Japanese Style Pickles


  • 1 lb zucchini, sliced very thin (other options: radishes & ginger)
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced very thin
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp crushed yellow and/or brown mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar

Special Equipment

  • Japanese pickle maker
  • pint or half-pint canning jars
  • mandoline for cutting vegetables


  1. Wash and trim the zucchini, then slice them one-sixteenth-inch thick; a mandoline works best.  Slice the onion very thin as well
  2. Combine the zucchini and onions in a large but shallow nonreactive bowl, add the salt and toss to distribute. Add a few ice cubes and cold water to cover, then stir to dissolve the salt. Alternatively, as demonstrated in the video, transfer the salted zucchini and onion slices to a Japanese pickle maker and screw down the top; do not add any water or ice cubes.  Let sit 1 hour
  3. Combine the vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric in a small saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside until just warm to the touch. (If the brine is too hot, it will cook the vegetables and make the pickles soft instead of crisp)
  4. After about 1 hour, taste and feel a piece of zucchini — it should be slightly softened. Drain liquid and pat dry
  5. Return zucchini to a dry bowl and pour over the cooled brine. Stir to distribute the spices
  6. Transfer the pickle to jars, preferably ones that have “shoulders” to hold the zucchini and onions beneath the surface of the brine. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors to mellow and permeate the zucchini, turning them a brilliant chartreuse color
  7. Recommend serving with hot dogs, fish, in salads and with charcuterie
  8. Will last 1 week refrigerated