Instead of merely presenting various recipes from traditional kitchens, Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen (Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2015) includes an authentic view of Japanese life. Through full-color photographs and the backdrop of different products, Nancy Singleton Hachisu documents the day-to-day operations of the people and places required to make recipes like these possible, from barrel makers to morning pickle markets. This is a book about community, seasonality as the root of preserved food, and ultimately why both are relevant in our lives today, and these methods are easy to integrate into any existing cooking repertoire.
• 2 pounds (1 kg) fresh summer gingerroots
• 2 tablespoons sea salt
• 3 cups (750 cc) brown rice vinegar
• 2 cups (400 g) organic granulated sugar
1. Scrape off the ginger peel by running the edge of an upside-down spoon across the surface. Slice each root as thinly as possible with a razor-sharp knife or mandoline, trying to maintain the interesting natural shape of the ginger. Place the slices in a medium-sized bowl. When you have cut up about half of the ginger, toss in half of the salt and massage gently with your hands to distribute. Let sit for an hour or so and continue cutting the second half of the ginger (follow the same steps for the second half as you followed for the first; salting the first half while you cut the second helps avoid any discoloration of the roots).
2. After the first half of the ginger has rested in the salt for an hour, lift the slices out from any accumulated liquid and lay out flat on half of a clean kitchen towel (taking care not to break the shapes). Fold the other half of the towel on top of the ginger and press gently to wick out any lingering saltwater. Repeat this step with a second clean kitchen towel after you have finished cutting up and salting the second half of the ginger. Leave the second half of the ginger in the towel for 10 minutes, then drop all of the ginger slices into a medium-sized bowl.
3. Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reached a slow boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the squeezed salted ginger slices. Let the vinegared ginger cool naturally before pouring into a clean jar and storing in the refrigerator for several months or more.
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Reprinted with permission from Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen, by Nancy Singleton Hachisu and published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2015.