Olive Juice: Benefits and Recipe
There are many people who wonder about olive juice and its potential impact on health. Olive juice is often mistakenly called olive oil but olive juice is the brine liquid base that is found in jars of olives. A similar briny substance is what you find in jars of artichokes and pickles as well. Whereas pickle juice tends to have a few more benefits due to the nature of the pickling process, olive juice does have some potential benefits that people enjoy.
The rich and salty taste makes it a natural choice to use as a cooking oil, much like you would use olive oil. It is also good when drizzled over certain acidic salads or meat/fish dishes. Most commonly, you will find olive juice as an ingredient in cocktails, most famously in a dirty martini.
Most people simply throw away this sour juice, but olive juice is worth storing, if you remember to use it in moderation.
Olive Juice Benefits
There are a few benefits of olive juice that you should be aware of that include maintaining water balance in the body, improving nerve function, protecting the immune system, preventing chronic disease and boosting muscle control.
Water Balance: Although sodium is often considered a bad thing but is an essential mineral in the body and functions as an electrolyte, along with potassium and other critical minerals. If you take in the right amount of sodium, which olive juice has plenty of, then you are actually improving your health. Therefore, drinking olive juice in moderation adds sodium to your diet in required amount.
Nerve Function: The presence of sodium is also critical for nerve function as it helps transmit nerve impulses in the body, so adequate amounts are important and can be gained by drinking small amounts of this juice. This is particularly good for people who are on low-sodium diets, as their nervous system may not be functioning properly.
Muscle Control: For any muscle to move in the body, sodium is needed along with other electrolytes and minerals. This means that getting a healthy supply of sodium from olive juice (in moderation) is a good thing for our health.
Immune System: The other components of olive juice, aside from sodium, are vinegar and water. Vinegar has been shown to have anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties in certain settings, which means that it can provide a healthy boost to the immune system and help you fend off infections.
Oxidative Stress: The antioxidant component in olive juice, vinegar, has had a significant amount of research done on its potential use in fighting cancer. This can also help to lower levels of inflammation in the body and lower your risk of chronic disease.
Blood Sugar – Some research has shown that vinegar has a blood sugar-suppressing effect on the body following a meal. So, a small shot of this juice before a meal can help prevent large spikes and drop in blood sugar after eating, which is good news for people with diabetes, or those at high risk of developing that disease.
Again, all olive juice consumption should be done in moderation, as it is extremely high in sodium.
How to Use Olive Juice in Cocktails
The most popular use of olive juice is in cocktails, as it provides a sour bite to some drinks, or even a savory character that helps certain flavors stand out. The most famous cocktails benefiting from this juice include dirty martinis, Bloody Mary’s, Orange Flips and a Dirty Sanchez.
- Bloody Mary – Mix 4 cups of tomato juice, 2-3 shots of vodka, 1 tablespoon of olive juice, a dash of hot sauce, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of celery salt and pepper. Garnish with a celery stalk, pickle or olive spear.
- Dirty Martini – Mix 2 oz. of vodka, 1/2 oz. of dry vermouth, 1/4 oz. of olive juice and three olives on a spear for this legendary olive-flavored cocktail.
- Orange Flip – Fill a shaker with ice and then add 1 part cream, 1 part Triple Sec, 1 part olive juice and 1 part egg yolk. Strain this hearty cocktail into a rocks glass for a sour, surprisingly tasty drink.
- Dirty Sanchez – Fill a shaker with ice and then add 2 oz. of aged tequila, 1/4 oz. of dry vermouth and 1/2 oz. of pickle juice. Shake well and pour into a martini glass; garnish with an olive spear.
How to Make Olive Juice
If you want to make a larger amount of this juice, an easy way to do this is to simply purchase an existing brine-cured jar of olives and remove all of the olive juice and set it aside. At that point, you would simply create a new brine mixture and re-fill the jar of olives, allowing the juice to begin to form. However, if you have access to fresh olives, you can also make your own olive juice by filling a jar with the olives and performing the same process (outlined below). All ingredient amounts can be changed depending on your desired amount of juice.
Remember, olive juice is simply brine that benefits from the flavor of the olives but very few of the active ingredients. To derive the benefits of the olives themselves, the olives must be pressed to create olive oil.
- 1 cup of olives (fresh or in an emptied olive jar. These should be whole or pitted, but not stuffed with other ingredients)
- 1 cup of water (filtered)
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar
Step 1 – Thoroughly wash each olive of any brine or debris.
Step 2 – Pierce each olive with a toothpick.
Step 3 – Fill a small jar about 2/3 of the way with the pierced olives.
Step 4 – Mix the water, vinegar and salt in a small bowl to create the brine solution.
Step 5 – Add the brine to the jar of olives, to about 80% full.
Step 6 – Seal the jar and shake it vigorously.
Step 7 – Refrigerate the jar overnight.
Step 8 – Shake when removing from the refrigerator.
Step 9 – Strain out the olive juice from the jar into another container.
Step 10 – Crush the olives in the empty jar, then add them to cheesecloth or a fine filter;
Step 11 – Press out the remaining olive juice into the original olive juice mixture. Discard/eat the olives.
Step 12 – Seal the jar of olive oil and refrigerate until you use it!