Japanese cooks use pickled ginger often. It is an excellent condiment to clear the taste in between bites of sushi for example. Mackerel based battera is using it to provide more flavor. Gari, as the Japanese call it, can be stored for more than a year in the refrigerator. So make this once per year, preferably in early summer when the young ginger is around.

The art of making pickled ginger

Using young ginger for this condiment is essential. In early summer, ginger with purple root tips becomes available. Peeling this ginger is easy by hand or by spoon. Alternatively scrape with the back of a knife. This ginger is soft and not woody.  Use a peeler or a cheese cutter to cut thin slices. The preservation is done with salt, a quick boiling step and then a marinade of sweetened rice vinegar with a bit if salt. Work with a sterilized jar, but the overall process is easy and fast.

Special equipment

  • peeler or cheese cutter
  • sterilized and airtight jar
    ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

    Pickled ginger

    Prep Time 5 days
    Total Time 5 days
    Course Condiment
    Cuisine Japanese
    Servings 20


    Ingredients to make the preserved ginger

    • 5.3 oz (150 g) young, fresh ginger young ginger has purple tips and is sold in Asia in early summer
    • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
    • 1 pint (0.5 liter) water
    • 5.3 oz (150 g) sweet vinegar (see below)

    Ingredients for the sweet vinegar

    • 3.5 oz (100 g) rice vinegar
    • 4 tbsp granular sugar
    • 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt


    Instruction to make the pickled ginger

    • Clean the young ginger by hand, spoon or scrape it with the back of a knife. Take all untidy and brown bits away
    • Sterilize a jar using either boiling water and let stand or by placing it for 20 plus minutes in a pre-heated 150 C oven. Then let cool and do not touch
    • Slice the young ginger using a peeler or cheese cutter
    • Then place the ginger slices in boiling water for 1-3 minutes: less spicy 3 minutes, more spicy 1 minute. Immediately strain, squeeze with clean hands to press out water and spread out on a paper towel
    • Place the ginger slices in the sterilized jar and at the warm sweet vinegar (see below). Place in the refrigerator. Color will slightly change over time. The best taste is achieved after several weeks.
    • Store the gari for a year or more in the sweet vinegar

    Instruction to make the sweet vinegar

    • In a clean pan add the rice vinegar, the sugar and the salt
    • Bring to the boil and then let cool slightly (do not boil prolonged as you would lose the active ingredients in the vinegar)
    • Use


    Method: no heat treatment and quick boil
    Food allergy & intolerance information: none
    Keyword gari, pickled ginger, preserved ginger


  1. For best results squeeze the ginger after the boiling step. Thus the vinegar and sugar of the preservation liquid will not be diluted, be more potent and the taste will develop better.
  2. Over time the ginger may adopt a slight pink hue.


Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating