Sushi Ginger (Gari)

Made famous in sushi bars “gari” with its sweet heat acts as a palate cleanser. Go outside sushi box and serve it between bites of steamed rice or noodle dishes.

Bonus! The brine is a divine spicy sauce to add sparkle to crisp-steamed veggies and myriad other dishes.

Most commercial brands of gari are made of inferior ingredients and lack live culture. This recipe is uncooked, alive and remains long-term in the fridge.

Gari is transformed into a fresh pickle indirectly, by secondary fermentation using live-cultured condiments. Use unpasteurized soy sauce or brown rice vinegar, which can be  found at health food stores.

Sushi Ginger (Gari) – Makes 1 Pint

Look for ginger that is plump, smooth-skinned, and shiny. Dry and withered pieces will
not work.

Gari Ingredients - Maple Syrup

ginger, (14 oz., 3 cups), peeled, thinly shaved*

sherry, dry, 1/2 cup (or mirin, a Japanese sweet wine)

water, filtered,  1/2 cup

maple syrup, 3 TBS., or agave nectar

brown rice vinegar, 1/4 cup (or rice wine vinegar) [brown rice vinegar is more full bodied and can be sourced as raw. 

 soy sauce,  2 TBS.

beet slice (opt.) to produce a pink coloring


  1. Make a temporary brine of 2 TBS. salt and 2 cups filtered water. (This can be plain table salt).
  2. Peel the ginger and slice very thinly across the ginger fingers. Note: the success of gari is in the wafer thinness of each slice. See tool resource at bottom for a tool that really works!
  3. Soak ginger in brine for 90 min. Then rinse several times and drain. Discard the brine.
  4. Make up a new brine of the wine, water, sweetener, vinegar, and soy sauce.Ready to pack pickling vessel
  5. Add a beet slice to bottom of a one pint, wide-mouth canning jar. Add sliced ginger, tamping lightly as you go all the way to the top.

Add the brine to cover the ginger and right up to the lip of the jar. Seal and leave at room temperature for 4 days. Then refrigerate.

*I use a mandoline slicer to ensure razor thin slices. mandolin slicer - KyoceraA like the “Kyocera Double Edged Mandolin Slicer,” and retails for about $20. Easy to locate using a web search.

Recipe adapted, original by Karen Bard

©2018 Bill Hettig,


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