I first and foremost have to point out that I’m not a hipster. I’m 36 years old, so the plaid clothes I wear now have no irony as I simply haven’t changed them since the early ’90′s when I was listening to grunge and stealing cigarettes from my Dad’s truck. No irony, just another old guy stuck in decades past. If that makes me a hipster, then my Dad must be the king of hipsters, what with the warm cans of cheap beer and all.
Anyone who knows me knows that there are few things that drive me as crazy as hipsters. They’re actually 3 on my list behind white trash and hippies (I have good friends who proudly classify themselves as one or the other and I love them to death, but really, why try so hard?). Upon a study of hipsters, done by myself and anyone who finds themselves in a coffee shop without an Apple product or a pack of American Spirits, I’ve learned that hipsters have taken on a deep and passionate love for pickles and pickling. Now, I know that they’re defining the modern foodie culture, but I had no idea that they had such a love for anaerobically fermented foods.
Now, I love pickles. In fact, I would like to be pickled in an apple cider vinegar brine when I die. Okay, that might be a little far, but you get the point. I fucking love pickles.
Over the past few days, I have been on a quest to pickle everything that comes from the garden. Well, not everything, but a food portion of what we’re harvesting. In doing so I find myself recreating the ‘Portlandia’ bit “We can pickle that” and rethinking my life. Am I a hipster? No, I just really fucking love pickles.
So, what a lot of people seem to not understand about pickling is that there is a lot more to it than just a bunch of cucumbers in a jar. Pickles can be anything. As far as the ‘Portlandia’ bit is concerned, it’s pretty accurate in that way, and I pickle everything. Cuckes, garlic scapes, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, beans, swiss chard, and anything else I think I can fit into a jar with some apple cider vinegar, distilled water, and a healthy portion of salt.
Over the past few days, I found myself in one of those ‘We can pickle that’ kinds of moods. With nothing more than a jug of apple cider vinegar, distilled water, salt, and some herbs from the garden, I’ve been on a mission. I’m trying to not only recreate some of the amazing flavors I’ve experienced in some of my favorite restaurants across the country, but to create some of my own. Pickled eggplant flavored with fresh ginger root or sage, Swiss chard flavored with thai basil, or onions with lemon balm. Tastes completely unheard of, at least by myself in which I will have over the next year to work with and perfect over time.
Pickling is truly more than a hipster pastime. Pickling is a craft of the foodie, one who truly appreciates the many different flavors and subtleties in the many different foods the world has to offer. It’s something anyone can do, as all one really needs is a pot, some vinegar, salt, and water.