If you follow a whole-foods or traditional diet, you’ve probably eaten your fair share of lacto-fermented sauerkraut (in fact, it’s probably fair to guess that you’ve even made some from scratch, right?). Lacto-fermented sauerkraut–and other naturally fermented foods, like kimchi–are staples on most anti-candida diets, too. They’re bursting with healthy probiotics and taste great as well.
I’ve always loved sauerkraut, ever since I was little and would observe my mom dipping a fork directly into the jar to nab a little snack. (Yep, she just ate it straight like that, for fun).
Now that I consume sauerkraut twice a day on most days, I sometimes eat it straight, too. I also go through quite a lot of sauerkraut–and am often left with the sauerkraut-less brine at the bottom of the jar. In fact, the brine contains its own abundance of healthful probiotics and nutrients, and it’s a shame to simply feed it to the denizens of the drain.
If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing you’ve been throwing out a lot of sauerkraut brine, too.
So, I’ve been experimenting with some novel ways to consume the juice. It’s a great way to avoid waste, to be economical, and to consume the tangy flavors of the brine even after the solids have been eaten.
Here are my TEN FAVORITE USES FOR SAUERKRAUT JUICE. Please leave a comment below and let me know some of yours!
[Sweet and Spicy Glazed Tempeh–try subbing sauerkraut for the acid of the lime juice in this!]
1) Marinate tofu or tempeh in it, mixed with other ingredients.
You’ll add a lovely, mild tang to the marinade and increase your absorption of minerals. This recipe is a great one to try–just replace the lime juice with sauerkraut brine.
2) Add it to salad dressings.
[This lovely creamy Kale and Fennel Salad with Radicchio has sauerkraut juice in the dressing!]
The brine works much like apple cider vinegar would to provide a zingy flavor to the dressing, while adding more probiotics to your plate! Try the creamy dressing from this salad, or use it in this one instead of the pickle juice.
3) Add to dips and hummus.
I add a shot of sauerkraut juice to my black bean dip or hummus. The flavor is mild and doesn’t really affect the flavor overall, but it adds moisture along with gut-friendly bacteria.
[This Tangy Cheese recipe from Living Candida-Free is made with sauerkraut juice!]
4) Use it in dairy-free cheese.
I use sauerkraut juice in this Tangy Cashew Cheese from Living Candida-Free. The probiotics in the sauerkraut juice help to ferment the cheese as well.
5) Make cashew mayo or tofu mayo with it.
As with cheeses, the fermented juices add flavor and healthful probiotics to your mayo. Here’s a good recipe for tofu mayo (replace the lemon juice with sauerkraut brine); or this cashew one would work, too (replace half the lemon juice with sauerkraut brine; use the other half lemon juice).
6) Add it to savory pancakes (like the batter and “sour cream” for these zucchini fritters).
Nuff said. 😉
7) Drizzle it over cooked veggies.
Try a bit of sauerkraut brine instead of oil or Earth Balance on your veggies next time for a great flavor sensation!
8) Add it to your green juices.
I love a good green juice in the morning, and a splash of sauerkraut juice is just what I need for an additional pick-me-up. Or, just try this Sauerkraut Juice Cocktail.
[“Sour Cream” and Onion Kale Chips. Photo: Nicole Axworthy.]
9) Make my “Sour Cream” and Onion Kale Chips–or any kale chips–with it.
Use a dash of sauerkraut juice for the sour tang of sour cream in your kale chips recipe. (This is another recipe that features in Living Candida-Free.
But really, any kale chip recipe could benefit from a splash of sauerkraut brine! Try this one or this one.
[Vegan and gluten-free Mac N Cheese Casserole–great with a bit of sauerkraut brine!]
10) Add it to pasta sauce
A few tablespoons of sauerkraut juice added to your regular pasta sauce provides a subtle tang to tomato, and lovely zing to Mac N Cheese.
[Gluten-free Olive and Cheese Bread with sauerkraut instead of vinegar? You betcha! (And put some in the cheese, too!).
11) [Bonus use!] Use it instead of ACV in baking.
In a pinch, I’ve used some sauerkraut juice (just be sure there aren’t any pieces in there!) instead of ACV in my baked goods. The acidity of the juice reacts well with the baking soda and provides some lovely leavening action.
And if you’re looking for some non-cooking uses, check out this post (I can’t vouch for any of them, but they sound intriguing). Also this one.
I hope that gives you some ideas for your leftover sauerkraut brine! Now, tell, me: how do YOU use the leftovers?
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Johanna GGG says
Great ideas – I hardly eat sauerkraut but this is great to see – we have a local business that makes great sauerkraut and they even sell some brine which I have used to make vegan cheese with – I have also had sauerkraut in my mac and cheese so this sounds like a great idea. I have been dreaming of making your kale chips and trying the sauerkraut from your cookbook so you never know….
Ricki Heller says
I love that you put sauerkraut in your mac and cheese, Johanna! I am doing that next time! 😀 And don’t you love the cheese with the brine in it?? 😀
Awsome! I’ve been making my own for a while, and as i usually top my lunch salads with saurkraut, I pour some of the juice in a mini tupperware with some olive oil and call it a day dressing wise! Its great with chickpeas and sprouts, or in my case, tuna and egg for a nicoise kinda flare. Ive been itching to make lacto-fermented salsa, but all the recipes or most i found used whey as a starter. I can’t even eat butter inside pastry dough im so lactose intolerant – never mind whey! Think i could use old saurkraut juice to replace the whey?
OOOOH! And im proud to say I have a SCOBY growing inside some store bought raw kombucha in the works! Ill let you know how that turns out in another week and a half! (i SOOO wanna peak, but i can’t!).
YAY for dairy free probiotics!
Ricki Heller says
That’s awesome, Frederique! I haven’t ventured to try my own kombucha yet. . . but will wait with bated breath to see how yours turns out! 😀
Mary Jo says
Could you use sauerkraut juice instead of or along with lemon in pesto?
Ricki Heller says
Mary Jo, that sounds like a GREAT idea! Absolutely, I think it would work. Come back and let us know what it’s like if you do decide to give it a try! 🙂