Tsukemono is the name given to vegetables pickled in salt. It is often cucumber slices, but other crunchy vegetables are also popular for the special pickling method in Japan. Tsukemono is a snack for in between and may not be missing with many main meals with rice. The pickled sweet and sour vegetables are very well tolerated by the intestines and also taste very fresh and delicious.
If you want to pickle vegetables in Japanese style yourself, cut them into slices about 1 cm thick after washing. Now mix the vegetables with a good portion of salt (1-3% of the total volume). Then seal everything airtight and store your tupperware or preserving jar in the fridge for at least two days. Of course, if you have a stone pot at home, like it used to be, that will work too.
Depending on your vegetables and preferences, you can prepare tsukemono with more than just salt. There are all kinds of variations, for example with rice vinegar and sugar. If you use miso or soy sauce, make sure it is unpasteurized. Umeboshi, the so-called salt plum, is pickled in salt and shiso leaves. In Japan, it is also common to pickle daikon radish or the famous ginger (gari) with sushi, which tastes sweet and sour and to which rice vinegar and sugar have been added. Lactic acid fermentation sets in after a short time in all these varieties. This is similar to German sauerkraut or Korean kimchi, except that no cabbage is used. To avoid mold growth, the jar should not be opened after closing.
You can find many recipes for tsukemono on the internet. Our favorite is a simple kind with salt and a little sugar.
Build up pressure
Depending on the vegetables and thickness, fermentation takes anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Leafy greens, for example, only need a few hours. To make fermentation work well and quickly, a vegetable press helps. The salt extracts the vegetable juices by osmosis and the pieces then ferment with the help of lactic acid bacteria. If you don't use a vegetable press, you can place a stone on the vegetables, for example.
MYCONBINI-Tip: With the Shimomura Tsukemonoki vegetable press you can easily prepare Tsukemono yourself: Cut vegetables, add salt or another fermentation base and off to the refrigerator. After two to three days, your pickled vegetables will be ready to eat. It's delicious and healthy!