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Feb 15, 2012 08:24 AM

Wife says I've really taken this brining thing too far

My wife flipped out yesterday when she saw I had a bottle of white wine in a container of brine (with peppercorns, thyme, garlic). She said this was a step too far!

But I can explain...

I had forgotten to cool the wine... and a good way to quickly cool a bottle of wine is to put it in some chilled water (because water has better heat transfer properties than air). And because I had brined a chicken in the fridge during the day and just taken the chicken out, I decided it would be easiest to use that chilled brine. I poured the cold brine into a large straight-sided glass vase and inserted the (unopened) bottle of wine. I realize how weird that must have looked! But it worked wonderfully... the wine was chilled, and I should get environmental brownie points (greenie points?) for making double use of that cold brine.

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  1. Necessity is the mother of invention!

    1. Perfectly logical -- reminded me of the insulated "lunch boxes" that carry human organs for transplants -- whatever works!

      1. You should e-mail that anecdote to Christopher Kimball, the Brine King. Or call in to his NPR radio show.

        Kudos on your green-ness! After cooking pasta or beans, I use the still-hot water in the dishpan for washing up. It looks pretty strange but does not affect the detergent's cleaning ability, and rinses off just fine. Otherwise, I run the water into a jug until it is hot enough for the dishpan, then use the jug as rinse water. I just can't see wasting what is, on much of the planet, a precious resource.

        1. My only concern would be that you had a raw chicken in a bucket of water, then took said water complete with chicken bacteria floating around in it and placed your wine in it to soak. Yeah, I think I might have an issue handling the bottle after that.

          5 Replies
          1. re: bobbert

            i had pretty much the same thought. greasy salty water, bits of herbs and chicken stuck to the wine bottle and falling off into the glass as the wine was poured.

            i hate wasting marinade after I'm done, so i understand wanting to re-use the brine, but maybe you were going a bit too far.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              I assume that Drongo's plan was to wash off the bottle, and/or wrap in paper towels, before pouring.

              1. re: greygarious

                I would also assume so but, if the OP cleans the bottle to the same degree that I clean my cutting board that had raw chicken on it, he'd have to use some pretty hot water (hot enough to somewhat negate the chilling of the bottle) and some anti-bacterial soap and still be dealing with something fairly questionable.
                The alternative is to fill a bucket (ice bucket, bowl, anything) with cold water and throw a hand full of ice cubes in and call it good. I try not to waste water either but you're not talking too much and at best, using the brining water would be a major hassle.

                1. re: bobbert

                  I understand people's reaction but I think a glass bottle will rinse clean much more easily than a possibly porous cutting board full of knicks and scratches. I also don't picture the brine coming anywhere near the lip of the bottle.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    glass bottle with presumably a paper label that soaked up the yuck.

          2. I wouldn't advise that - presumably the chicken was naked when it was being brined - that means the brine liquid was full of chicken germies, and they got all over the outside of the bottle. Even if you rinse it, there's no guarantee that you'd get it all off and not give your guests a side of salmonella with their beverage. Ick!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kajikit

              This subject heading almost reads like an Onion headline!