The Colin McEnroe Show
11:30 am
Tue February 11, 2014

The Passion of Pickling

A jar of pickles from Firebox restaurant in Hartford, CT.
A jar of pickles from Firebox restaurant in Hartford, CT.
Credit Chion Wolf, filtered through Instagram / WNPR

In 2030 B.C., somebody brought cucumbers from India to the Tigris Valley, and they said, "We can pickle that!" And so it began, from the first stirrings of civilization, to modern-day Brooklyn artisan pickles: we've found ourselves up to our eyes in brine, looking for the next object we can pickle.

Within half a mile of each other in Brooklyn, New York, are Crock & Jar, and Brooklyn Brine.

At Crock & Jar, food preservationist Michaela Hayes is a disciple of the growing lacto-fermentation movement, which creates what you would call a pickled product through a slightly different process. Fermentation is the new pickling, and the people who do it consider it not only tasty but important for the health of your gut.

Over at Brooklyn Brine, they make four types of pickles plus pickled asparagus, beets, carrots and sauerkraut. They are famed for their whiskey sour pickles made with Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Rye Whiskey.

Those are just two points of light in a vast constellation of artisanal pickling. Pickling was ancient man's answer to the question, "what if I want to eat this later?" Now it's haute cuisine and a running gag about artisanal culture.

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