Can’t find young ginger? Use old ginger to make this piquant Pickled Ginger. Great with strongly flavored foods and much better than the store bought stuff.
When I see Pickled Ginger, I think of red eggs and the birth of a child. For the Chinese, the first month of life is a huge milestone. Mother and child are presented to family and friends after a month long confinement with a “full moon” celebration where red colored hard boiled eggs and pickled ginger are served or given as part of an announcement package. The color red is associated with good fortune and happiness while the egg symbolizes new birth.
Confinement and Ginger
You may ask, “What is confinement?” Well, it is believed that mother and child are in a weakened and vulnerable state immediately after the birth. Hence, they require a full month of respite at home to reduce the chances of catching infections from human contact.
During this month of confinement, the mother eats special nutritious foods and broths to restore her health. A “healthy” amount of ginger is added to most dishes as it is believed to have healing properties and is able to restore balance to the body. Once she is no longer able to consume that daily amount of ginger, she is deemed restored. This usually takes about a month.
Now that you know why I associate Pickled Ginger with hard boiled eggs, let’s get on with the recipe.
Homemade Pickled Ginger is bar none the best. It is fresh and crisp, minus all the preservatives and food coloring. Only four ingredients are needed – ginger, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Tender and less spicy young ginger is preferred, if available. Young ginger naturally turns a blush or light pink color when pickled.
Do not be deterred if you cannot find young ginger in your neck of the woods. In all my years here in Minnesota, I have not seen young ginger being sold, even in the summer. As such, I make do with regular “old” ginger and I assure you it will turn out just fine. Simply choose rhizomes with smaller knobs as these tend to be less fibrous. The color will remain yellow after pickling but I think most of us can live with that. 😉
Give it a try. I don’t think you will go back to the store bought stuff.
Similar Tools Used in Making This Pickled Ginger
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- 12 oz ginger (340g)
- 1 cup rice vinegar (240ml)
- ¼ cup sugar (55g)
- 1 tsp kosher salt / coarse salt
- Peel or scrape ginger with a paring knife. Using a mandolin, slice ginger as thinly as possible (no thicker than 1/16th inch).
- Fill a medium size saucepan half full with water. Bring it to a boil. Scald ginger for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with a metal strainer into sterilized jars.
- Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Let it come to a boil, and then turn off heat.
- Pour vinegar mixture into the jar to completely cover the ginger. Place the lid on and allow it to cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator.
- Pickled ginger may be eaten in 2 to 3 days. Keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 months.