By Kelsey Miller, Refinery29
Here at R29, we try and stay on the cutting edge - always on the lookout for that new wonder product that will change your life. Today, we may have discovered the ultimate power player: pickle juice. Yes, that green stuff leftover at the bottom of the jar. It does, essentially, everything. What started with an anecdote about an old hangover cure turned into a little curious Googling, and soon we discovered a wealth of pickle-juice uses so vast we couldn't keep it to ourselves. Looking for a natural weed killer? A PMS remedy? A trendy new cocktail? A wunderkind ingredient for healthy cooking? The answer is pickle juice. Seriously.
Here are a whopping 17 uses for this miracle product. Got anymore favorites?
RELATED: 9 Magical Superfoods You've Never Heard Of
If you can stomach it on a hangover tummy, pickle juice is a known folk remedy that actually works. It replenishes your depleted sodium levels and helps to assist in rehydration. In many countries, people even take a shot of pickle juice before going out to help prevent dehydration in the first place.
Forget coconut water. Athletes swear by pickle juice's scientifically proven benefits to exercise recovery. In one 2010 study, pickle juice halted post-workout muscle cramps in 85 seconds. That, plus its electrolyte-restoring powers has even yielded Pickle Juice Sport - a dill-flavored sports drink. But really, most athletes stick to good old Vlasic!
For those same reasons, pickle juice is widely used as a cure for menstrual cramps. It may also prevent you from eating four bags of potato chips in one day. Not that we ever did that. That was a friend.
Add a heavy splash of pickle juice to a pot of simple boiled potatoes for a fantastic side dish. The flavors absorb so perfectly you won't want to add salt, butter, sour cream, or anything to these taters once you're done. Making potato salad? Skip the mayo, and toss with veggies and pickle juice for a much healthier (and more flavorful) version.
Odds are you've seen this cocktail on a bar menu sometime in the last couple years (lore has it they were first sold out of a London food truck in 2011). Perhaps you scoffed or called it a fad, but the truth is bartenders claim this to be the perfect complement to whiskey, instantly soothing the taste buds and aftershock of a rough liquor. Order one, and you will order five. For bonus points, follow that up with a Pickletini.
Pickle juice works in place of vinegar in salad dressing, soups, or virtually any recipe. It is essentially vinegar on steroids.
Along with its flavor-boosting benefits, pickle juice seems to have the same health effects as straight-up vinegar. Particularly effective as a heartburn soother, pickle juice may also help to avoid blood-sugar spikes if taken with a meal.
Bloody Mary Booster:
On the not-as-healthy-but-just-as-important side of the spectrum, pickle juice is absolutely dynamite in a Bloody Mary. When its hangover-killing benefits combine with a little hair of the dog, nothing could make your Sunday morning any greater. Except cronuts.
Food industry insiders have been using pickle juice to clear blackened copper pans for years. It also works well as a grill cleaner, making those charred, crusted-on bits much easier to scrape off.
Dill Pickle Bread:
Make this. Make it now.
True, you can buy these on pickleaddicts.com (actual, real thing), but you can also just pour some of this glorious nectar into pop molds, paper cups, or ice-cube trays and make your own savory summer snack.
Or maybe you just want some more pickles? Empty your vegetable drawer and throw some onions, carrots, peppers, whatever, into the jar of leftover pickle juice. Let them sit for a few days and BOOM: new pickles!
Meat Tenderizer & Marinade:
Pickle juice has amazing meat-tenderizing abilities and, as a marinade, will add a ton of flavor to your meats, without the extra cals in heavy sauces or marinades. It works exceptionally well on chicken - some claim a skinless breast soaked overnight in pickle juice will taste like fried chicken when cooked, and we say that is voodoo but we're okay with it. Try it on cuts of pork and beef, too.
There is very little in this world that sounds more healthy-boring than poached fish. But, add your pickle juice to the poaching water and you will never look back.
The high vinegar and salt content of pickle juice has made it a longtime favorite with gardeners. Dumping it on dandelions, thistle, and virtually all common weeds that crop up around your home. Bonus, it's pet-friendly and you probably already have it in your fridge!
We lost track of all the things you can add pickle juice to, but some favorites include: BBQ sauce, hummus, chicken salad, mac 'n' cheese, gazpacho, deviled eggs, vinaigrette, borscht, beet salad, salsa, bean dip, sauerbraten, and meatloaf.
We've found little scientific evidence backing up this claim (and, frankly, we're glad the scientists are working on other things), but many, many people claim that the number-one cure for hiccups is a small glass of pickle juice. Given how well this stuff works on everything else in the world, we believe it.
More from Refinery29:
5 Ways To Jumpstart Your Metabolism Now!
Here's How Much Sugar Is In Your Food (And It Ain't Pretty)
How To Spring Clean Your Body - Inside And Out
The Weirdest, Craziest Fad Diets Of All Time