In the U.S., if you say “pickles,” one thinks of thin slices pressed between the buns of a hamburger or a sandwich, or crunchy spears served beside a burger and a pile of fries, or bits chopped up and heaped on hot dogs as a relish. While I always enjoy a few sour, crunchy pickles on my cheeseburger, American pickles aren’t really something I’d eat on their own as a snack.
But tsukemono. My god, tsukemono.
What is Tsukemono?
Tsukemono is the word for Japanese pickles. Tsuke is the word for “pickling” and mono is the word for “thing” (think of the word kimono, in which ki (“don” or “wear”) and mono (“thing”) basically mean a thing you wear).
Pickling vegetables and fruit has long been a tradition in Japan as the best way to preserve food in the absence of refrigerators. Perhaps more importantly, though, it serves as a quiet but key role…
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