“Tsukemono”, Japanese pickles that complement a bowl of rice.

Tsukemono, or pickles, are vegetables pickled with salt and other condiments.
Pickling with salt has been developed over time as a way of preserving vegetables, given that Japan is surrounded by the sea. Today, I’ll tell you about the history of Tsukemono, a family recipe, and their benefits.

2016-08-02   Culture,

Nukadsuke


【CONTENTS】
Umeboshi!
Condiments used to pickle vegetables
What is it, and how do you pickle with rice bran, or “Nuka”?
There’s a 100-year-old Nuka tradition!
Nukadsuke is low calorie, and tasty!
Let’s try different kinds of tsukemono!

Umeboshi and rice
Umeboshi and rice

Umeboshi!

We talked about rice in another article (tadaimajp.com/2016/08/rice-situation/), and tsukemono are the best side dish for rice. One of the most famous is umeboshi (pickled plums). It is very sour and salty, and good to eat with freshly cooked rice, or inside rice balls. Hinomaru Bento is a national lunch that contains plain rice with a single umeboshi on top. Hinomaru means Japanese flag and the bento is named after it, because it looks like the Japanese flag. It’s a simple lunch, and one umeboshi is savory enough to eat with plain rice.

Vegetables

Condiments used to pickle vegetables

The original Tsukemono was said to be pickled with salt water. It is known that pickling started 2000 years ago.

Vegetables are pickled with many different kinds of condiments today. Salt, rice bran, rice bran miso, sake lees, vinegar, malted rice, miso, soy sauce, mustard, and many others. Umeboshi are plums pickled with salt.

For Japanese people, the most famous condiment used in pickling is rice bran.

Daikon pickled with rice bran
Daikon pickled with rice bran

What is it, and how do you pickle with rice bran, or “Nuka”?

Rice bran is made from salt, water, konbu, peppers, and vegetables produced with rice bran from milled rice. To make Nuka, you need to replace the pickled vegetables twice a day; during the day and night for a few days. The pickled vegetables are thrown away during this period. The juices extracted from the vegetables are important for making good Nuka, so squeeze the vegetables and put them back into the pot. You can finally use the Nuka for pickling after a week.

Rice bran
Rice bran

There’s a 100-year-old Nuka tradition!

Nuka is a traditional ingredient in the family food of Japan. It can be used almost forever if you take good care of it. Some families even use nuka that has been passed down for over 100 years from their elders. Nuka needs to be stirred once a day to prevent molding, so it’s truly surprising!

Nukadsuke
Nukadsuke

Nukadsuke is low calorie, and tasty!

If you pickle vegetables with nuka, it fortifies the them with Vitamin B1. For example, if you pickle a cucumber for a day, the amount of Vitamin B1 will increase 10 times. Vitamin B1 works well to increase appetite, digestion, and maintain nerves, muscles, and heart functions.

Nuka has plant lactobacillus, so you can expect good intestinal function. The best part of tsukemono is that, they are low calorie.

Samples
Samples

Let’s try different kinds of tsukemono!

I introduced Nukadsuke, and each region of Japan has its own unique tsukemono. You can see many different kinds at supermarkets, malls, and souvenir shops, so please take a look and try one! Tsukemono is made to complement rice, so just eating them alone is not recommended… they’ll be too salty.

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AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.