Sep 3

Fridge Pickles & Tsukemono

in Bento, Fruits & Vegetables, Oyatsu/Snack, Recipes by Type

On Monday I told you that I have a new big project in the works and I gave you some hints: 18, 40, 9, spicy, tomatoes, mush. One of my readers, Semsavblanc, guessed right . . . I'm adding another Fuji to the family! I am a little over 18 weeks along out of 40. In total this "project" will take 9 months to complete. I'm craving anything spicy or that involves tomatoes, and my brain has turned to complete baby mush all over again! I've been trying to hide it, but as you can see, the news is a bit obvious:
So now that my news is out, let's turn to a topic that inevitably comes up along with pregnancy: PICKLES. I have brought this topic up before because I LOVE pickles, and crave them whether I'm pregnant or not. This is probably one of the reasons why I loved living in Japan so much. In Japan they eat many kinds of tsukemono, or "pickled things".

The tradition of making and eating tsukemono in Japan dates back at least 1,500 years when snow-covered mountain villages relied on pickles as a sole source of vegetables until they were able to grow fresh crops in warmer weather. The variety of pickles made in Japan increased over the years until in the Edo period the tsukemonoya, or "pickle shop", came into existence. Now, rarely does a meal go buy without tsukemono being served. They eat them with breakfast, lunch, dinner, as appetizers, and as snacks. Traditionally, the Japanese prepared tsukemono themselves with a tsukemonoki, or "pickle press". Now tsukemono can be bought in the supermarket, but many Japanese still make their own.
Although many recipes can be found online for free, there is a book that I've heard is excellent, Quick & Easy Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes, by Ikuko Hisamatsu, providing 73 different recipes for tsukemono. The book also includes some overall tips for pickling, and advice as to the specific equipment you will need.

So after all of this talk about tsukemono, I'm sure you're expecting a recipe right? Wrong. Well maybe not totally wrong. I recently came across a posting on The Amateur Gourmet of a recipe for Fridge Pickles. You guessed it, because of my penchant for pickles, I could not help but grab some cukes and make these. Okay, so what's the connection to tsukemono? Well these fridge pickles would make the Japanese proud. I would guess that if I served these to any of my Japanese friends that they would enjoy them just as much as the next tsukemono. They are so easy that even YOU can make them yourself and they are ready in a matter of hours. Another bonus is that these pickles are YUMMY. So yummy in fact that they will probably be making repeat appearances in the Fuji refrigerator. All that is required is for you to slice up some cukes,
mix some ingredients in a jar (I reused a 32 oz. pepperoncini jar),
add the cukes and then throw them in the fridge for a few hours to marinate!

So, without further adieu, fridge pickles:

Mom’s Fridge Pickles
From Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day

1 cup white vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dill seed (I used 1 tsp. pickling spice because I couldn't find dill see)
4 to 5 small Kirby cucumbers (Japanese or English cukes would be yummy too!), peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1 small white onion, thinly sliced

* I also added a couple sprigs of fresh dill weed

1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the cucumbers and onions in a jar and shake until sugar is dissolved
2. Add cucumbers and onions into jar and refrigerate at least 4 hours, shaking the jar occasionally to keep ingredients mixed. Pickles should keep at least a month.
Makes about 1 quart

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Meg September 3, 2008 at 5:25 pm

Congrats on the new addition!

Thanks for the recipe. The pickles look delicious and I can’t wait to try it at home. :)


The Carroll's September 3, 2008 at 5:43 pm

YAY a new baby!! Congrats!

Thanks for the recipe, I will pass it along to my sister in law who LOVES pickles just as much as you do apparently! I myself hate pickles!! AHH YUCK!


Adriana September 3, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Congratulations!! Squirrel must be excited about becoming a big sister :D


Fuji Mama September 3, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Thanks everyone!


cindy* September 3, 2008 at 10:53 pm

how great a new baby!


Lulu September 4, 2008 at 6:04 am

Congratulations! A new addition to the fuji family! Yay!

How was your first trimester? Hope all is well!

Take care

ps: The pictures of the pickles made my partner miss Japan!


Phoe September 4, 2008 at 6:37 am



Anonymous September 4, 2008 at 7:31 am

Congratulations! I too have just added a second baby to our family (jackson 6 weeks). I was wondering is there a big difference between pregnacy in the U.S vs. Japan? I mean do people throw baby showers? Do women coo at each other over the expanding baby bump? What is working while pregnant like? Were you pregnant while in Japan? Will you please write a post about this?


Jen September 4, 2008 at 8:28 am

Yahoo. A bro or sis for Squirrel! Congrats! YOu look adorable, btw.


Misha September 4, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Look at that cute tummy!


gleek September 4, 2008 at 7:23 pm

congratulations! that’s such happy news :) huzzah!


Melissa Hodgen September 4, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Congrats! You will find out soon what you’re having. Hopefully the morning sickness wasn’t too bad (that means it might be a boy). I can’t believe you did a transcontinental move in your first trimester. Having 2 kids will be a breeze after that.


Sarah September 5, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Congrats!! I love all things pickle (when I do become pregnant people are placing bets as to whether or not they’ll be on my “hated ” list LMAO). Keep that apple growin!


Hannah September 5, 2008 at 1:43 pm

I’ve been meaning to make my own pickles for the longest time but haven’t really known where to start… I’ll be sure to save this post! :)

PS: Congratulations!!


Nate-n-Annie September 5, 2008 at 3:44 pm

congratulations. I’m sure #2 will be beautiful.

We happen to have some baby cukes in our fridge, so I think I’ll be doing some tsukemono this weekend. Thanks for the prompting!

Would you use rice vinegar or mirin instead of white vinegar and sugar?


Fuji Mama September 5, 2008 at 11:23 pm

nate-n-annie, I’m sure rice vinegar would be absolutely delicious. If you go that route, I would use seasoned rice vinegar as the flavor is more flavorful. Mirin might be fun too, but you would have to play with the ratios there to get the sugar content right…you don’t want it to be too sweet, but you want it to be sweet enough!


Fuji Mama September 5, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Sarah, I wondered if anything I loved would go on a “hate” list while I was pregnant. When I was pregnant with my first nothing went on that list, and that seems to be the case again. But I think I must be the exception to the rule. :-)


Semsavblanc September 7, 2008 at 7:09 pm

I knew it!! Congratulations!
I have been suspecting this news since your hair cut. Don’t ask me why. My husband said I shouldn’t say anything on the blog (too personal) but now the news is out. How very exciting for you all. I love your little baby bump!


dianeinjapan September 7, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Oh, congratulations!

Yum, I love tsukemono! Oddly, the rest of my family doesn’t.


Shanda September 9, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Congratulations Rachel! You look so beautiful pregnant! How fun to add another one to the family! I love babies!!! Ok, so I can't wait to try some of your recipes. Here is one for you that involves salsa & a crock pot–very easy:

5 frozen chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
1 can black beans
1 small can pineapple
1 c rice

Put the chicken & salsa in the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours. Shred Chicken & add black beans, pineapple & rice–the recipe calls for minute rice, but I can't stand that stuff, so I usually use long grain or brown rice. Then let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes more. Serve on warm tortillas.

Very easy & your whole house will smell SOOO good!


Melanie Gray Augustin September 10, 2008 at 12:12 am

That belly is looking great!! I’m so excited for you!


Jhoanna September 13, 2008 at 7:31 am

Congratulations!!! You look gorgeous! Thanks for all the recipes :-)


Goldie September 13, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Congratulations on your new baby!! I LOVE pickles. My husband makes fun of me, but now he knows why. My mom used to eat them all the time while pregnant with me. And when I was pregnant with Aleena I bought a huge Costco size jar of pickles. I wonder if she’ll like them as much as I do?


Tan.wiratchada September 21, 2008 at 11:00 am

congratulations! that’s such happy news. You look beautiful pregnant! with all delicious on your blog.;)


Christine September 24, 2008 at 8:37 am

Congrats! When do you find out the flavor? Let us know.


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