I’ll be honest- my first experience of eating ginger with sushi was not good. But eventually, I started enjoying the combination!
Do you eat ginger with sushi? Eating ginger with sushi in a pickled form is a very common norm. It is almost a must-have with sushi for cleaning the palate, especially if you’re having many different types of sushi. Ginger is eaten with sushi to be able to distinguish between the flavors of different sushi.
You need to have some background knowledge about it to be able to eat the spicy ginger root in the correct way.
Here I’ll cover topics on how and why it is eaten, where and when it was consumed first, and some more topics.
Eating Sushi With Ginger on the Side
The use of ginger can be traced back to ancient China where it was used as a form of medicine. It wasn’t until the 11th century that sushi was first mentioned in literature.
At this time, people started eating pickled ginger with their sushi to cleanse their palettes.
The practice of eating pickled ginger with sushi is thought to have started in the Edo period Japan. At this time, sushi was a street food that was sold by vendors.
The pickled ginger was used as a way to cleanse your palate between different types of sushi.
Now, eating pickled ginger with sushi is a common practice all over the world. Many people believe that it is essential to the sushi experience.
Why Eat and Serve Ginger With Sushi?
Ginger is eaten and served with sushi for the following reasons:
- People would stop by sushi Yatai (street stands) to eat sushi during the Edo period. Because there was nowhere to wash one’s hands before grabbing sushi, people would wet their fingers with Gari (pickled ginger with soy sauce) to avoid rice sticking to one’s dry fingers.
- Before refrigerators became common, the antibacterial effect of ginger was effective in protecting against bacteria found in raw fish.
- And the main reason to eat ginger with sushi is to clean the palate.
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How to Eat Ginger With Sushi?
The ginger that is eaten with sushi is actually pickled ginger root. It is traditionally eaten in a pickled form rather than raw. This ginger pickle is a type of tsukemono and is named ‘Gari’.
Gari is usually pink in color but also comes in yellow or off-white. It is made by slicing young ginger roots and then pickling them in a solution of vinegar and sugar.
The pickled ginger root is then eaten with sushi as a way to cleanse your palate between different types of sushi.
It is also eaten to refresh your mouth after eating wasabi or other strong flavors. Gari is also eaten in small slices or diced into tiny pieces.
Some people may want to use it on top of their sushi. There is nothing harmful in this. But it is not the correct way to eat ginger with sushi.
If ginger is eaten together with sushi it will ruin the flavors of the sushi because ginger has a strong taste. Eating palate cleansers with something overpowers the taste of the ingredient in the main dish.
Again, some people have been seen to wrap strips of pickled ginger with their sushi. This is considered embarrassing.
So, in short, the main points for how to eat ginger with sushi are:
- Eat ginger with sushi as a palate cleanser.
- To be able to distinguish flavors, eat it in between having different types of sushi.
- Eat sushi, then take a bite of gari, or pickled ginger, and then have another sushi of a different flavor.
- Never eat ginger rolled, stuffed, or topped on sushi, only have it separately in between.
- Try not to add ginger by yourself and let the chef do it.
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The Benefits of Eating Ginger With Sushi
- Pickled ginger root is a good source of antioxidants. These are substances that can protect your cells from damage. They can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Pickled ginger root is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
- Eating ginger roots can also help to improve your digestion. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. It can also help to relieve stomach cramps and indigestion.
- Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. They can be found in some pickled ginger roots.
- Gingerols are the compounds in ginger that give it its spicy flavor. These compounds can also help to reduce inflammation and pain in the body.
- May Reduce exercise-induced pain.
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The Cons of Eating Ginger With Sushi
- It can overpower the flavors of the sushi.
- If you are not used to eating ginger, it can be quite spicy.
- Pickled ginger can be high in sugar and calories, depending on different brands. If you are trying to watch your weight, then you need to be careful with how much-pickled ginger you eat.
- Too much may cause diarrhea, heartburn, and nausea.
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How Is Ginger Prepared for Eating With Sushi?
For eating with sushi, ginger is pickled which is known as gari. The recipe of gari is given below:
- Use fresh and young ginger roots, the older the fibrous.
- Peel, wash, and cut into very thin slices using a knife or peeler.
- Allow the ginger to soak in salt for 5 minutes. Pour boiling water over the ginger and set aside for 2 minutes.
- Remove the ginger from the water and squeeze off any excess liquid. Set aside to drain some more on a paper towel.
- Make the pickling liquid.
- Fill your sterile jars with ginger.
- On top, pour the pickling liquid. Allow the jar to cool for 30 minutes on your kitchen bench before placing it in the refrigerator.
- Choose glass jars with an airtight metal lid that have been hand washed in hot soapy water and well rinsed.
- Make sure the metal lids don’t contain any rubber inserts.
- Preheat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius (270 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake the jars for 15-20 minutes.
Recipe Source: itsnotcomplicatedrecipes.com
Conclusion: Do You Eat Ginger With Sushi?
The first time I ate ginger with sushi, I also had sushi for the first time. There was this pink substance that I had no idea was pickled ginger.
Only after eating did I understand it was ginger, but I had no idea why it was there and didn’t like the taste.
Later on, however, I began to appreciate eating ginger with sushi. Furthermore, it is a must-have when eating various varieties of sushi so that you can fully experience all of the flavors.
Ginger is a crucial element of a sushi meal because of all the advantages it provides, but learning how to consume it properly is as important.