Pickle Brine and storage!

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Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Wrainy » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:34 pm

Hello!

Our camp is planning on making A LOT of pickle brine for our bar. (30-50 gallons). I'm looking to my fellow burners for some guidance or advice on how to prepare and store it out there on the playa. We will not need cucumbers..just the juice. I've seen a few recipes online for brine, but I have not tried any of them yet. We may experiment with sweet, garlic, spicy, and dill..still undecided. Ideally we don't want to do "live" juice as it will likely rot out there. We will not have a fridge, or ice filled deep freezer either. (I may or may not have access to canning supplies her in Seattle if we need it.)

So, anyone have a quick recipe or advice on how to prep gallons upon gallons of Pickle Brine?

Thanks!
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby mudpuppy000 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:33 pm

Is this for a drink?? Pickle brine won't rot, that's the point of it, to preserve food. :D
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Roark » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:58 pm

Agreed. Brines are a longstanding way of preserving food. Meat can be brined such that there is no growth of bacteria or spoilage, as can eggs, cheese, root veggies, and just about anything else.

I don't recall the concentration exactly (I think it was around 8%), but at some point in the salinity curve the nasties are not interested in growing. If you monkey with the pH too, you can assure preservation even longer.

I have pickled stuff before. It works wonderfully, but this is NOT something I would try on the playa. Do it at home, let it soak properly, and then bring it to BM with you for consumption. Remember that brineing, if done improperly, can actually **select** for the most nasty of the bacteria. In other words, if you do it wrong, you'll be making a lot of people very sick.

Food for thought. :mrgreen:
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby trilobyte » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:06 pm

Wouldn't an unflavored/unused brine have a slightly different flavor than one that's been used for pickling? I imagine that the process of pickling the cucumber (or other item) would have a residual effect on the brine, and depending on the kind of drink your bar's making that make a difference. For example a pickleback (shot of whiskey chased with pickle juice) would be a whole different thing if you were using some other kind of brine water.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:17 pm

trilobyte wrote:Wouldn't an unflavored/unused brine have a slightly different flavor than one that's been used for pickling? I imagine that the process of pickling the cucumber (or other item) would have a residual effect on the brine, and depending on the kind of drink your bar's making that make a difference.

Ditto, and I hope so. Otherwise my vodka infusions are an exercise in manufactured nostalgia...
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Roark » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:20 pm

Trilo: Brining is pickling. :)

There are two basic routes to pickling. One uses salt, the other uses an acid (like acetic acid, aka vinegar or lactic acid). A third route is a hybrid of the two (salt + acid). Subsets of the two methods above can use a fermentation phase as well. In such cases, not only is the preservation due to salt/acid/both, but also to acid-loving bacteria as well.

The taste of a brine bath is produced by things other than the brine itself. In other words, there are things added to the bath for flavor. Mustard, garlic, etc are favorites, as is cumin, sage, rosemary, thyme and the like. The final taste of a vinegar (or acid-based) bath is similarly dominated but modified by the bacteria that grow during the fermentation period.

Interestingly, some of the "flavors" (like mustard) were not introduced just for their flavor. They were introduced because they themselves had bacteriostatic properties. The flavor just came along for the ride.

Likely way more than you wanted to know... but there ya go. :mrgreen:
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby maladroit » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:46 pm

My first job ever was a stocker for a local grocery chain. One day, I was walking past one of the big stacks out front, and smelled what I thought would be the worst smell of my life. I was wrong...when we dug into the stack to find cases of loosely capped jars of Peter Piper pickles, THAT was the worst smell. They were no longer pickles, just gangrenous milky slurry oozing out and soaking into the cardboard. I still can't touch a Peter Piper pickle jar, 18 years later.
Last edited by maladroit on Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby VultureChow » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:52 pm

Man, I could have this conversation for hours.

Assuming you have a safe level of acidity, then you can store in the shade with no problem. Unless they're in pasteurized jars, I wouldn't do it forever, but with the right acidity, you should be fine for a week.

Regarding Trilo's comment about the flavor, a salt based brine from a fermented pickle will definite need to actually be pickled first. Otherwise it would just taste of salt. And I wouldn't use that brine for drinks.

Most pickle juice based cocktails are done with a vinegar brine. Cornichons and gherkins are done this way with no natural fermentation. And when you think about the strength of the flavors that go in there with the cucumbers, the cucumbers add very little flavor to the brine. You could theoretically get a perfectly delicious standard pickle brine with garlic and some herbs without the cukes. You could can it like you would a juice in some quart jars. You could also get some great results just steeping it some containers in the fridge.

A vinegar brine is basically diluted vinegar with some salt and other flavorings. And home flavored vinegars are perfectly safe to store at room temperature without canning. You could also experiment with undiluted flavored vinegars and then maybe adding some water to cut the acidity at your bar.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby trilobyte » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:59 pm

My point, Roark, was that the Wrain's original post said they weren't looking for cucumbers, just the juice. I'm not really into pickles myself (though we serve plenty at our camp), but from my limited grasp of the subject the brine is flavored by the thing that it's used to pickle. Cucumbers, carrots, green beans, eggs, beets, whatever… and all of that would be distinctly different from something that isn't used to pickle anything. It could make a monumental difference when it comes to mixing a cocktail.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby maladroit » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:03 pm

Perhaps some just-in-time magic during mixology, by putting a dash of Mr. Q. Cumber in with the brine? http://foodjunk.wordpress.com/2011/10/3 ... -a-review/
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby VultureChow » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:07 pm

trilobyte wrote:My point, Roark, was that the Wrain's original post said they weren't looking for cucumbers, just the juice. I'm not really into pickles myself (though we serve plenty at our camp), but from my limited grasp of the subject the brine is flavored by the thing that it's used to pickle. Cucumbers, carrots, green beans, eggs, beets, whatever… and all of that would be distinctly different from something that isn't used to pickle anything. It could make a monumental difference when it comes to mixing a cocktail.


Carrots, beets, onions, whole garlic cloves, etc would add to the flavor enough to be missed, but only if your're looking for it. It's the equivalent of saying this vodka doesn't taste like strawberries when you're drinking straight vodka. Pickling brine tastes like pickling brine. Adding things to it certainly changes the flavor profile, but no one will mistake if for anything other than what it is. Regardless you could easily use more brine and less pickling veggies to get the flavor you are looking for with more brine for drinks. Common sense though, slice them thin so you get more of the flavor into the brine.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Roark » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:23 pm

trilobyte wrote:My point, Roark, was that the Wrain's original post said they weren't looking for cucumbers, just the juice. I'm not really into pickles myself (though we serve plenty at our camp), but from my limited grasp of the subject the brine is flavored by the thing that it's used to pickle. Cucumbers, carrots, green beans, eggs, beets, whatever… and all of that would be distinctly different from something that isn't used to pickle anything. It could make a monumental difference when it comes to mixing a cocktail.


Yep. And it's a point well taken. :) I was just filling-in the background info for anyone who was of a mind to play pickling-games. "Pickling" is a big subject (as Vulture Chow et al have aptly shown), with only a small part of that spectrum suitable for the ethanolic mixologist.

Make mine vodka, with a pickle! :mrgreen:
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Wrainy » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:46 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone!

Basically what we are doing is a Pickleback bar, and need several gallons of just brine for the week. We had thought about buying 5 gallon jugs of hamburger pickle chips, but didn't want to deal with rotting pickles at the end of the burn.

I will try some experimentation with some brines and flavorings and see what happens. I just didn't want the "juice" to go bad in the heat. :)
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby oneeyeddick » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:12 pm

Have you ever seen a pickle rot?
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Eric » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:58 pm

Wrainy wrote:I will try some experimentation with some brines and flavorings and see what happens. I just didn't want the "juice" to go bad in the heat. :)


Figure out the type of flavor you want, then research the brine as if you were going to make an actual pickle. Say you want to make a kosher dill brine to add to a drink: find a recipe online, make it, don't add the cucumbers (but do add the dill & other flavorings). The flavored brine is what makes the pickle taste like a pickle, otherwise it would just be a salty cucumber.

Like VultureChow said, if you want something that has the flavor of onions, garlic, etc (ie: something strong), you will have to add that to the brine. Just remove before heading out to the playa, seal the jar & you should be fine.

I'm still drinking the brine from my pickles at the end of the week out there, no problems. Keep it off the ground & in the shade.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby VultureChow » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:20 am

Wrainy wrote:Thanks for the replies everyone!

Basically what we are doing is a Pickleback bar, and need several gallons of just brine for the week. We had thought about buying 5 gallon jugs of hamburger pickle chips, but didn't want to deal with rotting pickles at the end of the burn.

I will try some experimentation with some brines and flavorings and see what happens. I just didn't want the "juice" to go bad in the heat. :)


Three more things.

If you buy commercially packed pickles, it will be even less likely to spoil, so no problems there.

Whole pickles would theoretically give you more brine per container as they don't pack as tightly as chips or spears.

If you offer the pickles to burners, you will not have a problem of leftover pickles. You will run out of pickles long before the brine.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby maladroit » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:12 pm

VultureChow wrote:If you offer the pickles to burners, you will not have a problem of leftover pickles. You will run out of pickles long before the brine.


This is a ray of pure wisdom, here. Very few burners will turn down a chilled pickle as they wait for their drink.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby dragonpilot » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:23 pm

Pickle brine...who knew. This list never ceases to amaze.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Bounce530 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:36 pm

Figure a shot of brine for a pickle back is 1 ounce, there are 128oz in a gallon, and you're wanting to bring 50ga?
That's 6,400 shots.
6,400 shots/7 days= 914 shots a day.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby maladroit » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:22 pm

Enough for me and 8 friends.

Maybe you take a shot of Jameson and then go down a kiddie slide headfirst into a pool of pickle brine with your mouth open.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Savannah » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:25 pm

maladroit wrote:Enough for me and 8 friends.

Maybe you take a shot of Jameson and then go down a kiddie slide headfirst into a pool of pickle brine with your mouth open.


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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby TomServo » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:40 pm

I make my own Olive Brine, for Dirty Martinis. Not exactly sure how different it is from Pickle Brine....but... I mix water, salt and a little bit of vinegar. Pour it into the jar of olives, shake and refrigerate. The salt/water mixture is trial and error, based on the size of the jar and type of olives. I like to use garlic stuffed olives, as the garlic also adds to the flavor. With the brine separated from the olives, you can freeze it. Since the process doesn't take very long at all, I just rotate a few jars at once, keeping the brine constantly with the olives. Hope any of that helps.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby Maxx » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:28 pm

VultureChow wrote:
Three more things.

If you buy commercially packed pickles, it will be even less likely to spoil, so no problems there.

Whole pickles would theoretically give you more brine per container as they don't pack as tightly as chips or spears.

If you offer the pickles to burners, you will not have a problem of leftover pickles. You will run out of pickles long before the brine.


That's a good point. (I'm in Wrainy's camp.) It might be worth just purchasing commercially packaged jars of pickles, then running an ad on BMIR to come on over and eat pickles. They'll be off our hands right quick, happy, overheated people get to chow down on electrolyte-providing pickles, and we have an easier time pouring brine shots at the bar.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby maladroit » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:32 pm

There are camps based entirely on providing pickles, and even they are unable to keep them around for long.
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Re: Pickle Brine and storage!

Postby trilobyte » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:08 am

Yeah, we served pickles on the playa last year (don't forget to get your Nevada Health Permit). Very, very popular. One or two of our neighbors was serving up picklebacks at their bar and couldn't keep up with us, we ended up taking a few jars of leftover juice back with us.
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