Asian Pickles: Japan by Karen Solomon
Karen Solomon is known and beloved for her two previous cookbooks Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It. But for her third book, a much anticipated volume devoted to asian pickles, she is trying something a little different by releasing the book slowly in chapter-long, mini ebooks, sold for $2.99 each. Let’s take a peek at her first release, Asian Pickles: Japan, and see what it has to offer.
Currently Asian Pickles: Japan is the only volume available, but by the middle of next week (March 19 to be exact) you will also be able to pick up the second release, Asian Pickles: Korea. Soon to follow are Asian Pickles: India and Asian Pickles: China. In March of 2014, the entire book will be available in print form.
• Who published it: 10 Speed Press
• Number of recipes: 16
• Recipes for right now: Pickled Ginger (Gari), “Thousand Sliced” Turnips (Senmaizuke), Pickled Mustard Greens (Takanazuke). “Sitting Fee” Cabbage Pickles, “Wasabi” Pickled Carrots.
• Other highlights: At $2.99, you really cannot go wrong with this ebook. For less than what you pay for your morning latte, you can have all the information and recipes you need to start making Japanese-style pickles at home. But a terrific price point means nothing if the book isn’t helpful, accurate, and inspiring. Luckily for us, Asian Pickles: Japan is all that and more.
The book begins with an introduction in which Ms. Solomon explains that she does not intend this to be a definitive guide. Rather, she would like us to view this as a mix-tape of her favorites: some classics, some of her own invention. She also points out that all of her pickles are devoid of preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavorings, which is not how you will always find them on grocery store shelves. She goes on to explain exactly what to expect with a Japanese pickle and how to serve them, and then dives into the basics such as the use of pickling beds, pressure, squeezing, vinegar and marinades, and an extensive list of ingredients.
Ms. Solomon offers two takes on Japanese pickles: traditional pickles and her own inspired versions using Japanese ingredients and techniques. In the traditional pickle section, you will learn how to make your own pickled ginger, umeboshi plums and vinegar, and discover the unique and delicious rice bran and miso pickles. In the “Inspired” section, Ms. Solomon introduces her own inventions, such as “Sitting Fee” Cabbage Pickles (named after the fact that you will often be charged a sitting fee at Japanese bars) and Pickled Asian Pear with Lemon.
Not every recipe comes with an accompanying photo, but there are several full-color pictures throughout. The book ends with a handy measurement conversion chart. All in all, I was really pleased and inspired by this ‘eBooklet’ and can’t wait to get a look at Asian Pickles: Korea next!
Note: You do not need an e-reader such as Kindle, Nook or iPad to read this book, but you do obviously need a computer, at the very least. Amazon offers a free app that allows you to download a Kindle reader to your computer, which is how I viewed this book.
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who is interested in an accessible, easy-to-follow guide to making your own Japanese pickles. If you have already mastered refrigerator pickles and dill pickles, and want to try something a little different, these pickles are a fun place to start! This book will appeal to beginners and experts alike and get you started on a fun pickle adventure.
• Visit Karen Solomon’s website: Karen Solomon
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.
(Image: 10 Speed Press)