Spring Salt Cucumber Pickling Nov 2012

You all know that I LOVE kimchi and pickles of any variety especially when I get to make them myself.
After three weeks in Japan enjoying homemade pickles galore I felt compelled to make my own as soon as I got back home.
In Japan they go by the name tsukemono and this refers to really anything at all pickled so that makes it easy to just ask tsukemono when every you want them. My friend's Jay and Toko were telling me all about a place they had been to in Kyoto where they feasted on pickles and rice but unfortunately we did not quite get there -possibly delayed by our own feasting.
So I did take photos of every meal we ate while we were away -way too many for posting but at last I thought I could start with some pickles of any variety.
Cucumber pickles were my fav this time around and I could not get enough of them. Ordering them every opportunity possible gave me a good variety of tastes, crunch and textures to compare and I still love the fresh as ones that have been done just that day. Still with good crunch and cucumbery taste they beat the really fermented Korean ones that can be quite soft . Back home I made up a batch that is now a week old and they are pretty good I must say. A wee heavy on the salt but still tasty as.
 
Simple too and even though my search for good Asian cucumbers came up empty the telegraph cucumbers we have right now are nice and thin . Maybe too much rain and not enough sun has given us a lower grade cucumber this season but they are perfect for pickling !
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All you need is ...
salt-I use a nice New Zealand harvested sea salt flakes o they break down easily as not as hard as rock salt
Korean dried red pepper-available at any good Asian supermarket these red chillies are pretty mild and sweet so you can use a lot without fear to get good colour
Cucumbers-I dont peel my telegraph cucumbers unless they are big and old. Right now they are nice, small and thin and sweet
Spring onion or leeks-your choice and if you are lucky enough to find them the best are the baby spring onions that are very mild and not near as sharp and oniony
Slice your cucumbers diagonally and place in a large bowl. Rub into the cucumbers 1 tablespoon salt and allow to stand for a good ten to fifteen minutes then rinse well.
Add 2 -3 tablespoons of red chilli pepper powder (to your taste really -I like 2 at least) as well as 2 -3 sliced spring onions.
Mix well and that is it! Cant be easier.
Pack into a jar or container and they will keep at least 2 weeks if not longer. They change from day to day so sample and see when your favourite texture and richness marker is for next time.?

 

Kimchi is already posted for you to try as well and if you are working on these I try to do three of four pickles at a time while I am in the mood so on the same day I did a small kimchi batch as well which again changes so much as it matures. Im looking forward to a egg pancake of nice spicy kimchi as it is week two now so it starts getting quite funky indeed.
The only thing I do find that I tend to skip as a step when I have been making my kimchi in the past but wont from now on is the overnight soaking in salted water of the cabbage laves. It does really help give a better texture to the end result so simply laying all the leaves into a big bucket or pot in salted water overnight is the way to go .
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Here so pictures of some wonderful pickles I sampled while in Japan recently 

 

Here in Okayama at a Korean Barbecue place that had the best ever pickled soy beans and kimchi-actually the whole lot was the best ever with fine quality meats to be had -yyyuuummmmmmm -and the lovely owner gifted us 1.5 litres of shochu on our departure-super nice !

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 Korea Town in Osaka -a real rabbit warren of stores under a train station that I reckon you could get quite lost in. Some good looking treats to be had though

 

 More Korea Town ...

 Nagasaki...shame the rest of the meal wasn't up to the same amazing standard as these suckers....bonito shavings and soy beans ...arggghhhh sooo good
A while a go I posted info on salt pickling and pickles so check out that one if you want info more on different varieties of pickles rather than simple old salt pickling you could feast on other varieties of pickles !!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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