Sometimes it feels like the internet is the Tower of Babel of our age and social media is our lingua franca. I bet being online today feels a lot like building that tower back then. It’s all that energy of feeling connected. This can be good–it’s comforting to know that strangers (and robots) on the internet have answers for every question under the sun. But it can also be bad–that same scale ensures that people trying to do bad things will be able to find sympathizers and proliferate. At some point (maybe it’s happened already), all this connectivity is going to result in bad things getting really bad. It’s interesting how our ancestors lucked out, how a higher being intervened on principle and scattered us throughout the earth to save us from ourselves. But principle alone probably wouldn’t do it today. We’d need to hold out hope that at some point, it’d also converge with shareholder value. And while past and present are no different in the arbitrariness of it all, for some reason, it just feels grimmer this way.
Gooseberries are cool fruits that are husked, like tomatillos. They taste like tropical fruits and butterscotch, but have the vegetal texture of a tomatillo. They are really versatile when quick pickled and add lots of brightness to sandwiches, tacos, and stir-fries. I’ve found the below general vinegar:water:sugar ratio works really well for quick-pickling. I think rice vinegar’s natural sweetness makes for a good starting point, but it can be fun to branch out into other vinegars that impart different character to the pickles, like brown rice vinegar (has nice malty notes) and sugarcane vinegar (has a unique sour dimension).
- Gooseberries, husked and halved
- Hot peppers, sliced thin (Scotch bonnets have a lovely floral flavor, but are very hot. Jalapenos and serranos also work well.)
- Shallot, sliced into rings
- Small clove garlic, smashed
- 1 small coin ginger
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 scant cup water
- 1/2 scant cup sugar
- Big pinch salt
- Whole spices (like allspice, coriander, peppercorns) (optional)
- Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat. Taste–it should have be tangy and sour but also pleasantly sweet. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Place gooseberries, peppers, shallots, and spices in a jar. Pour the brine over and refrigerate. Enjoy over all kinds of things.