Japanese Pickles

Suzy MacFarland


These are the pickles one likes so much at the favorite authenic Japanese restaurant.
Make gobs of these for snacks, topping salads, or having as a side salad all its own.
This is the perfect snack for dieters or anyone who just loves pickles!

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20 Min


No-Cook or Other


4 large
1 large
red bell pepper
2 c
shredded napa cabbage

Directions Step-By-Step

First of all, wash the veggies well. Strip some of the peel from the cucumbers. Cut them down the middle the long way and remove the seed core.
I make 2 "V" cuts on each side of the core and it just lifts out.

Then slice some fairly thin half moons from the cored cucumbers.

If you have a Japanese pickle press like the one pictured here showing the two parts, layer your cucumbers and other veggies in the container and generously salt each layer (don't be concerned, this salt will be wash off later).

Once your press is about 3/4 full put on the top and screw it down as far as possible. Wait 1 to 2 hours and drain off the brine. Then wash your veggies in fresh water and drain.
Place the veggies in fresh water in a large jar with a plastic top (the salt and vinegar may corrode metal caps) and add salt, sugar or suger substitute, herbs, and vinegar to taste. I only add a little salt and vinegar, so taste before you add these to see they are salty enough. You may not even taste the salt at all.
This type of pickle will come out crispy crunchy and delicious but they must be pressed or weighted down for a time.
Refrigerate and enjoy!
Japanese Pickles Plate Method:
If you don't have a pickle press (inexpensive and available online), here is another method.
Prepare the veggies the same way as above.
Use a large bowl that will accomodate at least a 10 inch plate.
Layer and salt the veggies, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap, place a plate on top of the veggies, cover with a kitchen towel, place heavy weights, rocks or bricks on top to weigh down the veggies.

This works very well for eggplant, tofu and other veggies that need the excess water removed from them.

Note: If you can get a Japanese pickle press, it can become a valuable kitchen tool. They are not expensive and the results of this easy to use tool is rewarding. I bought the largest one I could find at the time so I could make large batches.
Finally, there are a number of veggies that are great this way. Here are some of my favorites:
napa cabbage
bell peppers

Onions are definitely not recommend for this process. They do not come out well at all. You may, however, try the green part of green onionsor scallions added sparingly to the veggie mixture.

Check out Donna Schwenk's recipe for salsa: