Who does not know the delights of pickled ginger these days? Ubiquitous with sushi, it is as common today as pickled beetroot. Come to think of it, much more common. In 1999, when I first made this, it was a different matter, and if you wanted pink pickled ginger, you made your own. Enjoy!
Pickling ginger prolongs the pleasure of good fresh young ginger which in normal circumstances is available for only a couple of months of the year. Pickled ginger is pink when you use really young ginger, but you can make it even with old ginger. It is a delight on its own; savour it. Nibble it while pouring the wine after work or whilst cooking dinner. Use as a relish for curries. Accompany grilled vegetables.
While pickled ginger can be eaten within a couple of weeks of preparation, it matures kindly and agreeably, obtaining a depth and dimension with age. A scintillating dish for all seasons. Thanks David Thompson, originally of Darley St Thai, now well known throughout the world.. He suggested this recipe to me.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup white rice vinegar
1 cup water
2 Tblspn salt
3 cups peeled and shredded or sliced young ginger. Young ginger is preferable, but if you need to use older ginger, shred and salt for a few hours and then rinse.
Combine all ingredients and bring to the boil. Cool. Place ginger in a glass container. Pour over the syrup and leave for 15 days in the sun before use.
Traditional gari, as it’s called in Japan, is made from rice vinegar and white sugar, but it’s also good when made with good quality fruit vinegars or other vinegars even balsamic and wine vinegars. Try verjuice also, and lessen the sweetener. For the sweetener, try agave nectar, a good local honey, maple syrup, or your favorite sweet syrup. I’ve heard that someone used jam to great effect.
Mature ginger will also work, but the young variety is far superior.
Peel the ginger by scraping it with a teaspoon. It really is the best way. I like to make slices of ginger with a potato peeler, rather than using my mandoline. I feel that the mandoline’s slices are too thick.
I always add more vinegar that is required (and a little more sugar) as the left over vinegar is delightful in salad dressings.
The young ginger will begin to turn pink straight away. The colour deepens a little over time. Older ginger may not turn pink.