pickled ginger

I know a handsomely moustachioed Frenchman who once ate an entire tub of pickled ginger in a sushi restaurant in Berlin. Not something I’d recommend, especially with the recipe below, which is a lot hotter and gingerier than anything commercially available.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Skill level: Easy
Makes: A large jarful – 300g


  • ginger – peeled and sliced very thinly – 300g
  • salt – 4 tsp
  • water – 2 litres
  • rice vinegar – 500ml
  • sugar – 200g
  • 2 slices of beetroot (cooked or raw) *
pickled ginger

*Commercially this pickle is made with young tender ginger which has red shoots that cause the pickle to turn the traditional pink. As this is difficult/impossible to find we will be using standard ginger and adding a little beetroot for colour correction.

Peel the ginger by either scraping with a teaspoon (traditional) or shaving with a potato peeler (quicker/easier). Cut into very thin slices using either a mandolin (fast and dangerous) or a very sharp knife (slow but satisfying).

Place the ginger in a bowl along with 2 tsp of salt and mix everything together. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 litres of water and 200ml of rice vinegar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Tip in the sliced ginger and simmer for 3 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the ginger into a sieve and set aside to drain.

Pour 300ml of rice vinegar into a pan and add the sugar and 2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat.

Place the ginger into a suitable sized jar (use tongs as you want to avoid touching with your grubby little hands) and top off with the slices of beetroot (if using). Pour over the vinegar mixture and fill to the top.

When cool, store in the fridge. Every day invert the jar a few times to distribute the redness coming from the beetroot.

After 7 days the ginger should be lovely natural pink and ready to eat.

This will last for 2 to 3 months in fridge.

Verdict: A word of warning, as mentioned in the introduction, this is a lot hotter and gingerier than shop bought sushi ginger, so proceed with caution. That said, it’s delicious. Other Japanese inspired recipes from the yumblog archive are Calpis, and Teriyaki Salmon.

Drink: In descending order of strength and ascending levels of sweetness – Saki, Asahi and Calpis.

Entertainment: Currently bingeing on ‘Search Party‘, although stalled a little on season four.

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