Sashimi and sushi fans are no strangers to pickled ginger.
However, for those who have only ever known the brown-colored, straight-out-of-the-soil (or the market) ginger, it can be a new experience.
But just because you haven’t tried them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
So, what does pickled ginger taste like? If the thought has ever crossed your mind, you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about the mystery and flavor surrounding pickled ginger.
Is it spicy? How can it be served? Stay tuned to find the answer to these questions.
What is Pickled Ginger?
Pickled ginger is exactly as it sounds.
It’s ginger that has undergone a pickling process.
And when it comes to pickled ginger, one country has popularised it for ages – Japan.
Also called “Gari” in Japanese, you’ll find that pickled ginger is often thinly sliced ginger that’s soft pink in color and marinated in sweet rice vinegar.
It’s predominantly known for accompanying Japanese dishes such as sushi.
However, there are other uses for it as well.
You can also make your own pickled ginger or purchase ready-made ones from Asian/Japanese grocery stores.
Usually, making your own pickled ginger is considered much healthier compared to store-bought ones.
This is because the homemade versions don’t really require artificial preservatives.
The soft pink color of pickled ginger (as mentioned earlier) is due to the marination process and the use of new ginger roots rather than mature ones.
What Does Pickled Ginger Taste Like?
The taste of pickled ginger isn’t as far off as raw ginger.
But that doesn’t mean they taste exactly the same.
Think of pickled ginger as an eccentric and simmered-down version of raw ginger.
When we think of raw ginger, it has an intense and spicy flavor.
But pickled ginger is more like a sweeter version with a reduced spice profile.
It’s similar to how raw ginger becomes mellow and softer when cooked.
If there’s one definite way of putting pickled ginger’s taste, it’s “sweet and sour”.
And as mentioned before, its appearance will also look closer to light pink thanks to the marination process consisting of vinegar, salt, and sugar.
The vinegar gives the ginger its signature sour taste, while the sugar delivers a hint of sweetness to balance the sour notes.
The salt also helps preserve the ginger while adding a touch of savory.
This combination of flavors helps create a unique taste that pairs with many dishes.
Texture-wise, pickled ginger is quite soft and blends really well with sushi.
The soft texture is attributed mainly to using younger ginger roots instead of mature roots.
Overall, pickled ginger offers a palate-cleansing and refreshing taste, allowing it to act as a great side dish.
It’s acidic, sweet, and soft and neutralizes any dish.
What more can you ask for? Well, you can also count on pickled ginger for some great health benefits.
Pickled ginger is known to be high in probiotics with little to zero calorie content.
This makes them not just tasty but also a healthy snack.
How to Serve Pickled Ginger?
Pickled ginger is a versatile side option.
Given its subtle yet compact flavor profile, it can be paired with many dishes.
So, how can we serve pickled ginger?
The first and obvious option is to serve it with a sushi plate.
Not only is this an option that lives up to its traditional values, but it’s also a great way to wholly experience its flavor and taste if you’re a first-timer.
And here’s why serving it with sushi works.
Pickled ginger can help cleanse the taste buds when paired with sushi, creating a refined eating experience.
Not a fan of sushi? Worry not.
You can also serve pickled ginger alongside some of your favorite dishes or simply serve it as an appetizer.
Moreover, you can also use homemade pickled ginger to elevate the taste and boost the nutritional value.
Making pickled ginger is also pretty simple, and you can try it.
To prepare your own pickled ginger, select young ginger roots and scrub them with rhizomes.
This way, you won’t have to go through the trouble of peeling the ginger.
Slice the ginger into thin slices, add vinegar, salt, and sugar (optional), and store them.
You can place them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for storage.
Usually, it’s best to keep them stored for about a month and then start using them.
You can incorporate them just about anywhere, allowing you to experiment with them.
Although pickled ginger may seem like a new creation that went viral overnight, it’s really not.
Pickled ginger has been present in Japanese cuisine for ages and even forms an integral part of some of the best sushi.
So, if you’re keen on trying out pickled ginger without purchasing or making your own, we suggest going to the nearest sushi restaurant and trying them.
Expanding your culinary catalog by incorporating simple yet rich items like pickled ginger is always a good idea.
With that, we hope you can make the best out of this delicious pickle.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is pickled ginger as good as fresh ginger?
While pickled ginger can certainly be as flavorful and delicious as fresh ginger, it is important to consider the fact that the pickling process can take away some of the ginger’s natural flavor and aroma.
Pickled ginger is typically served with sushi, so if you are looking for a side dish to accompany your meal, pickled ginger may be a great option.
However, if you are looking to use ginger for its health benefits, or to add flavor or texture to your dishes, then fresh ginger is the better choice.
Fresh ginger has been known to have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It can also provide a spicy kick of flavor to savory dishes.
So while pickled ginger can be an enjoyable accompaniment, fresh ginger offers numerous health benefits and culinary uses.
What is the point of pickled ginger?
Pickled ginger is a popular condiment served alongside sushi, and its purpose is to add flavor, texture, and color to sushi rolls and dishes.
Pickled ginger has a mild sweet taste with just the right amount of tanginess that complements sushi perfectly.
Pickled ginger also helps to cleanse the palate in between bites. This allows you to enjoy the taste of each individual roll without the flavors muddling together.
Additionally, pickled ginger can also be used in other dishes to add some zest and flavor. It is delicious served with grilled meats, vegetables, noodles and rice dishes.
What does pickled ginger sushi taste like?
Pickled ginger sushi has a unique flavor that is both sweet and tangy.
The pickling process creates a mild sourness that perfectly complements the fresh taste of fish in sushi rolls.
Pickled ginger also adds texture to the dish, with its crunchy slices contrasting against the soft texture of the sushi roll.
Lastly, pickled ginger is usually dyed pink, adding a splash of color to your plate.
All in all, pickled ginger sushi has a light and flavorful taste that pairs perfectly with the fresh fish and vegetables of the traditional sushi roll.
Can you eat too much pickled ginger?
While pickled ginger does not have any adverse effects on your health, it is important to remember that too much of anything can be bad for you.
Eating large amounts of pickled ginger can cause an upset stomach, as the preservatives and additives in the product can irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
Additionally, consuming a lot of pickled ginger can lead to excessive sodium intake, which can result in high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.
As with any food, it is best to enjoy pickled ginger in moderation, as part of a well-rounded diet.