Kabocha Squash Pickles in Miso Recipe

These squash pickles take a few weeks to mature but are well worth the wait. The earthy, rustic salt of the miso complements the naturally sweet pumpkin in this take on this traditional Japanese recipe.

From “Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen”
June 2016

  • Some slivered yuzu or Meyer lemon peel adds a bright note to the miso bed or, instead, can be sprinkled on the kabocha when serving.
    Photo by Kenji Miura
  • “Preserving the Japanese Way: Traditions of Salting, Fermenting, and Pickling for the Modern Kitchen” by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
    Photo Courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing

Yield: Serves 6 or more

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.

This pickle was culled from William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi’s excellent tome, The Book of Miso.


• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 1/2 medium-sized kabocha (about 1-1/3 pounds/600 g)
• About 1/2 pound (250 g) brown rice or barley miso
• 7-spice powder


1. Fill a medium-sized, heavy pot three-quarters full of water, throw in the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the kabocha, peel, and slice into 1/2-inch (12-mm) thick wedges (measured from the back edge) with a sturdy kitchen knife. Blanch for 1 minute in the boiling water, remove with a fine-mesh strainer, cool under cold running water, and let air-dry for an hour or so on a clean, dry dish towel.

3. Spread the miso around the pieces of kabocha, sprinkling in 7-spice powder  to taste, and pack in a resealable plastic bag. Store in the fridge for a few weeks, but start tasting after 1 week. When the kabocha has sufficiently softened, it is ready to eat. Carefully remove a slice or so from the miso and wipe before eating. If the miso starts to overwhelm the kabocha flavor, scrape off all of the miso and store in a clean bag. Reuse the miso pickling bed for making miso soups.

VARIATIONS:  Any dense, flavorful winter squash could be substituted successfully here.

Find more recipes from this cookbook:

Pickled Ginger Recipe
Persimmon Vinegar Recipe

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.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters