Just writing that title makes me feel like I’m losing my grip on cooking reality. But then I remember that athletes have been drinking pickle juice to combat cramps for decades and that it was also the inspiration for Gatorade.
If you aren’t familiar with the uses of pickle juice or more traditionally these days, sports drinks, here is a very brief summary on the theory. When you exercise, especially in hot humid weather, you sweat (duh) and as you sweat you lose salt (or electrolytes). One of the functions of electrolytes is to help control the impulses that aid in muscle contraction. When electrolytes get low, cramping can occur.
Some studies indicate that drinking electrolyte rich beverages before or during exercise may prevent cramping. However, there is a lot of debate about its validity and whether these drinks should be consumed before, during or after a run. I won’t get into the intricacies of the electrolyte debate as it warrants a much longer article, but you can read more about the debate here and here. For the sake of this post let’s loosely assume that the general theory is true. Electrolyte rich drinks are good for cramping and I’ll offer this bizarre recipe to test it out.
Just a few things to note before we dive into the recipe.
First, if you are expecting a sweet popsicle this is not it. Despite diluting the pickles and pickle juice with water these popsicles are still salty. That’s obviously the point here but it can be a bit jarring if you’re expecting a traditional sweet icy treat; you’ve been forewarned.
Second, I can’t decide if I actually like them. After my first lick I was turned off by the taste, but I still went in for a second and a third and then finished the whole popsicle. They are addicting in the strangest of ways. I recommend you try a batch of your own and decide for yourself. You may find the natural alternative to sports drinks lovely — or I may have sent you clamoring for another lemon-lime Gatorade.
Pickle Juice Popsicles (makes 6)
- 2 large dill pickles
- ½ cup pickle juice
- 1 water
- Chop up the pickles. Place in a food processor with pickle juice and water.
- Process mixture until it is relatively smooth. I left a few little bits of pickle for no reason other than laziness.
- Place mixture into popsicle molds. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and the stick toothpicks through the plastic as a makeshift mold.
- Put popsicles in freezer for 6 hours-overnight.
I’d love to know what you think — good homemade alternative to a sports drink? Or just plain eww?
Written by Lisa Horvath.