Clone Your Favorite Store-Bought Pickles for Under a Dollar

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by Leif Starbuck

Eat a lot of store-bought pickles? Read on to find out how, by reusing the pickle brine, you can "clone" your favorite brand of pickles at the cost of around 75 cents a jar.

This recipe makes one jar of pickles. You'll need:
   1 ''used" jar of pickles with brine reserved
   1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar
   1 Tbsp table or kosher salt
   1 cucumber
   2 cloves garlic (optional)

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Step 1: Reserve Your Pickle Juice.

My favorite brand of store-bought pickles is Claussen. The juice is almost good enough to drink -- an option I gave into on a couple occasions when pouring it down the drain just didn't seem right. So, for this tutorial, reserve as much as possible, as there's a lot of flavor still in there after the pickles are gone.

Step 2: Add Salt, Distilled Vinegar, and Optional Herbs/spices.

To the existing pickle brine I added one tablespoon each of salt and distilled vinegar -- ingredients that are part of the original brine but had no doubt been absorbed (and eaten) in the factory pickles themselves.

I also added some fresh chopped garlic, which is optional. You could also try adding chili peppers, onions, fresh dill, mustard seed, or maybe even brown sugar. But when cloning, don't splice too many genomes, you could end up with a monster that wheezes "kill me" every thirty seconds.

When that's done, seal the jar and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Make sure all the salt has dissolved into the brine, instead of sitting uselessly at the bottom.

Step 3: Add Cucumber.

One cucumber cost me all of 59 cents, and one was all it took for a regular-sized jar. Start by washing the cucumber. Slice it into coins, or try your hand at making spears. I prefer to slice at about a quarter-inch cut, so that the pickles take less time to brine and sit easily on sandwiches.

Step 4: Refrigerate for a Week or More.

Put the jar in a drawer in your fridge and try to forget about them. The pickle are quite enjoyable after a week, and seem to get even more tender after two. And I'll be a monkey's uncle if they don't taste just like the Claussen pickles that sometimes cost over four dollars at the supermarket.

"Cloning" this jar of pickles cost me less than a dollar. Salt and vinegar are some of the cheapest things at the store. Adding fresh ingredients make this a creative -- if not diabolical -- experiment.

How many times can you repeat this? I haven't gotten that far yet, but I imagine the flavors start forgetting their roots about the third or fourth batch.

Please experiment with your favorite brand of pickles and share your results. Enjoy!


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      13 Discussions

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      big Eric

      Question 4 weeks ago on Introduction

      How long will the pickles last in the fridgw

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      Jeanette3

      Tip 1 year ago

      Don't use regular cucumbers from the grocery store they have wax on them and the skin can be bitter. Use pickling pickles they are the short stubby ones don't get ones that are way to fat they will be mushy and the skin is tough on it. Use pickling salt not table salt, you can even use sea salt rather than table salt. You can use any other spices you like I add extra garlic a small amount of sugur and red pepper flakes and I use fresh white onions and green onions in addition to the other stuff mentioned..

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      NancyM149

      3 years ago

      The pickle recipe works great. I've shared this with lots of friends. And I've made lots and lots of pickles :)

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      AlexC221

      3 years ago

      There is a drink I sometimes make called Pickle Back.
      1 part pickle juice
      1 part rye

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      TabiC

      4 years ago

      I use the left over pickle juice as a salad dressing- add oil and parsley for an awesome oil and vinegar dressing.

      1 reply
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      StickStoneBone

      8 years ago on Step 2

      You are a genius! I have but one recommendation: use official "Pickling Salt" instead of 'seasoning salt'. It's very cheap and you can get it year round at your local Walmart.

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      jjewels119

      8 years ago on Introduction

      I've done this without adding anything to the existing pickle juice, and it still turns out pretty good. I'll have to give this a try.

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      ladylissa

      8 years ago on Introduction

      i enjoy a sip of pickle juice from time to time and it's great!

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      vandal1138

      9 years ago on Step 4

      You know, I've had the same thoughts as i'm dumping the brin down the sink..... 1st thought: These pickles are so good i should drink this... 2nd thought: Could i make more pickles with this and would they be as good? 3rd thought: Drinking this was a bad idea....