Serious Eats: Talk

Saving the Brine?

I recently picked up The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson, and was reading through it. In it, he has a recipe for a brine that you'd use to make meats like pork, chicken, shellfish taste better. I'm well aware of brining, and how it's become quite a popular technique around Thanksgiving, due mostly to the efforts of Cooks Illustrated. But here's the thing that threw me. Fergus talks about nurturing the brine like an old friend, using it over and over. "a nurtured friend, whose character should improve with time and should give delicious results." (He does take a bow to fears of bacteria by suggesting it be kept cold in the back of the fridge, as opposed to keeping it anywhere else. And he recommends using a non-corrosive bucket.) Still, I'm afraid of the perishable stuff that comes out of the meat, like blood and other stuff. So, what do you think? Do you use it once and toss your brine, or do you think it'd be ok to use and reuse it?

(His recipe contains 1 part superfine sugar to 1.25 parts sea salt, plus herbs and seasoning, like juniper berries, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, but not much else besides water.)

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