fresh japanese style pickles

last year i got this pickle press .  i was in a moment of total pickle and fermentation obsession, so much so that purchasing a pickle press so i could make traditional japanese pickles seemed like a good idea.

a pickle press

it is actually a pretty cool design, it has a screw down vice type thing that keeps veggies submerged under the pickling liquid.  further research showed that these presses were used really only for quicker vinegar pickles not the lacto fermented pickles that i prefer.  i could be a purist or enjoy it for what it is – i choose the latter.  it does have serious limitations, too little material and it doesn’t work, too much and it doesn’t work.  over all i just assume go with crocks, plates and weights for my pickling needs.

making some quick japanese style pickles seemed like a great opportunity to take advantage of one of the plants growing like a weed in our front garden beds – shiso.

shiso

ma originally planted it because of a personal obsession with making her own umeboshi plums.  turns out having shiso is not the problem, it’s the plums that are hard to find out.

the shiso has done a great job of reseeding itself and now it’s become a popular edible weed in our yard.  i try to harvest it and use it in japanese style salads, but you can only use so much – and since it’s a traditional addition to japanese pickles why not use it in that pickle press.

not one to be constrained by traditional style guidelines, i read up on japanese pickle making and then charged ahead ignoring all recipes.

cucumbers, sweet peppers, and green tomato

cucumbers and shiso rank as being traditional – sweet peppers less so and green tomatoes not a mention in any of the guides i’d read.  maybe i was going to extremes of fusion cuisine – an idea i usually abhor, but i was thinking of all the great japanese pickles i’d eaten with fish, as well as a wonderful green tomato relish i’d eaten in arkansas with catfish. it seemed to make sense to try to combine the two.

pressing the pickle

with the main ingredients added, i also added some dried ginger, rice vinegar, honey, salt and hot pepper flakes.  i pressed for about 4 days, which seems about 3 days longer than most would press for – and this is what turned out.

finished pickle

gorgeous visually, tasty, and with plenty of contrasting texture.  crunchy, sour and slightly sweet.  they turned out pretty well, though they don’t seem to have the complexity of lacto fermented pickles.  still this time of year when you have plenty of fresh produce.  rest assured that plenty of lacto fermenting has been happening as well, and i’ll be updating soon.

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3 responses to “fresh japanese style pickles

  1. Seeing these pickles makes my mouth water-yum;)! Good for you for being brave enough to trust your own intuition and go with your own recipe; inspires me to do the same in regard to my own cooking. It was interesting hearing about Stacy’s interest regarding the umeboshi plums. I used to work at a macrobiotic health food store in Grosse Pointe Park called The Sprout House and we sold them there. If I remember correctly, they are helpful with digestion. Do you eat them often? If so, how do you like to serve them?

  2. we don’t use them that often, only in a couple of dishes, but that’s enough to make her start an obsession. we often use them in sushi – usually in the form of a paste that’s been ground up and is added to a roll. or making rice balls with a plum stuck in the center. she also makes this really great brown rice salad with lots of fresh parsley, sesame seeds, and umeboshi plums diced up.

  3. …. sooooo gooooooood …..

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