Hein (fub) wrote,

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Adventures in pickling

One of the 'souvenirs' I brought back from Japan is a pickle press. I've improvised a pickle press before, by using a large bowl and a slightly smaller bowl on top of it, but that is far from practical. So when I found a pickle press in a store in Yufuin that sold household items, I immediately bought it.

I begin by washing the cucumber and slicing off the ends. Then I slice the cucumber in thin slices. Some people use a mandolin for this, but I prefer slightly thicker slices.

This is the pickle press 'in rest'. The slices go into the plastic container, with a lot of salt and a bit of water. The spring in the lid will press the cucumbers down, and osmosis will make the moisture leave the cucumber as well.

I always make sure the cucumbers are totally submerged in the salt water. You can see the spring coiled up pretty tightly here.

After about an hour, this is what happens. The cucumbers have lost a lot of their moisture (making them extra crunchy!) and the press keeps them down.

I use a colander or a sieve to rinse off the slices. You want to get the salt water off as much as possible! Afterwards, I dry them in between kitchen towel.

On the right: untreated cucumber slice. On the left: pressed slice.

Then they go into a container with equal parts rice vinegar and water, a bit of sugar, pieces of kombu (Japanese seaweed that gives off a particular flavour) and sesame seeds. Let stand for 24 hours to get the best flavours!
Tags: cooking

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