be able to help folks recovery from a pesky hangover, too. “Pickle juice may indeed help you recover from a hangover, because hangovers are brought on by dehydration and loss of electrolytes. As a source of electrolytes, pickle juice, in conjunction with water, can help rehydrate the body after drinking,” Syn says. Whether it's time to trade in your Pedialyte for pickle juice is really a matter of, well, your ability to stomach the stuff. (Just keep an eye on your sodium intake, because pickle juice is loaded with it.)

In addition to eyeing the sodium content, Syn points out that not all store-bought pickles are on the same playing field regarding health benefits. "Reading through the ingredients on the pickle jar label is important. I love Grillo’s pickles because their pickling juice is made with a short list of simple whole food ingredients including vinegar, salt, spices, and herbs, and no additives, sugar, or artificial ingredients."

FYI, aside from the health benefits pickles can offer, recycling pickle juice is a brilliant way to cut back on food waste—especially if you have a few extra cucumbers and a freshly-finished pickle jar filled with briny liquid at your disposal.

This pickled radish kimchi recipe is what gut-healthy dreams are made of:

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