Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tsukemono Pickles

Lately we've have become fascinated by pickles and food preservation and thought we could try a few recipes and look at how different cultures process and preserve food. Of course, food preservation and pickling came out of a need to keep food edible for long periods of time before refrigeration but it's interesting how it is still an important part of food tradition in all our cultures. We tackled a fairly easy but delicious version first, the Japanese quick pickles called Tsukemono.
The entire preparation time for all three of the recipes below was less than two hours. We're really happy how delicious they came out. The next day we had more for lunch and added the carrot, radish and garlic tsukemono to our dinner salad which added a tasty spice to our meal.

These recipes are meant to be eaten within a couple days. 
Rutabaga-Mango Tsukemono
1 - 2 cups rutabaga sliced into sticks
1 - 2 cups diced mango
1 dried chili pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • Put sliced rutabaga in a non-metallic bowl and sprinkle with the salt. This will pull a lot of moisture out of the rutabaga. Stir and drain about every 5 minutes for twenty minutes.
  • Put the diced mango in a separate bowl with the vinegar and cut up chili paper. Remove seeds and any remaining membrane. I use scissors to cut the pepper.
  • Once you have drained the Rutabaga several times pour them into the bowl with the mango. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Cucumber Tsukemono
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 dried chili pepper chopped up (use scissors)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (or so) of English Cucumber sliced and in quarters
1 sheet of nori (Seaweed sheets used for sushi)
  • Mix all the ingredients, except cucumber and nori, in a non-metallic bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. 
  • Add the cucumber and stir covering all the cucumber pieces. Crumble the nori sheet into small pieces and sprinkle and mix into the rest of the ingredients.  
  • Cover and and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. These should be eaten within 2 to 3 days.

Radish, Carrot and Garlic Tsukemono
1 cup radishes cut in rounds and halved
1 cup carrot peeled and cut in rounds
4 large garlic cloves peeled and sliced in flat pieces
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Put radishes and carrots in a nonmetallic bowl and sprinkle with salt. This will pull a lot of moisture out of the vegetables. Stir and drain about every 5 minutes for twenty minutes.
  • Once you have drained the vegetables add the garlic and vinegar and stir. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Should be eaten within 2 to 3 days.

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