Acharazuke: Turnip and Persimmon Pickles

by Megg

Post image for Acharazuke: Turnip and Persimmon Pickles
Hi there! Welcome to my very first post! Be sure to check out the “About” page for some info about me and PopArtichoke.
I was hoping to have something mind-blowing and amazing for my debut post, but frankly, I don’t know exactly what that means, so I’m just going to jump right in! I’m always cooking and taking photos (and for the blog I’m going to try to take more photos of the process, rather than just the finished product). I’m really into Asian food lately, especially Japanese, probably due to my bento box making (more on that later). So let’s get started with some Japanese-style pickles, shall we?
Tsukemono is the Japanese word for pickled foods. You’ll find a lot of these in Japanese cuisine, often as a condiment or side dish. In the past I’ve made cucumber pickles, but never anything sweeter. Acharazuke refers to tsukemono made with chiles and sweetened vinegar, and in this recipe, the persimmons provide the required sweetness. A while ago I’d found this recipe for turnip and persimmon acharazuke over on Tess’ Japanese Kitchen but never got around to making it. Then, a week or so ago, I found some lovely turnips at a local farmers’ market, and got a-picklin!

Acharazuke: Turnip Persimmon Pickles
–adapted from Tess’ Japanese Kitchen
serves 3 to 4
-12 oz turnips
-1 tsp salt
-about 3 oz dried persimmons (a very generous 1/4 cup, chopped)
-2 dried chile peppers (remember to remove the seeds and membranes!)
-1 tbsp rice vinegar (or more if the persimmons are really dry)
1. Wash and peel the turnips, and cut into matchsticks.
Chopping Turnips
2. Put turnip sticks into a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. This draws out the natural liquid. Let them sit like this for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, mix the chopped persimmons, peppers and vinegar in another bowl.
Chopped Persimmon Prep
4. When 20 minutes is up, drain the liquid from the turnips, and squeeze the life outta them to really get all the water out (but be careful not to break them, of course).
Water from Turnips
(This is a photo of the water I was able to squeeze out of the turnips.. it’s a lot more than I expected!)
5. Combine the drained turnip sticks to the persimmon mix and stir. Allow the mix to sit for at least 1 hour. (I let my pickles sit overnight (in the fridge) before eating. It definitely improved the taste and texture and allowed the flavors to combine nicely.)
We had them the next night with some panko-crusted Dover sole and a colorful veggie stir-fry.
Panko Dover Sole, Stir Fry, Acharazuke, Wasabi Ginger Dipping Sauce
© PopArtichoke 2010

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