Traditional recipes

Pickled Umeboshi Beets

Pickled Umeboshi Beets

The salty-sweet-sour umeboshi complement the earthy notes in the beets.


  • 3 medium beets (about 1½ lb.)
  • 8 umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums)
  • 2–3 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 475°. Wrap beets in foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, 1–1¼ hours. Unwrap; let cool slightly. Remove skin, then cut beets into wedges. Place in a small bowl, add umeboshi and vinegar, and toss to coat.

  • DO AHEAD: Beets can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer,Photos by Hirsheimer Hamilton

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 15 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 1 Sodium (mg) 310Reviews Section

Another great side dish, these pickled beets can be made 5 day ahead—just cover and keep them chilled.

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Surprising Ways to Add Pickled Foods Into Each Meal, For Gut Health

When I mention pickles, most people I encounter automatically picture a cucumber, maybe cut into spears or coins or as relish, but almost always cucumbers. That’s why I’m here to tell you that there’s so much more!

Incorporating pickles of all varieties is one way you can provide support to your body by directly “feeding” your digestive system with healthy bacteria (probiotics), native yeasts and digestive enzymes. This can help you break down meals easier, thus increasing the levels of nutrient absorption, among other health benefits.

What Exactly is Pickling?

Pickling is technically a method of “cooking” or breaking down food, sometimes to preserve it, and sometimes for more immediate consumption. This breaking down can occur two different ways: pickles can be fermented over time, or cured quickly in acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice. Massaging vegetables with the later will yield the sour, pickled taste you crave in less time than fermentation.

So, What Makes A Veggie Pickle?

Sometimes I pickle raw or lightly steamed veggies by heating a combination of acid, sugar, salt and maybe some spices, then sealing them together in jars. You can find my vinegar-pickled carrots and radishes recipe here. When fermenting, the sour relies on living bacteria or yeast – sometimes added and sometimes naturally occurring – to transform carbohydrates to alcohol. This takes longer than vinegar pickling, and requires a fairly stable ambient room temperature, but the health benefits are huge.

Remember though,it’s not all about veggies. Yogurt, fish sauce, and umeboshi are all ferments, too! I eat all types of these foods to bring a variety of health benefits, texture and flavors. This winter I’ve been pickling hard squashes (red kuri, delicata, buttercup, butternut) as well as rainbow carrots, beets, onions and radishes. I’m also still enjoying the benefits of last summer’s watermelon rind, zucchini and green strawberries.

Here are some other examples of how I get these beneficial “bugs” into my guts!

Fermented sauerkraut on top of an omelet.

Yogurt or kefir. Make sure to check labels… Some contain more sugar than a twinkie! Personally, I buy plain, grass-fed whole-milk yogurt and add berries or dates to sweeten.

Leftover veggies heated with bone broth and finished with a spoonful of miso once removed from heat.

Umeboshi nibbled with sushi.

Spring rolls loaded with both fresh and various pickled veggies.

Vinegar-pickled carrots and radishes, a chunk of cheese and a handful of nuts.

Prosciutto, pears and fermented green beans.

Fermented cauliflower on top of slow cooked pork shoulder.

A (bun-less) burger topped with vinegar-pickled onions, fermented radish.

Kombucha to accompany any meal!

Fermented sweet plums over coconut milk ice cream.

Flourless chocolate cake with crème fraiche or sour cream and berries.

Aiming to incorporate 2-3 servings per day works well for me, but I suggest starting slowly with 2-3 servings per week then build up over a few months.

Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Umeboshi- Japanese Pickled Plums [Video How-To]

Umeboshi (梅干) is salted Japanese pickled plums. They take a good level of effort to make properly, but well worth it. Packed with umami, saltiness, and subtle floral aromas, a little goes a long way. Ume are traditionally cured at the beginning of the dry season (mid-July) in Japan. Fortunately, farmers in the U.S. are now growing this specific style of plum that lends itself to this fermentation. You can find fresh ume seasonally, starting in late spring in California.

You can find already-made umeboshi in Japanese markets, but beware! Most are fast-processed, and contain preservatives and artificial colors. The ingredients should just be plum, salt, and maybe sesame or perilla (aka shiso) leaves. Out of 10 or so brands I perused recently, just one was the real deal (and they were a bit pricier than the cheaper processed ones).

While we haven’t gotten past eating them from the jar and daring our friends who’ve never tried one to see the look on their faces when they bite one, they’re really good on top of plain old rice. And we have tinkered with a cultured ice cream recipe using these tasty little gems.

Reader Interactions


Connie says

Thank you for this very concise, yet informative, explanation of lacto fermentation. As an alternative health care provider I have been researching the possible causes of the increasing incidence of diseases in society. I firmly believe that diet is the greatest contributing factor in declining health, and that adding lacto fermented foods to a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and a small amount of animal protein will improve overall health. I am also curious to find out if a diet with an adequate amount of lacto fermented foods will also make the grain foods more digestible and less a detriment to one’s health.

Tim Boyd says

Fermented foods will help with digestion in general but we still suggest preparing the grains properly.

Dagny says

How are fermented grains prepared? I’ve read in several places that this is a good thing to do, but I can’t find any directions on how to do it.

And what about seeds and nuts? I took a shot in the dark last night and soaked the buckwheat groats I intend to use today in a recipe for dinner, but I’ve got no idea if I’ve done the right thing. And now that they’ve soaked and just about doubled in volume, I’m no sure how to cook them.

Maureen Diaz says

Nourishing Traditions is one place to read more on this topic, but there are many articles and books which touch on it.

Basically, any bread that goes through a lengthy “proof” of at least 7 hours is fermented. This includes most sourdoughs (not store-bought, must be true SD). Also, grains can be soaked in liquid to ferment and then be cooked. But watch out, as too much time and moisture produces an alcoholic fermentation over the more desirable bread fermentation.

Seeds and nuts can be sprouted, they don’t need to be fermented. Your buckwheat groats may be rinsed and cooked in broth, water, or even milk. Buckwheat is mucogenous, making them rather slimy otherwise. Just rinse through a strainer, add desired liquid, salt, and butter, and slowly simmer until done, about 20-30 minutes.

Cary says

With all this hype about fermented foods, my refrigerator is now overly filled with homemade fermented vegetables that there is little space for fresh fruits & vegetables. It was a bit too obssessive. We need to remember to eat enough fresh produce too to benefit from the nutrients and antioxidants. I also found that presoaking and sprouting grains makes it more digestible. Extreme diets are not healthy.

Paulette Salisbury says

They call it “canning” when you prepare the jars of fermented foods for shelf storage. Check it out.

Maureen Diaz says

Paulette, some do mistakingly can their fermented vegetables, not realizing that this destroys most of the beneficial organisms and enzymes. We recommend you “jar”, not “can”, your ferments for storage.

Annette Riggs says

I want to learn more about cabbage and how to make saur kraut, I have acid reflux, thanks, Annette.

bill says

I have been making and eating suaerkraut for a few months now , and my digestion has improved greatly. I’ve used recipes I found at a website called “make”, and have had 100% tasty batches. Those recipes differ from the advice in this article in that they have no whey added.
Avoid the whey and make some kraut- and good luck!

Maureen Diaz says

Indeed, whey is only needed in some ferments, but never sauerkraut. I do add it to pickles and a few other things, but even this is often not necessary as most vegetables, raw and fresh, will have enough lactobacilli to produce a lactic-acid fermentation.

The cruciferous family of vegetables is especially rich in LB.

Fred Glass says

I remember my grandmother’s stuffed cabbage suffusing the whole house with a delightful pungency. I can longer find such cabbage. Nowadays bland with very little flavor whether organic or conventional. I surmise that the varieties of cabbage and all vegetables have been bred for quantity rather than quality since my childhood.

Does anyone know where in the New York City area I can find pungent flavorful vegetables. The farmer’s markets are no better than the stores and often times worse.
Fred Glass

Michael Ho says

It’s very easy to make just peel the cabbage leaves and sprinkle salt and spicy powder with rice vinegar stuff tight in a bottle and never open for 2-3 months, it will start fermenting on its own. Never to open in between. If you like more spicy chili powder try to get the Korean chili powder and mix together before wrapping and rolling the leaves into the bottle of the tumbler. Better if the tumbler is an earthen dark color not transparent.

Silvia says

Hice kefircraut con nodulos de kefir y le agregue agua para sumergir los vegetales.
Una prensa y
lo cubri con un lienzo y oscuridad ,pero no tapado hermeticamente.
Es correcto?
Lo deje 15 dias a t ambiente y luego cerrado en la heladera.
No salio muy acido.
Aguardo comentarios!

Michelle Joy Mugavin says

is it possible to eat fermented foods if you are histamine intolerant. i have been told you cant.

Brian pratt says

Please help me understand this, that if fermentation was practiced in all these early societies, how then do we need to use air tight jars?
I do not see how these ancients had such devices,and you described that they did not have access to kodern things but used ancient methods.
So pleae help me understand air tight jars.
My grandfather made all,kinds of kraut and pickles and other stuff in clay/ glass containers with cloths laid over them. Thank you, B.P.

Anil Handa says

Here in India we to use porcelain jars and pots with tightly wrapped cloth.

Helen says

I have been making my own sourkrout for a few years now and I also consume kefir and natto. I have observed that I never get sick with flu or viruses and have not had the flu vaccine for three years.

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Try sprinkling Ume Plum Vinegar over your beet salad, mashed chickpeas, stir-fried cabbage or use it for your pickled beets or pickled red cabbage. If you would like to try something different, give this delicious Shibazuke Pickles a try.

A popular pickle originated in Kyoto, these salty and slightly sour pickles have beautiful natural purple color from purple shiso leaves. Enjoy the pickles with steamed rice or Ochazuke.

A world tour of pickles in the Bay Area and how to make them

1 of 6 Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 6 Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 6 Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 6 Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 6 Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 6 Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

When it comes to pickles, I roll deep.

As a kid, pickles meant kosher dill pickled cucumbers, and I was always chasing that sour, salty slap of flavor. Age 6 was a big year because I was finally tall enough to pilfer pickles from the fridge at random. By 7, I was sipping pickle brine like a fine wine from a coffee mug. And 8 saw my first recipe writing with the descriptively titled Pickles n Beef: a cold soup of chopped dill pickles, chiffonade of Buddig beef lunch meat and pickle brine (which had to &ldquoage&rdquo at least one day in the fridge).

As an adult, I&rsquom basically a &ldquoPortlandia&rdquo sketch. From oxblood red beets to spring green asparagus to sunset-hued Rainier cherries: I can pickle that, and have. My fridge has 16 jars of pickles from cultures around the world and each is essential (this is not a negotiation). There are Mexican red onions en escabeche, Swedish sweet pickled beets, funky sauerkraut.

There&rsquos a rhubarb ginger achar from Brooklyn Delhi that&rsquos more savory than sweet for my Gujarati flatbreads several jars of garlic dill asparagus pickles and Chinese five-spice cherries that didn&rsquot seal in my last canning session an obnoxiously large jar of kosher dills for my kids and a small container of vinegar-pickled cherry plums from a trip to Paso Robles (San Luis Obispo County).

I tell myself it&rsquos not my fault because, first of all, birthing three babies gave me the ultimate push present of pre-diabetes. As a food writer who can&rsquot always control what she is eating, I need to binge on nonstarchy vegetables whenever possible. Secondly, here in the Bay Area, there always seems to be a pile of vegetables or fruit to use up between CSAs, a tempting farmers&rsquo market and garden-loving neighbors who really thought their two-person household needed 14 zucchini plants.

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

Pickles are easy to make, extend the life of produce and make anything taste better.

After reading recipes and histories about the foodways of pickles, here&rsquos what I learned: Most modern pickles descend from two grandparents: vinegar pickles from ancient Mesopotamia starting in 2030 B.C. and fermented salt pickling from China (at least 9,000 years ago), although some South Asian countries use oil with salt and spices to preserve.

Pretty much anything can be pickled, from meat (Punjabi chicken pickle) to fish (Peruvian ceviche), vegetables (Italian olives) and fruit (Japanese umeboshi). Extra credit: Studies show that drinking vinegar pickle juice helps with blood sugar levels for pre-diabetics (high-five to young me for killer instincts).

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

Sadly, most pickle histories that are readily available in Bay Area bookstores are whitewashed and very European-centric. The best I found was &ldquoPickles: A Global History&rdquo by Jan Davidson, but it was far from &ldquoglobal.&rdquo European and American coverage is extensive, but Latin America and North Africa are covered as entire regions, and only six countries from all of Asia are singled out. This underscores the importance of having more people of color write about these topics we see the value in documenting all stories from communities of color, not just the most popular or dominant ones. I want more PoC pickles, damn it.

The Bay Area pickle scene (yes, there is one) is the perfect place to find more diversity because it reflects its surroundings. This is where hyper seasonal California produce meets pickle traditions from around the world: aged Iranian garlic torshi, asparagus and leek kimchi, crunchy Salvadoran curtido and Indonesian acar timun.

&ldquoGrowing up in L.A., pickles were canned escabeche (pickled vegetables with jalapeños) and saladitos (salted pickled plums),&rdquo Chicana chef Dominica Rice-Cisneros remembers as she deftly trims the leaves from a large artichoke heart with a curved bird&rsquos-beak knife. You should really wear gloves when you do this, she suggests, and she swears by using a cheap metal tablespoon to scoop out the choke.

We&rsquore in her open kitchen at her restaurant Cosecha (&ldquoharvest&rdquo in Spanish) in Old Oakland&rsquos Swan&rsquos Market.Escabeche is anything soaked in vinegar or acid, a tradition that made its way from the Middle East to Spain and then to Latin America. &ldquoIt&rsquos a perfect bite to include with tacos,&rdquo she says. &ldquoThe acid cuts right through the meat&rsquos fat.&rdquo

It&rsquos a quick pickle, which means she only has to parcook the hearts and carrots in the brine before letting it all soak, and it&rsquos ready to eat after a week or two in the fridge. Cosecha also regularly makes onions pickled with hibiscus, cinnamon and chiles, which is served with carnitas and fried fish tacos.

The finished pickles are slightly salty, redolent with herbaceous Mexican oregano and laced with chipotle smoke, followed by the sharper heat of fresh jalapeño. (But according to my husband, the carrots are the real star, and should be added with abandon.)

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

From there, I traveled to the Indian city of Chennai via San Jose with pop-up chef Vijitha Senthilnathan&rsquos fermented Meyer lemon pickle (elumichai oorugai). I first tried this seductively salty pickle at her high chai pop-up. The pickles sat atop upma, a savory semolina porridge studded with vegetables. It stood out because growing up, I could never eat fiery Indian pickles without singeing my taste buds. But this pickle was delicate, salty and slightly aromatic thanks to the fragrant Meyer skins. For the recipe, go to

Pickles in India go back to 600 B.C., when Ayurveda declared sour to be one of six basic tastes needed for a balanced meal. It&rsquos likely that India inherited pickles from both the Middle East and China. The Hindi word for pickle (achar) comes from Persia, but Senthinathan&rsquos pickle is similar to the fermented salt pickles of China (but only in India and surrounding regions, they preserve pickles in oil).

&ldquoPickle making is a family activity,&rdquo Senthilnathan explains as her mother, visiting from Chennai, heats the oil for the tadka. &ldquoIt is a celebrated process of days of work. One person chops the vegetable or fruit, another one pounds the spices, another one cleans and dries the ceramic pickle jar.&rdquo She has fond memories of making lemon and unripe mango pickle with her achi (paternal grandma) over summer breaks, and it&rsquos a tradition she carries on with her own children, swapping lemons and unripe mangoes for California&rsquos Meyer lemons and tomatoes.

Pickles play an important role in Indian homes as a flavor enhancer. Senthilnathan&rsquos family enjoys this salty pickle on top of rice and thayir sadam (yogurt rice), with roti, or pureed and used as a marinade for chicken. This pickle is fermented, which means she lets it sit at room temperature covered with a cheesecloth twice: once with the chopped lemon mixed with salt, and again after a quick cook in sesame oil tadka, where it sits as long as two weeks. Senthilnathan, who&rsquos also a molecular biologist, explains that the moisture and nutrients drawn out by the salt allows for lactic acid bacteria to thrive, and the oil and spices inhibit bad bacteria growth. She also puts her pickles outside in direct sunlight, a traditional Indian trick that utilizes the sun&rsquos rays to prevent spoilage.

The finished lemons are tender, slightly nutty from the sesame oil, and incredibly fragrant thanks to tadka of black mustard seeds, methi and really good organic turmeric. This is not a pickle to binge eat, but a tiny burst of flavor to savor a little at a time.

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Photos by Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

I end my PoC pickle hunt in the Philippines via San Francisco with another pop-up chef, Yana Gilbuena. Pickles are an ancestral food in the Philippines, she says, inspired by Indian and Malaysian achar.

Atchara is typically made from unripe papayas and coconut or cane vinegar, and it&rsquos often really sweet. She hated the texture and sweetness as a kid, so she makes some adjustments. She grew up eating atchara with fried or barbecued meats to cut through the fat, or as a side dish with rice, but she likes to serve it as a palate cleanser during her pop-ups. The trick for her no-heat brine is to whisk the sugar and salt until they dissolve.

Her atchara uses whatever looks good and can be thinly sliced to encourage quick pickling. Today&rsquos version has French radishes, rainbow carrots, red spring onions and golden beets, an edible kaleidoscope.

Other Filipinos complain that this isn&rsquot atchara because it doesn&rsquot include papaya. Gilbuena shrugs off this critique: &ldquoPapayas are expensive in the U.S. and always ripening. Filipino food is being able to adapt your heritage and culture in the midst of the diaspora. . The interaction of acid with food, it changes everything from texture to taste, and I love that,&rdquo she says. &ldquoIt becomes a metamorphosis.&rdquo

Her atchara is crisp and spicy from her spiced coconut vinegar with chiles. It pickles quickly, within 30 minutes, but stays good for only a week. &ldquoI eat it with every meal when I make it at home,&rdquo she says, &ldquoso it&rsquos gone quickly.&rdquo

By the end of my hunt, my belly, fridge and heart are full. The scent of vinegar hangs in the air of my kitchen like that last party guest who just doesn&rsquot want to go home. Luckily, it&rsquos a smell my kids have known since utero: We are a Pickle Family. My fridge pickle count is up to 19 jars. I know I have just scratched the surface of PoC pickles, but it&rsquos an adventure that&rsquos just starting for me.

Leena Trivedi-Grenier is a freelance writer living in the Bay Area. Twitter: @Leena_Eats Email: [email protected]

3 pickles you can make at home

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

Yana&rsquos Rainbow Farmers&rsquo Market Atchara

Traditional Filipino atchara is made from unripe papaya and a sweet, cooked brine. Yana Gilbuena prefers to use a barely sweetened, uncooked brine so the vegetables retain their crunch and original flavors. Feel free to substitute another vegetable by weight in the recipe, especially if it looks beautiful at the market. Atchara is typically served as a side dish with rice, but Yana uses it as a palate cleanser.

Makes one half-gallon mason jar

2 cups spiced cane/coconut vinegar (apple cider vinegar if you don&rsquot want it spicy)

3 tablespoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 yellow beet (10-12 ounces), peeled, then shredded or finely julienned

pounds red onion, peeled and cut into thin slices

8 ounces carrots or baby carrots, scrubbed (big carrots should be shredded on a mandoline or with a box grater or julienned)

5 ounces radishes, thinly shaved

tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Instructions: In a large bowl, add the vinegar and whisk in the sugar and salt until both dissolve, a few minutes. Set aside.

Layer the beet, onion, carrots and radishes in a half-gallon jar. Add the coriander and black pepper, and finally the brine. Place a lid on the jar and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to a week. Store in the refrigerator.

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

Vijitha&rsquos South Indian Meyer Lemon Pickle

This spin on traditional South Indian lemon pickle uses fragrant Meyer lemons with salt and ferments from five days to two weeks. Indian sesame oil (gingelly) is not toasted, as Chinese or Japanese sesame oils are. (Also note that Diamond kosher salt is less salty than Morton&rsquos, so different measurements are given for each. If you don&rsquot have time to let the lemons soak for three days, or to let them sit for the full two weeks after cooking, just do it for as long as you can. The longer it soaks, the softer the lemon will be. You can find gingelly, black mustard seeds, asafoetida and fenugreek at Indian grocers.

Makes one 8-ounce jar

2 to 3 Meyer lemons (8-10 ounces total), washed and dried thoroughly

3 tablespoons Diamond kosher salt (2 tablespoons if using Morton&rsquos kosher salt)

¼ cup + ⅛ cup Indian sesame oil (a.k.a. gingelly see Note)

2 teaspoons black mustard seeds

¼ + ⅛ teaspoons asafoetida

1 heaping teaspoon turmeric

¾ teaspoon fenugreek powder

¼ to 1 teaspoon cayenne, depending on how spicy you want it

To prep the lemons: Cut the lemons into quarters lengthwise. If they are large lemons, cut each quarter in half. Cut each segment into 3-4 pieces, aiming for the same size. Place in a clean and dry glass pint jar, along with salt. Stir with a clean, dry spoon, then cover with a cloth towel or cheesecloth. Set the jar in the sun, either outside (bring it in at night) or in a sunny window, and let it soak for three days. Once a day, give the jar a stir with a clean, dry spoon.

To make the tadka and finish the lemons: At the end of the third day, start the tadka by heating sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Test by adding a single mustard seed. If it sizzles, it&rsquos ready. Add the rest of the black mustard seeds and stir for one minute, until all seeds pop. Add the asafoetida, turmeric and fenugreek powder, and stir for 30 seconds. Add the lemons, all of their juices and cayenne. Saute until some of the liquid evaporates and the lemon skins soften but still hold their shape, 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat.

Ladle the pickles into a clean, dry pint jar and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, cover with cheesecloth and let sit in a sunny place (outdoors or in a sunny window) from 5 days to two weeks, placing the jar in the fridge at night. Stir once a day with a clean, dry spoon and prevent water from entering. The longer it sits, the softer the lemons will be. Once softened, remove the cheesecloth, replace with a lid and store in the fridge. The pickles will stay good for several months as long as you use a clean, dry spoon every time you eat it.

Serve as a condiment, as part of an Indian thali or to top a bowl of rice. Vijitha Senthilnathan likes to puree the lemon and use it as a marinade on chicken.

Rainbow carrots, golden beets, radishes, and a red spring onion await prep for a quick mixed atchara in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2019. Celeste Noche / Special to The Chronicle

Dominica&rsquos Artichoke Heart Escabeche

This spicy escabeche utilizes artichoke hearts in place of traditional cauliflower, a definite California twist to this Chicana recipe from Dominica Rice-Cisneros. When choosing artichokes, find the largest you can. Small artichokes yield small hearts. Take care to wear gloves while you trim the artichokes so the thorns and bitter juice don&rsquot get on your hands.

Makes one half-gallon jar

3 large artichokes (12-14 ounces each)

1 lemon, halved

2 cups white wine vinegar

½ cup Diamond kosher salt

1 bay leaf

3 to 4 medium dried or canned chipotle chiles

4 large peeled and halved garlic cloves

6 black peppercorns

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

Escabeche vegetables

10 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick slices on the bias

3 large jalapeños (about 5 ounces), cut into ½-inch-thick slices on the bias

12 ounces spring onions, green removed and sliced into medium rings

To prep the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with water, squeeze the juice of one lemon into it and then drop in the lemon.Snap off the outer dark green leaves until you get to the tender yellow leaves, then use a paring or bird&rsquos-beak knife to trim off the green parts from the top and sides of the heart and stem (if the stem feels tough as you trim it, you can cut it off). When only yellow or white remain, place the heart in the lemon water to prevent oxidation and repeat with other artichokes.

Slice each heart in half. Using a thin metal tablespoon, scrape out the choke from the heart. Cut each heart half into equal sizes, typically in half or thirds again lengthwise. Return the pieces to the lemon water, then repeat with other hearts.

To make the brine: In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups water, the vinegar, salt, bay leaf, chipotle chiles, garlic cloves, peppercorns and Mexican oregano and heat until simmering. Taste the brine. If it&rsquos too vinegary, add a little more water and salt or 1 tablespoon sugar to balance it out. You&rsquore looking for the smokiness from the chipotles to come out, so also adjust the amount of chiles if needed.

To finish the escabeche: Add the artichoke hearts to the brine and cook until halfway tender, or when a knife can pierce the heart with little resistance, roughly 4 minutes. Remove the hearts and chipotle chiles from the brine and set aside to cool. Add the carrots to the brine and cook until al dente, for 2 minutes. Remove from the brine. Add the jalapeños and onion slices to the brine cook for 1 minute, then pour the contents of the pot into a bowl to cool. Add the chipotles and the hearts back in. Once cooled, transfer everything to a clean half-gallon jar and chill for 1 week. You can store the escabeche in the refrigerator for a few months.


Cauliflower is a good substitute for artichoke hearts. Snap large florets off and break them into smaller florets, the size of a pickle you&rsquod want to eat. Pack into a clean jar raw, then cook the carrots, onions and jalapeños as directed in the recipe. Remove the carrots and onion and pack them into the jar with cauliflower, then pour hot brine into the jar. Let cool to room temperature put the lid on and store in the fridge.

27 umeboshi Recipes

Umeboshi and Rice Salad with Pickled Ginger and Sugar Snap Peas

Umeboshi and Rice Salad with Pickled Ginger and Sugar Snap Peas

Lotus Root With Umeboshi Plum Sauce

Lotus Root With Umeboshi Plum Sauce

Pickled Napa Cabbage with Umeboshi Plums

Pickled Napa Cabbage with Umeboshi Plums

Peking Style Rotisserie Half Duck with Kona Confit Duck Stir-Fry Cashew Rice and Umeboshi Plum Sauce (Emeril Lagasse)

Produce Superstars: Loving Those Humble Beets

Red, orange, yellow. Raw, roasted, boiled, pickled. However you like them, it’s clear that beets have come into their own. I can think of few soups more satisfying on a chilly day than a hearty borscht, nor more elegant in steamy summer than a cold soup of puréed beets (my recipes are after the jump). Roasted, they’re a star in high end restaurants, often paired with arugula and goat cheese. Pickled, they are a staple on Southern tables, and (I’ve heard) often served on hamburgers in Australia (those Aussies!). When I cooked in a French restaurant, we used to grate peeled raw beets, then dress them with a lively mustard vinaigrette, as one part of a composed salad. In the photo above, we prepared beets (along with sliced red onions) for roasting by peeling and cutting them into one-inch pieces. We tossed them with olive oil, mirin, blood orange balsamic vinegar, and a little salt and pepper, then covered and roasted them in a 425º F oven for about an hour. Then we uncovered them, stirred, and roasted them for 20-30 minutes more. Another method is to wrap whole beets individually in foil and roast in a hot oven until a knife inserted slips easily through. This could take 50 minutes, or it could take 90 minutes or more depending on the size of the beets and the efficiency of your oven. Unwrap the beets and, with luck, the peels should slip off pretty easily. When buying beets, try to find those with fresh-looking leaves and stems. When boiled, steamed or stir fried, beet greens make an earthy and humble dish all on their own.


A hearty, warming soup for winter. Yield: 6 servings

1/2 head of cabbage, cored and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

1 cup chopped tomato, canned or fresh

6 cups water or vegetable stock

8 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup warm water until soft, stems cut off, then thinly sliced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar or to taste

2 tablespoons mirin or to taste

1 small bunch fresh dill (leafy parts only) coarsely chopped

Garnish: sour cream, yogurt or tofu sour cream (optional).

1. Preheat oven to 400º F. Wash beets, trim ends and put in a baking pan with 1/2 inch of water. Cover with foil and place pan on lower shelf of the oven and roast about an hour or until beets are tender (knife inserted goes through easily). Remove from oven, peel and cut into large dice.

2. While beets are roasting, bring the water or stock to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, nutritional yeast, mirin and the shiitake mushrooms and soaking liquid. Simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add the cabbage, the beets, umeboshi vinegar and simmer 5-10 minutes more or until cabbage is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding soy sauce, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in a small handful of chopped, fresh dill.

4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream, yogurt or tofu sour cream and a sprinkling of additional chopped fresh dill.


Beets just seem to pair well with citrus. Excellent served warm or chilled. 4-5 servings.

6 medium beets (about 1 1/2 lbs.), roasted

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional

1/2 cup orange juice concentrate

fresh juice of one orange

2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the garnish: tofu sour cream, yogurt or sour cream, sniped fresh chives.

2. While the beets are roasting, make the broth by combining the water, carrot, onion, garlic, soy sauce and nutritional yeast in a soup pot, adding a small pinch of salt and black pepper. Simmer 25-30 minutes. Cool partially so that you can handle it safely.

3. Peel the roasted beets, chop and combine with the broth. Puree in a blender in batches until completely smooth. Check seasoning. Chill or return to the stove to gently reheat (do not boil). Garnish as above.

Home pickles made easy–and delicious

Yes, you can (preserve your own peppers). All photos by April McGreger

Judging from the first canning-equipment display I’ve ever seen at my local health-food store, home canning is undergoing a revival. Let us not forget, though, that long before Ball and Kerr were churning out jars, food preservation was a common practice. Traditional cultures all over the world preserved much of the food needed for the winter through lactic-acid fermentation. Sauerkraut, kimchi, grape leaves, cucumbers, turnips, green tomatoes, peppers, corn, and many, many more vegetables were commonly preserved through this process.

Of all methods of preserving, lacto-fermentation is the most magical. At its simplest, it is just vegetables and salt. This provides the right conditions for nature to take its course. The salt slows the decomposition of the vegetables briefly until the sugars in the vegetables are broken down by friendly lactobacilli and converted into lactic acid to preserve the vegetables for many months.

Thinking about real, lacto-fermented pickles makes my mouth water. There is no substitute for their complex and nuanced taste. I was born into sweet pickle territory, however, and grew up on bread and butters and apple cider vinegar-y okra pickles. Though delicious as well, that&rsquos not what I am talking about here. Here we are talking about the artisanal crafted, slightly unpredictable, real thing.

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Not-so-classic dill pickles: just add chiles. My first encounter with real, garlicky, brined pickles was at the all-you-can-eat pickle bars of Jewish delis. Since then, my love of pickles has led me on pickle eating field trips to the Russian community of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where they serve massive slabs of whole pickled watermelon, to Japan, where I ate pickled umeboshi plum, daikon radish and burdock root for breakfast alongside bowls of rice and miso soup. I&rsquove also discovered some hidden fermenting traditions in my own region as well, such as the Appalachian tradition of pickling whole ears of corn on the cob, which has roots in Native American food ways, and the grape leaf pickles found around Winston-Salem, N.C., most likely connected to the Moravian settlement there.

This is the perfect time of year to try your hand at fermented vegetables. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler and temperatures are on the decline. However, harvests are still coming in. When fermentation temperatures rise above the low seventies, yeasts and mold growth on the surface of the pickles are more aggressive. Cucumbers, the vegetable most synonymous with pickles, prefer cooler summer temperatures and are plentiful at my market right now. Another of my favorite vegetables to ferment is peppers, and this is high pepper season. A fermented hot sauce has a sophisticated lingering flavor and not just heat. It might be bad news for the hot sauce business, but once you&rsquove made a homemade, fermented version, you may never buy another bottle of the stuff. Fermented sweet peppers are delicious on sandwiches, chopped into salads, tossed in a stir fry, and just about anywhere you choose to apply them.

If you want more information about this type of pickling, there is tons to explore. Unfortunately, there&rsquos a lot of misinformation as well. I highly recommend Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, and The Joy of Pickling by Linda Zeidrich.

Before you begin, there are a couple of important things to remember when fermenting vegetables. First, be absolutely certain that your vegetables are fully submerged beneath the brine and sufficiently weighted down. If an errant cucumber is sticking out of the brine and exposed to air, yeast and mold are likely to flourish. Check your pickles regularly and immediately skim off any growth that does occur.

Yeast and mold are much more difficult to combat at warmer temperatures, which is why, along with the necessity of putting food by for winter months, fermentation is traditionally done in the fall. Temperatures between about 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit make the best pickles, but with careful monitoring I have successfully fermented at temperatures up to 80 degrees.

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In quite a pickle: not just for cukes Many traditional pickle makers believe that pickles need to be made when the moon is waning, so you might want to consult your lunar calendars as well.

Once fermented, the pickles will keep in your refrigerator for up to a year so long as they remain submerged in the brine.

Below, instead of giving you a specific recipe for fermenting pickles, I have attempted to give you a general guide and a ratio for brine that you can adapt endlessly. The saltier your brine, the longer your fermentation will take and the more sour your pickle will be. Below you will find my most commonly used ratio for brine. However, you can successfully cut the salt in half and still have pickling success. Your pickles will be not get as sour and will pickle in about half to three quarters of the time. This is how the half sour pickle of Jewish delis is made.

Lacto-fermented Pickles 101

The following guide will make two quarts of fermented vegetables. If you want to make 12 quarts of pickles, simply multiply everything by a factor of six.

Necessary Equipment: a stoneware crock a food grade plastic bucket or other nonreactive container to hold your pickles, such as a large glass jar a measuring cup and measuring spoons and either a plate that will fit snuggly inside the rim of your container or two plastic Ziploc bags large enough to cover the surface of your pickling crock.

Ingredients: 2 pounds cucumbers or about 2 quarts of other vegetables, such as quartered green tomatoes green or wax beans thinly sliced carrots or beets small peppers or pepper strips

Brine: 3 Tablespoons fine sea salt 1 quart filtered water.

Suggested herbs and spices:

Garlic is a must in my opinion &ndash 5-6 cloves, crushed, sliced, or chopped per quart of brine
Dill &ndash a handful of dill heads or fronds per quart of brine
Black Peppercorns &ndash 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns per quart of brine
Mustard Seed &ndash 1/2 teaspoon per quart
Chile peppers &ndash dried or fresh, 1-2 per quart of brine, or more if you dare
Bay leaves &ndash 1 per quart of brine

For crunchier pickles &ndash add a few grape or sour cherry leaves per quart of brine.

**A note on other spices — The sky is the limit with how you spice your pickle. My advice is to choose no more than three predominant, complimentary flavors that you want to accent in your pickle. I almost always use garlic. Try an Asian spiced pickle with Sichuan peppercorns and ginger, or a Mexican spiced pickle with jalapenos, cumin, and oregano. Mixed pickling spice gives pickles a spicier, old fashioned flavor. Create your own pickle based on your own favorite herbs and spices, such as horseradish, fennel, celery, basil, tarragon, or curry powder.

Pick a peck–then pickle ’em. Method:

In a clean crock or other pickling vessel, layer your well washed vegetables and spices. Leave about 4 inches at the top of your crock. Prepare your brine with cold, filtered water. Whisk well to completely dissolve the salt and pour the brine over your vegetables. The brine should just cover your vegetables.

Next, you need to weight down your vegetables to keep them fully submerged in the brine. You can do this by using a plate that just fits inside your crock, thus creating a seal, and weighting that plate down with a well-scrubbed, large rock or several quart jars that have been filled with water.

Alternately, you can use a plastic bag filled with brine to act as both a weight and a seal. I often use this method. Fit a heavy 1-gallon plastic freezer bag inside another (for larger than 2 gallon crocks, I use the 2 &frac12 gallon bags). Fill the inner bag with a salt brine of 3 tablespoons salt to 1 quart of water and tightly close both bags to prevent leaks. Place on top of the pickles, making sure it fits tightly around the inner edge of the crock. It acts as an airtight weight on top of the vegetables, which will discourage the growth of yeast and scum. Store the crock in a cool place (60° to 75°F). Liquid may bubble and seep from the pickles as they ferment, so place the crock on a tray to contain any overflow. Now that’s hot

Your pickles will take about 4-10 days to complete fermentation, depending on the temperature of fermentation and the concentration of salt in your brine. Cooler temperatures and saltier brines slow fermentation. You will know that fermentation is complete when bubbles are no longer rising to the surface of your pickles and they have a fresh, tart smell. Taste the brine. If the saltiness is not balanced with sourness, you can let your pickles continue to ferment another day or two.

Truly Sensational Hot Sauce:

Ferment hot peppers, adding garlic for spicing, if you wish. Turn your fermented hot peppers into hot sauce by simply stemming and pureeing them. Be sure to wear gloves when handling hot peppers. If you want a thinner sauce, strain. Bottled sauce will keep all year in the refrigerator.

Watch the video: Παντζάρια τουρσί Pickled beetroot english subtitles (December 2021).