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A dish of tsukemono

Tsukemono (漬物?, literally "pickled things") are Japanese preserved vegetables (usually pickled in salt, brine[1] or a bed of rice bran).[2] They are served with rice as okazu (side dish), with drinks as an otsumami (snack), as an accompaniment to or garnish for meals, and as a course in the kaiseki portion of a Japanese tea ceremony.

Alternate names[edit]

Tsukemono are also referred as konomono (香の物?), oshinko (御新香?) or okoko (御香々?), all carrying the meaning of "fragrant dish" in Japanese.[2] kou (?) which is used in these names was a generic term for pickled food and indicates miso due to the strong smell from the pickling process, but does not indicate the use of miso in the pickling process. Particularly, oshinko (shinko) refers to lightly pickled tsukemono which did not yet cause a color change in the used vegetable. However, due to takuan becoming a widely available type of tsukemono, these names are frequently used interchangeably with takuan. gakko (がっこ?), a type of tsukemono made locally in Akita was originally gakou (雅香?) or miyabi or refined fragrant.

Techniques of tsukemono[edit]

Tsukemono can be readily bought in a supermarket, but despite this many Japanese still make their own. All that is needed to make pickles is a container, salt, and something to apply pressure on top of the pickles.

A tsukemonoki (漬物器?), literally vessel for pickled things, is a Japanese pickle press. The pressure is generated by heavy stones called tsukemonoishi (漬物石?) with a weight of one to two kilograms, sometimes more. This type of pickle press is still in use, and can be made from a variety of materials, such as plastic, wood, glass or ceramic. Before tsukemonoishi came into use, the pressure was applied by driving a wedge between a handle of the container and its lid.

The weights are either stone or metal, with a handle on top and often covered with a layer of food-neutral plastic. Another modern type of pickle press is usually made from plastic, and the necessary pressure is generated by turning a screw and clamping down onto the pickles.

Asazuke is a pickling method characterized by its short preparation time.

Tsukemono Types[1]
Type Kanji Pickling Ingredient
Shiozuke 塩漬け salt
Suzuke 酢漬け vinegar
Amasuzuke 甘酢漬け sugar and vinegar
Misozuke 味噌漬け miso
Shoyuzuke 醤油漬け soy sauce
Kasuzuke 粕漬け sake kasu (sake lees)
Koji 塩麹 malted rice
Nukazuke 糠漬け rice bran
Karashizuke からし漬け hot mustard
Satozuke 砂糖漬け sugar

List of tsukemono[edit]

Takuan (daikon), umeboshi (ume plum), turnip, cucumber, and Chinese cabbage are among the favorites to be eaten with rice as an accompaniment to a meal.

Beni shoga (red ginger pickled in umeboshi brine) is used as a garnish on okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakisoba.

Gari (thinly sliced young ginger that has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar) is used between dishes of sushi to cleanse the palate.

Rakkyōzuke (a type of onion) is often served with Japanese curry. Rakkyōzuke has a very mild and "fresh" taste. It is pickled and used to balance the stronger flavors of some other component in a meal.

Fukujinzuke is a mixture of daikon, eggplant, lotus root and cucumber which is pickled and flavored with soy sauce.

Bettarazuke is a kind of pickled daikon popular in Tokyo.

Matsumaezuke is a pickled dish (native to Matsumae, Hokkaidō) made from surume (dried squid), konbu, kazunoko (herring roe), carrot and ginger with a mixture of sake, soy sauce and mirin.

Nozawana is a pickled leaf vegetable typical of Nagano Prefecture.

Tariff on tsukemono[edit]

According to EU and USA trade code definitions, tsukemono are classified as 'preserved vegetables' rather than 'pickles' because they are not primarily preserved in acetic acid or distilled vinegar. They have a different tax rate than western pickles.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reid, Libby (August 2008). TSUKEMONO: A Look at Japanese Pickling Techniques (PDF). Kanagawa International Foundation. p. 4. 
  2. ^ a b Hisamatsu, Ikuko (2013). Tsukemono Japanese Pickling Recipes. Japan: Japan Publications Trading Co., LTD. and Boutique-sha, Inc. p. 6. ISBN 978-4-88996-181-2. 

External links[edit]