Could Pickle Juice Be the Solution to Icy Roads?

August 03, 2018 05:17 PM

Most people have heard of putting pickles on sandwiches, a burger or maybe a Bloody Mary, but how about on an icy road?

Believe it or not, it's happening right here in Minnesota, not with whole pickles, but rather, with pickle juice.


"The first load we got, we brought here and it sat outside and we opened the tote and it was like, 'Woooo,'" Carver County Public Works Operations Manager Michael Legg said of the stench.

RELATED: Turning to Beet Juice and Beer to Address Road Salt Danger

Here's the deal: Carver County currently spends thousands of dollars every year on salt brine, which is used to treat roads in the winter. But they noticed some other public works departments using food grade byproducts instead, like in Polk County, Wisconsin, where they get cheese brine for free.

Well, Carver County doesn't have cheese brine. What they do have, however, is a local pickle maker with plenty of pickle brine to spare.

"It's a waste product for them," Legg said. "So if we can recycle it and make it a green solution for Carver County, that's a win."

RELATED: Hold the Salt: Road Engineers Look to Cut Back Usage on Minnesota's Roads

Long story short, the pickle juice appeared to work just as well as typical salt brine. The only problem? Inconsistencies from batch to batch.

"Whether it's sliced pickles for hamburgers or the butter dills or garlic flavor this or whatever they do, it changes the consistency of the pickle brine," Legg said.

But nevertheless, he still believes pickle juice -- or something like it -- is the wave of the future.

RELATED: Hennepin County Running Low on Treated Road Salt

"Recycling of plastic products isn't anything new. We do it with plastic bottles, we do it with steel, we do it with everything," he said. "Why not a food grade byproduct?"

It's an idea many Carver County residents seemed intrigued by, although some did express the same concern.

"Might as well use it for something," one man said. "Hope my neighborhood doesn't smell like pickles though."


Josh Rosenthal

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