Preserving the Harvest :: Miso Pickles

Hello!

The Walking to Spring CSA started this week and I couldn’t be happier to a refrigerator full of fresh produce. Let us know how your thoughts on this session – we would love to hear from you!

I wanted to share with you a preservation technique that you may find fun and useful. It is called Misozuke, which is a Japanese miso-cultured pickle. It is really easy and you only need a couple ingredients – miso and veggies. See below to learn more!

Basics
This is a pretty simple process but there are a few key steps to keep in mind:

  • Create a miso-doko: this is the miso pickling paste. You can use any type of miso you have on hand – white and red are the most common. You can use one type or mix together various types. You can add a little sake and/or mirin which will loosen it up and make it easier to submerge the vegetables (I think I will try this next time). Some recipes add other flavorings at this point, such as ginger and garlic.
  • Prepare your vegetables: you could probably use just about any vegetable but turnips, Daikon, kohlrabi and celery are the ones I have seen most often. I am sure broccoli, carrots, scallions and even the stems from your greens would work great. You can cut your vegetables any size but most are sliced about 1/2″ thick or cut into matchstick sized pieces. Whatever size you choose, be sure they are evenly sized so they ferment at the same rate.
  • Layer miso-doko and vegetables: you can do this in just about any kitchen vessel – a dinner plate, food storage container or even canning jars. You can spread a layer of miso in the bottom of the container, lay the prepared vegetables on top, and top them with more miso. If you loosened the miso, you may be able to just push the vegetables in the mixture. Some recipes I have found will place cheesecloth on either side of the vegetables to make it easier to get them out but I didn’t bother with that step.
  • Ferment: you have a choice to ferment on the counter at room temperature, in the refrigerator or a combination of the two. Some people will keep the mixture at room temperature for a day and then transfer to the refrigerator for the remaining time. If you decide to keep it in the refrigerator the whole time, as I did, it may take longer to reach a desired outcome.
  • Taste daily: this process is entirely new to me so I can’t provide a great guideline on how long it will take. Some recipes ferment for just a day while others leave it for two weeks. Taste a small piece everyday and simply remove them when they are to your liking.

Other Resources
I recommend checking out the links below to get an idea of the process others use to make these pickles. They are all a bit different but you can gleam a little from each one.

Leftover Miso
You can use the miso bed over and over as long as you like the flavor – some say up to 10 times. Once it loses flavor, however, there are plenty of ways to get use out of it.

  • Tekka: I am fascinated by this savory condiment made by cooking down miso and ground root vegetables. You can find a recipe and learn more about it here and here.
  • Miso-Sesame Dressing: this probably won’t be as full flavored as compared to using fresh miso but still a great option none-the-less.
    • Ingredients: 6 tablespoons water, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 7 teaspoons red miso, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1-1/2 teaspoons honey, 1 (2-inch) piece ginger – peeled and chopped coarse, 1 small garlic clove – chopped coarse, 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • Direction: Process all ingredients except canola and sesame oil in a blender until finely chopped, about 15 seconds. With the blender running, add oils in steady stream until incorporated, then continue to process until smooth, about 15 seconds. Can be refrigerated for a week.
  • Simple Miso Soup: add a little of the miso paste to a cup and pour boiling water over, stirring to combine. Top with sliced scallions and enjoy.

Radish Miso Pickles
makes about 1/2 cup finished pickles

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white miso
  • 4-5 French or globe radishes, sliced 1/2″ thick or cut into small wedges

Directions:

  • Place 1/4 cup of the miso in a thin layer on the bottom of a glass food storage container. Place the radishes in a single layer on top of the miso. Spread the remaining miso on top of the radishes. Cover and place in the refrigerator until done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s