At least once a week, someone asks me if they can reuse pickle brine. The kind that’s leftover in the jar after all the pickles have been eaten. I’m here to say, yes! You can absolutely reuse that brine as long as…
- You’re only using it to make refrigerator pickles. Once a brine has been used to can something, that’s it. You can’t do it again because you can’t guarantee the acidity level once it has been heated up, hot water processed, absorbed by vegetables and refrigerated for an unknown amount of time.
- It doesn’t look murky or cloudy. I typically find that the maximum number of times you can replenish the veggies in a jar is three. After that, you’ve lost too much brine volume and it’s developed an unhealthy scum.
- Add a splash of undiluted vinegar or some fresh lemon juice to the jar to boost the acidity of the brine.
As long as you keep those things in mind, you can safely reuse pickle brine!
One tip when refilling your pickle jar is to take out the last of the pickles from the previous batch before popping the fresh veg in. I forgot to do it last time, and now all my wonderfully cured pickle slices are trapped at the bottom of the jar.
If you are looking to make your own pickles, consider trying my refrigerator dill pickles! They’re a quick pickle that can are a good introduction to the art of preserving. And you can reuse the brine when you’re all done!