When you think of pickles, you probably think of the vinegared kind – pickled with dill or other seasonings for several months to bring out the flavor and crunch. If you’re a pickle lover, you’re in luck! While we really only have one kind of pickle, Japan has several varieties of pickled dishes, all falling under the name tsukemono. (meaning “pickled things”) They range from from several minutes to several months to make, and use a few different pickling agents, so there’s plenty of options for the pickle lover to enjoy.
The pickles we’re going to make today are of the quick variety. Never much of a pickle fan myself, I was surprised to find myself falling in love with these simple pickles. The key ingredient here is salt instead of vinegar! This method of pickling is called shiozuke, or salt pickling. The salt goes to work instantly pulling out the moisture, quickly creating the characteristic crisp pickle texture.
They are so quick, I usually get them started first thing when making a meal, and by the time I’ve finished cooking everything else, the pickles are ready to go! A simple side for a busy weeknight. Super easy to make, just slice them up, sprinkle with salt, and come back in about 30 minutes for some delicious pickles!
Recipe – Shiozuke Quick Pickles:
– Trim the end off the cucumber, then start slicing it into thin strips.
– Grate or finely chop the ginger, then add the ginger and sliced cucumber to a medium bowl.
– Mix in the salt and start gently massaging it into the cucumbers. You’ll notice they will instantly start to lose water, so you’ll know it’s working!
– Let the cucumbers sit for 30 minutes to up to 3 hours. (Any longer than that and the cucumbers can start to get rubbery. You’ll notice a pool of water form at the bottom of the bowl, so you can instantly see the effects of the salt!
– After they’ve been sitting for a while, take the cucumber slices a handful at a time and gently squeeze out any remaining moisture.