Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Whataboutist #2: Pickle Juice

So pickle juice. It's considered a health hack to drink. Ok, what about olive brine then?

I know, I know. "False equivalency." Pickle juice is juice. Olive brine is brine.

WRONG ANSWER. Pickle juice is brine. Olives are in fact pickles.

They are pickles of the fruit of the olive tree, or "olive fruit." This fruit is incredibly bitter right off the tree, so you either have to figure out some other way or you have to pickle 'em. You can use brine. A lot of people do. That's the easiest.

Cucumbers, on the other hand, aren't incredibly bitter at all, right off the vine - some might say they're incredibly bland! I say they're very refreshing, but the point is, they pickle 'em to add flavor; whereas with the olive, they're trying to tame that flavor down a bit. Get some of that bitter out of there. So in that sense, you were correct: false equivalency. Even though both are pickles, relative to the so-called "true" or "cucumber pickle," the olive might be considered an antipickle. It's a pickle in the diametric opposite direction.

It's a pickle for all the wrong reasons, you could even say, going by cucumber cultural mores. Young cucumbers, naive, boring as bored, look up the branches of the olive tree and see all these juvenile olive fruits hanging out - already incredibly bitter and above it all! The last thing those cucumbers think is "those olives, wow, they are direly in need of some pickling!" See, to a cucumber, pickling is a process that results in you becoming more interesting and worldly, piquant if you will, perhaps even tart. Those olive fruits on the other hand - the last thing they'd need is more schooling in worldliness! They're already so bitter, cynical and jaded - though you might well say, "that's just sour grapes," you'd be wrong there. False equivalency on two (2) counts: grapes ≠ olives :: sour ≠ bitter.

That's what the cukes are naive about, though. They don't realize that education can make you less interesting. It really can, too. Olive fruits and cukes, they go to different finishing schools, for different reasons and after different results, and that's why the equivalency is DING! DING! DING! False, even though both are brined.

But what about the original question? Is drinking olive brine a health hack?

We don't know the answer to that, but unlike some (apparently!), we're not afraid to ask the question.


Bill Lisleman said...

Lots of electrolytes in that pickle juice. If you like pickles the juice is really a free benefit. Now that I've read your post I might just drink some of the juice after finishing off the pickles. Hey, the olives also have the oil thing going for them. No cucumber oil that I know about. Oh, not that you care but, I learned that Admiral Nelson who was killed at sea was placed in a barrel to preserve his body until they could reach port. So he was pickled. I enjoyed your cucumber - olive comparison with the juice being the equalizer.

dogimo said...

Yeah, I heard that about Nelson. It feels weird that he wouldn't be buried at sea, so legendary a seaman.

I've heard the first pickles were just vegetables stored in seawater for preservation! Now there's some pickle juice I've swallowed my share of.

Thanks for your comment, bill!