I love sushi. I love it so much. I love everything about it. The fish, the rice, the nori, the little wad of wasabi, but as much as I love all of that, I love the pickled ginger, or gari, even more.
Oh, pickled ginger, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You’re sweet and sour, spicy, fresh, snappy and PINK!* You pack so much punch into such a little package.
*Pink. Sigh. I love pink.
On those rare occasions when my husband and I can actually go. out. of. the. house. without. children, we almost invariably head for sushi joints. Being creatures of habit and fond of our ruts, we’ve established a little routine. (If you’re a sushi purist you may want to look away.)
- We look over the menu and order far too much sushi with the justification that we can take leftovers home to the children.
- When the sushi arrives, we each take an identical roll.
- He pours soy sauce over the bottom of his plate, drops his portion of the roll into it, piles it with wasabi then manoeuvers the whole thing to his mouth adeptly with chopsticks.
- I eat a piece of pickled ginger, put a couple dots of wasabi on my roll, dunk a corner in soy sauce, and dive in.
- We then repeat until we have to call for more pickled ginger and wasabi and the waitress gives us the stink eye.
- We call for a small box to house the one lonely California roll we managed to save for the children and waddle out of the restaurant clutching our overfilled bellies.
- We take a nap in the car then drive home.
I know. The glamour and high-living we exhibit is stunning. It’s okay if you need a moment to process that.
The pickled ginger, though. Mmmm. During each of my pregnancies, I craved it like other people crave ice cream. I ate it on everything from rice bowls to sandwiches. I sent my husband over to the Asian foods market across the street from his office to grab a new jar for me almost weekly. Then one day I looked at the ingredient list and saw two things I didn’t like; aspartame and food dye.
I sent him back the next day to get me a different brand. He came home with a white pickled ginger. Still with the aspartame. Blech.
It curbed my enthusiasm for pickled ginger a little bit until I got to thinking about making my own. It was a duh-and-a-half moment. Me. The Kitchen DIY Queen. I hadn’t even considered making my own. *headsmacksdesk
A little searching on the internet yielded a plethora of pickled ginger recipes for experimentation and an interesting tidbit of information about the pink connection for pickled ginger. I learned that young ginger, the variety that yields the best pickled ginger, naturally turns a soft pink when pickled. Old ginger, on the other hand, may not. So I ask you, what gives on the food dye?
After playing around with several recipes, I realized that the best of the lot was also the simplest. I also learned a few helpful tips:
- While young ginger yielded the best texture and flavour, old ginger that was pickled also had a certain charm to it.
- Slice the ginger as thinly as is humanly possible. A mandolin or extra sharp knife and a dose of patience is your best bet.
- Slice across the ginger instead of slicing lengthwise. This yields an easier-to-chew result.
- To easily peel ginger, scrape the edge of a regular spoon over knobs of ginger. The skin should easily peel away. If it doesn’t, and you have to dig the skin away with the spoon, you have older ginger.
Don’t be alarmed by the quantity yielded by this recipe. It keeps nearly forever in the refrigerator and -if you have friends that are like me- it makes a thoughtful and unique food gift.
Pickled Ginger (Gari)Rate Recipe
- 1 1/2 pounds young *see notes, fresh ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt if using sea salt, please use a coarse grind or reduce the quantity by half.
- 3 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 cups granulated sugar **see notes
- Wash the ginger and use the edge of a spoon to gently scrape away the skin.
- Slice the ginger as thinly as you possibly can across the knob (not lengthwise!)
- Toss ginger slices with salt in a colander and leave over a bowl or the sink for one hour, tossing again occasionally.
- Lay the ginger slices out on a clean tea towel or paper towels to blot some of the excess moisture from them before putting them in a heat-proof jar or container that has a tight fitting lid.
- Bring the rice vinegar and sugar to a boil and pour immediately over the ginger.
- Put the lid on tightly and allow to cool completely at room temperature.
- Refrigerate for at least one week before serving.
- Stores indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
did you make this recipe?
Make sure to tag @foodiewithfam on Instagram and #hashtag it #foodiewithfamily so I can check it out!
Thank you greatly!
Love this stuff!
Will make it soon
You’re very welcome!
AT 70 I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH SUSHI OR AND GINGER.i just made this. Can’t wait til a week has gone by to try.Do you also have a good SUSHI recipe?Would love to make my own so I can eat whenever.
Hi Kathy! I’m so glad you found me and the recipe. 🙂 I’ve got sushi on my list of recipes to share this year, but in the meantime, you can try my Lazy Sushi Bowls. 🙂
Thank you so much for this recipe and Thank God I found it again. I have made this and it is wonderful. I have been searching for your recipe for over a year. I can’t wait to make another jar. It’s such a wonderful recipe that yields such wonderful Gari.
Thanks so much, Patricia! I’m so glad both that you love it and took the time to re-find it and rate the recipe!
I followed the directions exactly but my ginger came out very salty.
Elise M says
Hi there! I’m excited to try this recipe out but I was wondering if I could use honey instead of sugar?
Hi Elise- I don’t see a reason you would not be able to use honey, but I think it’ll end up tasting slightly different! Not bad, just different!
Janlyn Rogers says
Hi. Thanks for this recipe. I’m definitely going to try it. I do have one question. You state to slice across the knob and not to slice lengthwise, however; the pictures you have posted are of long strips of ginger and not rounds that you would expect from slicing across the knob. Can you let me know how you did it
Thanks so much
Hi Janlyn- I believe I made it both sliced laterally and cross-wise but ended up with a photo of the ones sliced laterally. The cross-wise ones were more tender. 🙂
Super simple recipe – I am very excited to trying it next weekend!
I’m so glad you’re excited, Suzie! I hope you love it, too!