Thursday, December 13, 2007

Japanese Pickle Maker

And what do you suppose this is?
I couldn't resist it when I was in Japantown last. I've wanted one for some time, but there was always the question of whether I would use it... well I did. This is a Japanese pickle maker particularly for shio-zuke (salt pickles). The screwlid is to put pressure on the vegetables you are pickling.

Starting the salt pickles or shio-suke

To make cucumber shio-zuke, you need Japanese cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers. I picked up some Persian cucumbers at Trader Joe's. These are smaller, less seedy cucumbers than the usual American variety. You wash, cut into pieces 1/2 - 1" long, and put in the picklemaker. Then you add course salt a teaspoon at a time and mix it thoroughly with the cucumbers. The ratio is about 1 teaspoon to 1 cucumber, but it depends on the size. I put 4 teaspoons into 5 Persian cucumbers and it was plenty. When you are done, be sure that the pickles are in a position where they are about equal height, and turn the screwtop like in the above photo.

After 10+ hours

After 10-12 hours, the pickles should look like this, and they are ready to be taken out and rinsed.

Cut up pickles

After rinsing, I cut them into smaller pieces for serving.

Sliced pickles

These keep well in the refrigerator. I kept the ones for storage in larger pieces (as they were) and used my Frisper to vacuum seal the package for longer life. These were crisp, fresh tasting and delicious!

9 comments:

dp said...

Do you think I could use something like this to make a small batch of kimchi?

Anna Haight said...

To the extent that the kimchi needs to have a weight pressing on it I would suppose yes, but I've never made kimchi. I believe it is buried in earthenware jars as part of the process, so I'm not sure how suitable this would be for that process.

dp said...

My mom made kimchi once at home and had to find things to weigh down the
cabbage leaves after salting them. I think the burying part comes after the
salting and squeezing water from it (that's where I'd use that handy press).

RJB said...

I don't get it - what does the pressure do to make the pickles? Do you place them on end or on their sides? As you can tell, I have almost on Japanese blood in me.

Anonymous said...

pwillia on salted pickles - you may indeed use a press of some sort to pickle or 'break down' the cabbage or sliced cucumbers. This brining process allows for a pickling to occur. After 4 hrs or overnight, the salting is complete and product may be rinsed or used as is .. be well

Wendy Bennett said...

do you add any vinegar or water to the recipe? confused....

Anna Haight said...

no vinegar and no water - the salt draws out the water in the cucumbers.

DeannaRenee said...

Where do I get one of these presses? I want one. I love tsukemono and want to make some.

Anna Haight said...

I bought mine at Soko Hardware in San Francisco's Japantown. Amazon also carries these: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Pickle-Tsukemono-Press-546-281/dp/B0006MM4R4