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Can You Reuse the Brine From Cultured Vegetables?



YES, you can reuse the brine from cultured vegetables, but you’ll need to know a couple of things before you do.

Reusing the Brine

If you add a culture to your cultured vegetables, like Cutting Edge Cultures or another starter culture, then you’re going to have extra bacteria in your culture that are stronger than just using salt and no culture. Therefore, you can reuse the brine once you’ve eaten all the vegetables to make another batch. However, the longer you wait to use the brine, the fewer probiotics you will have since bacteria need food to stay alive. It’s best to use the brine within a couple of weeks to make more vegetables and this will insure you have lots of probiotics in your vegetables. You can use it again and again or until you notice the brine getting super cloudy and perhaps developing some Kahm yeast. This yeast isn’t harmful, but it can change the taste of your vegetables. You can also reuse the brine if you used kefir whey instead of a culture package; however, the taste can be a little off putting because of all the added bacteria in kefir whey.
You should use at least 1/2 cup of brine to start another quart or 1/2 gallon jar of vegetables. (If you have more brine than 1/2 cup you can use this as well.) If you are making a gallon, then a cup (or more) of brine is best. You’ll need to add more vegetables, salt, and water to cover your vegetables; and then let it ferment again on your counter the same amount of time as the recipe calls for.

It’s kind of exciting how versatile these foods can be. You can make lots of cultured vegetables easily and affordably because these microbes do the work for you.

11 Responses to "Can You Reuse the Brine From Cultured Vegetables?"
  1. Hi Donna, I needed to tell you my experience with the fermented world.
    I actually overheard a conversation between two moms at a kids’ park in mall in NJ and was so interested that I butted in! I’m generally quiet but I really wanted in on this one. Kefir? Kombucha? Cultured food life? What? One mom was raving about how much her energy level had changed, how she slept better and her overall health had improved. I know it sounds like an infomercial but for me it was the beginning. I’m 42 with 3 small kids and the one thing I could swear on is complete and overwhelming exhaustion. Overweight and caring for my kids was more than I could handle. I was looking for even the tiniest ray of light. A week after this conversation I bought live kefir grains and a scoby. It’s been about 3 months. My noticeable changes have been my rosacea has cleared up COMPLETELY, acid reflux has reduced considerably and best of all for me has been my sugar addiction is gone. I used to eat an entire package of starburst and 5-6 cups of coffee with sugar per day at work. Powerful craving. Since my energy level has been improving I’ve joined a gym. I’ve also read through many fermented books and have started making bone broth, yogurt and ghee (sourdough is getting the better of me). Last but not least I just received my Cutting Edge Cultures yesterday and I can’t wait to make my first batch of applekraut. I have also been able to share the kefir life grains and scobys with at least 10 other women. I know the reason that I will continue this because it is self sustaining. It is no gimmick, truly life sustaining life. Thank you for being a gateway for me, my family, and friends.

  2. I never use a culture starter for my fermented vegetables. I ‘m old-school. But I’ve found that adding a bit of the brine juice from a successful ferment to a new batch helps the fermentation process and adds better flavor.

  3. Hi Donna,

    The Kombucha sounds yummy however I have been told by a nutritionist who read the
    Body Ecology book and says that Kombucha causes candida to grow …it is a wild ferment.

    What is your take on this?

    Thanks, anna

  4. I noticed from your recipes you use alot less vegetables for a gallon of vegetables. How full should I pack my vegetables in a jar before I add water? I noticed you say 1 lb cabbage for a gallon. How many inches of water should be on top of the vegetables! Thank you.

    • Actually this is suppose to be for a half gallon or two quarts not a gallon. Sorry about that but thanks for letting us know. We always cover the vegetables with water and leave a couple inches of room at the top for expansion.

  5. We found the brine from our curtido makes a great dirty martini. We call it a Dirty Curty.

  6. Hi Donna i thought you might be interested in how i use the brine once my veg is done. I have found that the best way for me to get extra good stuff into my smoothie is to make organic kale spinach beet tops into ice cubes. I put it thru my Ninja using the brine for liquid then pour into ice cube trays and then all i have to do is mix my protein powder and ginger etc add a cube and im good to go. I buy chocolate flavor protein and no one knows about the added goodies. Id rather have it all ready than to stand and wash a little of this and a little of that
    Plus the brine can be used while it is still at its prime

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