This easy-to-make recipe for pickled ginger yields a palate cleanser that tastes like the gari you are served with your sushi or sashimi in restaurants. If you're used to the pink-colored commercial stuff, note that this will have a light buttery color.
If you enjoy making (and eating!) sushi and sashimi, replace that jar of commercial pickled ginger with this homemade version. It will taste just as good, and you'll be skipping the food coloring and other questionable ingredients in the store-bought version.
- 5 ounces ginger root
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar (or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey)
- Peel the ginger root. I find this easier to do with a sharp paring knife than with a vegetable peeler. It also helps to first slice the knobby root apart into sections so that you can get at all sides of each section of the root.
- Slice the peeled ginger root super thin. For this part I do use a vegetable peeler. To emulate the pickled ginger served at sushi restaurants, and to get the best texture, do not slice across the grain of the root (the shortest crosscut). Instead, work lengthwise along individual sections, aiming for 1 to 2-inch long, transparently thin slices.
- Rub the salt and sliced ginger together with your clean hands. Really give it a good massage. Let the salted ginger sit in a bowl, covered, for 6 hours or overnight (a few extra hours won't hurt) in the refrigerator.
- Rinse the ginger under cold water to remove excess salt.
- Again using clean hands, squeeze the ginger hard to release most of the liquid. Discard the liquid. Loosely pack the ginger into a clean (it is not necessary to sterilize the jar for this recipe) 1/2-pint canning jar.
- Put the rice vinegar, water, and sugar or honey into a small, non-reactive pot. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil. As soon as it does, turn off the heat.
- Pour the liquid brine over the ginger. Use the back of a spoon to press out any air bubbles and ensure the ginger is completely immersed in the brine.
- Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. For longer storage at room temperature, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the time for high altitude canning).
Whether you store your pickled sushi ginger in the refrigerator or can it, don't eat it for at least a week after you make it so that the flavors have time to combine and mellow. If you eat it sooner than that, the flavor will be harsh.