One Friday evening, my friend forced me to a sushi parlor with a resolute resolution – making me a die-hard sushi lover like him. Well, I won’t deny the famous Japanese delicacy took me in the transport of delight; however, one thing that fascinated me most was the gorgeous pink pickled ginger sitting beautifully beside the sushi.
Sushi ginger, or pickled ginger, is a customary sushi company, enhancing the taste of sushi ten times more. However, I still wonder, why is sushi ginger pink?
The reason for “Why is Sushi ginger pink” is-
Sushi ginger, aka Gari, comes in beautiful pink color made from young ginger’s pink tips. It is fermented with vinegar and sugar that deepen the pinkish hue to a beautiful, distinct pink. However, in commercial production, chefs use beetroot juice or E124 to enhance the pink color of sushi ginger.
To know more about pink sushi gingers and the details related to this topic, dive into this article.
What Is Sushi Ginger?
In Japanese delicacy, presentation plays a prominent role in the dish. It’s not different in sushi. Have it at home or restaurants; you will see a beautifully decorated sushi plate with wasabi, sauce, and various condiments such as pink sushi ginger.
As a new sushi diner, you may ask, what is this pink ginger doing on my plate?
The pink ginger beside your sushi is sushi ginger, pickled ginger, or Gari. It’s a traditional Japanese pickle that is usually served with sushi.
This pink-colored ginger compliments the taste of the raw sushi fish even more. It is also served in pale white or ginger helps to change the taste bud in your mouth so that you can taste different sushis and enjoy every flavor individually.
In fact, people believe that this pickled ginger lets you enjoy the exact flavor of sushi by cleaning your palette.
These are very thin and almost see-through pale pink ginger seasoned and can be stored in containers in the fridge for days.
It requires more water to grow than the regular gingers. If it is dried out, it won’t attain the pink hue.
Why Is Sushi Ginger Pink?
Sushi ginger is pink to present it more traditionally.
Gari, the traditional ginger for sushi, is only picked during summertime, and the roots used to complement the sushi have a pink tint. The new roots are pink in color. Also, some wild ginger is pink or purple.
After that, the fermentation process makes the pink tint permanent as the color is absorbed. So, the authentic version of Gari is pink.
To keep the authenticity, the manufacturers also try to turn the brown gingers into pink. Even though people also use white or beige-colored ginger as it is not a mandatory rule to make the ginger pink.
But it helps the chefs to identify the rotten ginger.
Naturally, the gingers are discolored when it is spoiled. The rotting process begins when the gingers lose their pink tint and turn white. Then gradually, it turns yellow, and gingers rot completely when it turns into a brown hue. It is the reason manufacturers coat the gingers with a pink color.
So, if you’re anxious about “Why is my ginger turning pink?” then nothing to worry about. It’s probably the effect of early sprouting or merely some dye to make it look authentic.
Why Is My Sushi Ginger Red?
Red sushi ginger is known as Beni Shoga, a traditional Japanese pickle that is supposed to be red.
Umezu is a curing mix used to ferment the gingers so they can turn into a vinegary red pickle. The seasoned water is called umeboshi, which is a plum vinegar. It is also used in the pickling process.
In Japan, it is called Beni Shoga. The red color comes from the red perilla used in the recipe. But the coloring done in the factories is artificial but edible.
It goes well with Gydon, Okonomiyaki, and Yakisoba, among other traditional cuisines. Find the best red sushi gingers by clicking here.
Why Is Ginger Pink Or White?
Sushi ginger( Gari) is naturally pink because it is taken out of the soil in its early stage as a custom. The gingers slowly fade to yellowish color as the time passes. However, the sugary vinegar mixture will make the pink color permanent in 2 to 3 minutes.
This sushi garnish is sweet in flavor. The thin texture and pink hue also compliment the presentation of the dish.
The buds and edges are a bit more reddish. It is found in the Asian stores in the summertime. But you can also find it throughout the year as the color can be added artificially. Soft and tender ginger complements the flavor and look of the sushi and the raw fish inside it.
On the other hand, white ginger has unique essence and flavor. It was also produced for medicinal purposes.
White ginger is found in warm environments in China and other Asian countries. As it takes effort and is a bit tough to produce white gingers, the production is limited to commercial grounds only. This ginger is seen to be broadly used in Thai food and south Asian cuisine.
The pickling process causes it to become white or beige eventually. But one can never dye it white for cooking purposes.
What’s The Difference Between Pink Ginger And White?
The seasoning and acids play a vital role in the color-shifting process of the pickled gingers. However, one can add the color artificially.
To make it more presentable and authentic, restaurants use dyed gingers to garnish the sushis.
The white ginger is more affordable and accessible than the red or the pink ones. Another difference is that you can add food color to dye the pink sushi gingers, but you can’t do that with white ones. Usually, the artificial colors are E124, an edible red color that later turns the white gingers into pink-hued ones.
Pink ginger is mainly used for sushi garnish. On the other hand, white gingers do not go with sushis. You should avoid white gingers in sushi and use the punk or red ones. Moreover, pink gingers are rich in anthocyanin.
How To Make Pickled Ginger
The pickled ginger is known as Amazu Shoga. You’ll need ginger roots, sea salt, rice vinegar, and white sugar to make this. An easy recipe to pickle pink gingers is given below.
- Chop 8 ounces of gingers, add one and a half tsp of sea salt and mix it well. Keep it for 30 minutes, and pour the mixture into an airtight jar. A mason jar is a good choice for pickled ginger.
- Add 1 cup of rice vinegar and sugar to a pan and boil until it melts. Then pour it into the jar of ginger roots.
- Let it cool for a bit and airtight the whole thing. The ginger will turn into a pink color. Store it in the fridge.
- Serve it with sushi, sashimi, and other seafood of your liking by cutting it into thin slices.
However, if you don’t want to make pickled ginger, you can get them easily at the store. Here are a few of them that you can use to enhance the sushi flavor.
- What are the health benefits of pink ginger?
Gingers are beneficial for the immunity system.
Ginger warms the body and fights all kinds of flu. It works as a medicine for cough and cold. It contains powerful germ-fighting elements that help prevent illness and protect your stomach and colon from various diseases.
It’s a delicious and effective way to avoid raw seafood plasma infections. It also acts as an antioxidant.
- Is it safe to eat sushi ginger?
You need to eat gingers while having sushis because sushi contains raw fish. And the gingers help it to digest the fish and protect it from fungal infections in the stomach.
- What is blue Ginger?
There are a variety of gingers, and blue gingers are one of them. It is rare Indian ginger that might have lost over time. However, round blue lines can be visible in beige gingers.
- How long does pickled ginger last?
The pickled gingers should be stored in the freezer. If not preserved well, the ginger pickles might turn blue as it gets spoiled.
The anthocyanin breaks down gradually. So, the young roots get spoiled easily and turn into green or blue color as a result of this acidic element’s existence.
Even though it is completely safe to eat, this form of green or blue ginger is said to have a much softer and less pungent flavor.
- Why is my pickled ginger not turning pink?
The natural pickling process might take time to turn the gingers into pink color. However, it will fade gradually into yellow and then turn into brown.
In the end, we can say that sushi ginger is a delicacy for the classic sushi dish as it elevates the flavor and increases the food value. It also protects from raw fish infection hazards.
However, “why is sushi ginger pink?” – is a question that will always be present.
The reason can be fake or natural. Usually, the young pinkish ginger gets a permanent deep pink color while preserved with vinegar and sugar. Artificially, you can use beet juice to get the color.
But why pink, not white or brown? Consider it an inflexible tradition of Japanese food culture!