Pickled Ginger

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Japanese sushi restaurants serve pickled ginger in a small mound next to the fish. It serves as a palate cleanser between bites of fish-it’s a great neutralizer of fish oils (and of any oil, in fact). Gari, as it’s known in Japan, is made with rice vinegar and white sugar, but I make my own with more interesting vinegars—especially fruit-based ones such as persimmon, cherry, raspberry, and fig, but also balsamic and wine vinegars—combined with sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and even jam. Mature ginger will work, but the young variety is superior for flavor and freshness. Look for vibrantly pink and plump ginger and avoid ginger that looks withered and tired.

NotesPickled ginger is excellent when served with grilled meat and fish; try a slice between bites. It’s also good julienned and sprinkled on salads. And you can use the leftover ginger-infused vinegar as you would any vinegar—in vinaigrettes, as part of a sauce, on fish. You can use it immediately, but the flavors get even better with time.

Makes1 cup ginger and 1 cup flavored vinegar



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, halal, healthy, kosher, lactose-free, low calorie, low carb, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low sodium, low-fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Taste and Texturesharp, tangy, tart

Type of DishCondiments


  • 1 cup very thinly sliced baby ginger
  • 1 cup flavored vinegar, such as fig, plum, raspberry or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. To prepare the ginger, peel it, then slice it with a mandoline or Benriner slicer or, if your knife skills are good, a sharp knife.

  2. The formula is easy to remember: 1 part ginger, 1 part vinegar, and a touch of sweetener (to taste). Here’s one example.

  3. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, add the sliced ginger, and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and transfer the ginger to a container with a tight-fitting lid.

  4. In the same saucepan, heat the vinegar and honey until it barely simmers; stir. Pour the vinegar mixture over the ginger. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Keeps for at least 6 months.


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This is really worth doing so you don't have to ingest the pink food coloring of commercial pickled ginger. Marlon The Enlightened Cook


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