Sushi bowl presentation - pickled ginger

Why is making your own pickled ginger more healthy?

Everyone has seen the thin pink ginger slices at a sushi restaurant. Bright glow-in-the-dark pink? This pickled ginger is called gari in Japanese and is usually eaten after sushi or sashimi to enhance the flavor and cleanse the palette. Ginger generally aids digestion, eases nausea and reduces inflammation.

What makes pickled ginger so pink? Most likely it’s artificial coloring (E124) added to the gari to make it look more attractive. Beet juice is more rarely also used to make the pickled ginger more pink.

Why bother making the ginger look pink? Very young ginger of a good quality will turn slightly pink when marinated in a sweetened vinegar solution. More mature ginger usually will not turn pink (or very pink). Sushi restaurants therefore seek pink ginger to show their guests that their ginger is young and of good quality. Yet, if the pink comes from artificial coloring such as E124 instead of from the ginger’s intrinsic characteristics, it really does not make sense to purchase pink pickled ginger.

Pickled ginger can be found in plastic packages or glass jars in specialty grocers for a fairly reasonable price. However, you can make your own pickled ginger in minutes (if in a rush like I usually am) or in a couple days (if you plan ahead). The only ingredients that you should find in your pickled ginger are: ginger, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Four ingredients! If you see more than 4 ingredients, make your own to ensure the quality of the gari that you serve your guests.

Try the recipe below for both the rushed method and the traditional method. Next time you are preparing sushi make your own pickled ginger. You will not be sorry, I promise! It’ll take you only a few minutes yet will add an appreciated touch. Pickled ginger can be stored in sterilized jars (with the liquid you used to marinate the ginger) in the refrigerator for at least a couple weeks. I’ve even kept it much longer.

Pickled Ginger: Gari
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Pickled ginger (gari) is a Japanese condiment often eaten after sushi. Making pickled ginger is easy and allows you to ensure its quality.
Chef:Belgian Foodie
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
200g 5minutes 5minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
200g 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
5minutes 30minutes
  • Course
  • Cuisine
Servings: g
Servings: g
  1. Peel the ginger and then slice it very thinly (as thin as you can).
  2. Place the ginger and salt in a bowl and let stand at least 30 minutes.
  3. Towards the end of the 30-minute waiting time, place the rice vinegar and sugar into a pot. Bring to a boil and then stopping the heat immediately.
  4. Place the ginger in a clean (sterilized) glass jar. Pour the boiling sweetened vinegar over the ginger in the jar. Let cool completely with lid off.
  5. Once cooled completely, place the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 days before using.
Rushed Method
  1. Peel the ginger and then slice it very thinly (as thin as you can).
  2. Place the ginger in a bowl. Cover with rice vinegar. Let stand at least 20 minutes. Ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

I often prepare the pickled ginger using the rushed method. This ginger is not as sweet, allowing you to enjoy the actual taste of ginger. If you prefer the ginger to be sweetened, add a little fine sugar to the rice vinegar.

Written by:Belgian Foodie


Nutrition Facts
Pickled Ginger: Gari
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.01g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.002g 0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.002g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.002g
Sodium 12mg 1%
Potassium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 0.5g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.02g 0%
Sugars 0.3g
Protein 0.02g 0%
Vitamin C 0.1%
Iron 0.04%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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