Simple and easy DIY immune-boosting pickled ginger
Pickled ginger, often called sushi ginger, is a warming and versatile complement to a variety of dishes, brightening up root veggies, buddha bowls, and my favourite, onigiri (rice balls). (We have a recipe for onigiri below.)
Unfortunately, sushi ginger usually has artificial color, sugar and aspartame.
Not this homemade version!
It’s a pickle fit for a cleanse!
I added Flora’s Elderberry Crystals – this made the ginger pink, and also made it a great virus fighter.
I developed this recipe for Flora, and it first appeared on the FloraHealthy blog, here.
It’s a snap to make with just a handful of ingredients, too; ginger, vinegar, salt and elderberry crystals.
1 large ginger root, 1 bottle of rice vinegar, coarse Kosher salt and Elderberry Crystals.
Optional: sugar – about 2 Tablespoons (or equivalent stevia powder).
For one large, very thinly sliced, juicy root, we used a jar with a 500 mL capacity, about 300 mL of vinegar, 1 packet of stevia/monkfruit blend, 1 scoop Elderberry Crystals and 1.5 Tablespoons of coarse salt.
If you wish, remove the peel from the ginger root.
Slice the ginger as thin as possible and set aside.
Put everything else in your clean jar and stir until fully dissolved.
Transfer the sliced ginger to the jar, ensuring the pieces are all fully submerged under the brine.
Loosen and stir until all the pieces are evenly soaked.
Put the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator until serving.
Pickle like a pro:
We suggest rice vinegar and kosher salt.
All amounts are approximate.
Salt is necessary, and we suggest 2 tablespoons, but the exact amount you use may vary. The finer the salt, the less you’ll need.
Salt will soften ginger both in taste and texture, so young, thin, pink roots need less salt than thick, brown woody ones.
If the ginger is tough, cook for two minutes in the vinegar mixture before jarring.
These are edible immediately but will be intensely spicy. Let them sit for a couple of days to allow the flavour to mellow.
Sugar is not necessary for the pickle to work, but for sweetness, a tablespoon or two are usually added. A packet of stevia works equally well, keeping our recipe sugar free.
These should last a month or more in the refrigerator – keep the ginger submerged in the brine.
Ginger peels best with a spoon, and slices best with a mandolin.
We suggest a hinge and clamp style securely lidded jar.
Chopsticks work nicely, as we often don’t want to use metal with ferments.
Tasty little rice balls
Fun Fact: Cooked and cooled rice is one of the very best sources of resistant starch. This type of starch is a good prebiotic; it feeds our probiotic gut bacteria, making them very happy. To foster a healthy microbiome, include cooked and cooled rice in your diet from time to time.
Short grain or sushi rice, coarse salt, sushi nori (toasted seaweed), plus fillings and toppings.
Combinations of avocado, tuna, and mayonnaise, pickled ginger, plum or radish.
Toasted sesame seeds, furekake seasoning, flaked bonito (cured tuna).
Soy sauce, wasabi paste, Japanese pickles.
1. Cook rice. Cool somewhat before handling.
2. Prepare a bowl of water and wet your hands.
This step keeps the rice from sticking to your hands. If rice sticks, dip your hand in water, it is much safer than working the rice into a ball through plastic wrap, since plastic can contribute to our body burden of toxins.
3. Next, spread salt on your hands.
This traditional technique both adds flavour to the onigiri and helps them to keep longer also. Some people prefer to salt the water, and that works too.
4. Shape into a ball, cone or triangle.
This is your onigiri, you do you. Have fun.
5. Create some space inside for the filling.
With a wet finger, poke a hole into the ball, and make space to fill with whatever you like.
6. Add your fillings and toppings.
Fill with tuna and mayo, or avocado, whatever you like. Plug the hole with a little rice.
7. Eat it/Wrap it up.
To eat immediately, sprinkle on toppings, then add a grab handle out of nori (dried seaweed sheet). To eat later, wrap in a damp towel to keep it moist, and top and wrap prior to eating.