Best recipes to celebrate National Pickle Day

It’s time to celebrate mankind’s briniest food.
Recipes that use pickle brine
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/ Source: TODAY
By Erica Chayes Wida

It's time to put pickles to use beyond their role as a sandwich topping and celebrate them in all of their briny glory on National Pickle Day!

Sure, the dill pickle has been circulating the food world as a trendy, yet sometimes controversial, ingredient in dishes like ice cream pickle splits (no banana needed), pickle pizzas and even pickle-stuffed Oreos covered in chocolate. If you're someone whose cringing at the thought of these funky foods, don't stop reading — there are surprising ways to use pickles (especially the brine) in classic dishes.

"Brine can be a valuable addition to many standard recipes for food and drink alike," Travis Grillo, CEO and founder of Grillo's Pickles, told TODAY Food. "Pickle brine is packed with flavor and is a great compliment without complicating the rest of the recipe." Plus, he added, using up any brine helps cut down on food waste.

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Grillo is a dill-obsessed pickle expert. He and his team even created a bouquet made of pickles for Valentine's Day. Now that's love. Some of Grillo's favorite uses for pickle brine include using it to make tangy salad dressings alongside or in place of vinegar. He uses it to marinate and tenderize meats and to amp up savory cocktails like martinis, bloody marys and gin and tonics. The brine can also be used to pickle more pickles or other vegetables like zucchini, beets or red onion.

"Slice up a red onion and throw it in the container with the leftover brine, then add a mixture of 1/4 cup boiling hot water with celery seed and cumin. Let it sit overnight and voila!" Grillo said.

But dressings, marinades and cocktails aren't only the uses for pickle brine. A study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine found that drinking a small amount of pickle juice after a workout can help immediately relieve muscle cramps.

If that's not enough to convince non-pickle people to reserve their pickle jars, maybe these recipes will do the trick. Each one uses brine to enhance the flavor with a special kick.

Balance crunchy coleslaw with a tangy, well-seasoned dressing. This recipe uses chopped dill pickles, plus the brine, along with celery seed, pimentos, radish and sweet onion for a dish that will kick up any barbecue.

It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to switch up a classic roast turkey recipe. Impress guests with a tender, juicy turkey with a salty, crisp skin. Thai chili pepper or habanero can be added to the brine to give it a spicy edge or the dill pickle brine can be replaced with a bread and butter pickle brine for a mix of salty and sweet notes.

This bloody mary will be a hot new favorite for brunch lovers and folks looking for a spicy hangover remedy. It has all the classic ingredients like Tabasco, Worcestershire and horseradish, which then become enhanced by a pickle brine (we suggest using a spicy pickle brine) for a hot and sour kick.

Guacamole typically has the perfect ratio of creamy avocado chunks, spice and zesty lime juice. Try adding finely chopped pickles and hot pickle brine to the mix, and you'll be amazed at how well it pairs with the spicy flavor profile of the beloved Mexican dip.

Knowing how to master a classic pickling recipe is key for any true pickle lover. The beauty of this brine is that it can work with a myriad of veggies. You can use dill seed or fresh dill to make this easy recipe. The flavor differs slightly but the process is nearly identical.