Food Waste

I read somewhere just this week that tofu brined in pickle juice before frying is apparently amazing - probably borrowed from the chicken idea. (Not that I eat tofu. But then I don’t eat pickles either.)


Pickle juice as a chicken marinade appeals. Thinking about that this morning. I have a jar of pickles getting low and marinaded chicken could easily be on the meal plan for this week.

At the margins of food waste, I prefer to buy whole pickles. Pickles cut up and jarred seem to get soggy and unpleasant faster than whole pickles. I can cut up whole pickles into spears and discs myself as needed. I do keep thinking about buying a crinkle cutter.

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In addition to the other applications already mentioned, I use it in tuna salad. I also drink it - if I’m bored/hungry as opposed to hungry/hungry, a shot of pickle brine will revive me. But I only from pickles I ferment myself - I wouldn’t drink store-bought.


I know vegetarians who use it to make a substitute Caesar-like dressing - it adds the salty/umami note that’s missing from anchovies.

Also, anywhere else anchovies or fish sauce might be used - or capers even.


I run into this often with watchstanders (so would apply to anyone that is mostly on standby - firefighters, for example). Things like hard cooked eggs and citrus are good because the peeling takes time.

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That’s what I like about pistachios in the shell.

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Serious Eats had two articles a while back about uses for pickle brine. I’m not super in love with all the suggestions and a lot of them won’t actually use up much brine but it’s a decently long rundown of options.

Personally, I’ll just reuse it making refrigerator pickles. Food waste wise it’s kind of a twofer in that 1) you reuse the brine and 2) a lot of the produce we have that goes downhill fast and/or is sold in large amounts makes for a decent faux giardiniera. Plus, the brine only works for an additional batch or two (I think because it pulls water from the vegetables and dilutes itself) after which we consider it spent and are happy to tip it down the drain. I touched on the subject here also.


The leavings from all of which make good compost.

Are the red ones or the green ones better for that use?

I’m definitely going to try using pickle brine the next time I make tampenade, inspired by the muffaletta.

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If you use a mix you can mulch around tender perennials at Christmas.

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Really? I’m sure I’ve thrown them in, but it seems like they would take forever to break down!

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Lots of things take time to break down. Admittedly I work on the “big pile” approach to composting - a big circle with new stuff at one angle and the stuff going into the garden. A few extra shells in the garden is like roughage. Good for drainage. Some egg shells won’t hurt anything. As long as I can’t actually discern coffee filters I’m good. Things will continue to break down in the beds.

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Of course! Even granite breaks down! I get a lot of acorns, and they sprout!

I use these, and there are surely some hard to breakdown things in there. I use a sifter if I need it tidy.

And for longer term. I keep oak leaves in here, and use them “prn” (as needed).

Wait…, don’t tell me…you use a pot.grin

Automod is telling me we should be including others in the conversation.

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Before I shifted to the big circle method I had a big pile. Keeping it turned was a chore. The pile peaked at about 20’ x 30’ x about 6’. Brown to green was a little high. I rented a backhoe to dig a pond and used it to turn the pile which helped a lot. A couple years later I rented a bobcat to prep for a concrete pad (hot tub) and used the bobcat to turn the pile again. Those turnings really helped with throughput. I divided the water lilies from my pond and heaved the trimmings on my pile. The next Spring the darn things bloomed on my pile. I guess it was running a little damp.

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My big pile attracted big snakes. Indirectly.

Big pile > rodents > snakes?

In my really big pile days most of my heap was grass clippings, leaves, and garden trimmings. There was kitchen compost but I was single so in the grand scheme of things not much compared to an acre of grass and trees. The pile was at the far end of the property from the house and a little activity didn’t bother me.

Here and now that isn’t workable. Smaller property and a wife who is deathly afraid of snakes. I don’t do any kitchen compost at all, just in case.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold