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Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, China, India, and Beyond Hardcover – June 10, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (June 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607744767
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607744764
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

One of the most ancient forms of preservation, fermentation transforms raw ingredients into wholly new and unique foods. Americans readily recognize dill pickles and sauerkraut, and increasing numbers have learned to appreciate Japan’s pickled ginger as a palate-clearing condiment for sushi, as well as the astonishingly pungent, tongue-searing kimchi, Korea’s cabbage, garlic, and chili national dish. Other Asian pickles that may be less familiar to Westerners include India’s myriad chutneys, with their sweet and hot spices, and China’s preserved eggs. From Southeast Asia comes a homemade version of the very popular sriracha now present on so many tables worldwide. For true fans of fermented dishes, Solomon gives instructions for pickling fresh squid but warns that their odors can linger. Canning aficionados need beware that Asian pickles’ delicacy and low acidity render them poor candidates for canning’s high temperatures. A glossary helps demystify some less common or obscure (to the Western palate) ingredients. --Mark Knoblauch


“I love this book! Karen Solomon has spent years exploring the remarkably varied pickling styles of Asia. This is among the very best books I’ve encountered on pickling, and it goes beyond pickling itself with recipes for foods used in or served with pickles. Karen’s descriptions of technique are clear and crisp, and her personal tone made me feel as if she were whispering encouragement in my ear.”
-Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation

“In this culinary passport to Asia, Karen Solomon helps you discover the delicate flavors and complex spices of pickles you didn’t know existed. A delicious roadmap for pickle lovers everywhere!”
-Lauryn Chun, author of The Kimchi Cookbook

“With this book, Karen Solomon has forever updated the American pickle canon. Featuring both truly traditional Asian pickles and her varied and inspiring adaptations, it is required reading for all home preservers.” 
-Marisa McClellan, creator of Food In Jars

More About the Author

Karen Solomon has been a well-published food writer for over a decade. In addition to the Asian Pickles series of ebooks and print book, she's author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It (Ten Speed Press/Random House). Her work has appeared in, Fine Cooking, Prevention, Yoga Journal, Vegetarian Times, Food52, Organic Style, the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Magazine, the SF Bay Guardian, and elsewhere.

Karen also works as a culinary tour guide for Edible Excursions, showing off the best food in San Francisco. She's also a frequent instructor of canning, pickles, jams, and other techniques of food preservation. Catch her teaching videos online anytime at

Television appearances include Bay Area Backroads, Check, Please! Bay Area, and The Big Dish. Karen is also a fan favorite in the Chow!Tips video series on

Karen has presented as a guest speaker at Boston University's Gastronomy Program (September, 2011) and at the 2009 Epicurean Classic in Michigan. She's the former organizer and host of the Jam It Salon, a quarterly DIY "show and taste" at 18 Reasons (2009-2011) and a former organizer and host of the Baby Food Swap (2010). She has served as a judge for both the Eat Real Festival and the Good Food Awards.

Karen's culinary influences come from a variety of sources. While teaching English in Japanese schools and traveling throughout Asia, she had ample time to learn the satisfaction and simplicity of Japanese home cooking. And from the time she could stand on a stool and stir, Karen always enjoyed cooking alongside her mother to make chicken soup, kugel, stuffed cabbage, and other comfort foods of her Eastern European heritage. Most recently, Karen's cooking has become more project-based and crafty, taking on homemade, improved flavors where mass production tends to dominate. She is dedicated to food preservation, as well as eating locally, sustainably, seasonally, and supporting a judicious and delicious food system.

Karen currently resides in San Francisco's Mission district with her partner, her sons, and an equally food-obsessed dachshund, Mabel.

Customer Reviews

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Some great recipes.
Lucy Ashes
I love the sweet, vinegary, salty, intense-ness of all things pickled.
I Do the Speed Limit
Simple easy to follow direction that turned out fabulous.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love pickled things. I love the sweet, vinegary, salty, intense-ness of all things pickled. I love how it gives a longer life to produce from my sweat-and-tears-drenched veggie gardens. I do not like canned pickles--my summertime kitchen is way too hot for the process. I also can not do fermented pickles: The temperatures needed are just not available in the area where I live.

That leaves me with "quickles" as the author fondly refers to the majority of the pickling recipes in this book.

I have more than my far share of pickling books on my cookbook shelves. Most of them are from authors whose backgrounds are colored by American and European ancestors--and they lean towards canning. Of course, I find a few quick pickle recipes, refrigerator pickles and freezer pickles mixed in with the properly canned pickles. But, definitely not enough to have caused me to quit my search for pickle recipes. So, I was happy to stumble upon this book!

Yes, I have noticed--because my eyes are wide open, always--that there are pickle recipes in almost all of my oriental cookbooks. But, being the fanatic that I am, there were never enough.

Until now. Now, I have a pickle cookbook that rounds out my collection of pickling cookbooks: Truly, a must-have.

So, here are my observations. And I will try to limit my exuberance, because I know that not everyone is going to be as excited about this book as I am:

The author offers alternative instructions for special equipment and alternative ingredients whenever possible. She includes an ingredient dictionary at the back and also lists suppliers, helpful websites, other cookbooks and a measurement conversion chart.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andrew'sMom on July 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have never been a pickle person. I think it all stems from when I was around ten years old and I had the mumps. Helen Keller could see I had the mumps, but my old Czechoslovakian grandmother told my mother "if it hurts when she swallows a dill pickle - she has the mumps". Linda Lovelace would have a problem swallowing a dill pickle.

I have shunned pickles from that day forward. That being said, I loved pickled foods - onions, ginger, garlic.
When you add pickled red onions to a burger, it's gourmet. Pickled daikon and carrots on a Vietnamese fish sandwich - so good -- recently had that sandwich in a restaurant in San Francisco.

This book is so much more than a cookbook. It's a wealth of information on pickling covering Japan, Korea, China, India and "beyond" -- I always wondered what exactly was in the "beyond" department. In Asian Pickles I think the author means Southeast Asia.

Sweet, sour, salty, cured and fermented preserves - right on the front page! All my favorites.

I've started my five-spice pickled three days - I'll let you know how they are - they smell great already! Today I'm going to pickle some garlic - that will be ready in 6 to 7 months. If you want some instant gratification you can make Hot Pickled Pineapple and Peanuts - ready in 1 and 1/2 hours and looks and sounds great - doesn't it?

There are loads of unique recipes in this book (as least to me - thousand slices turnips) and a plethora of information about pickling but also included are recipes for chile-black bean oil, XO sauce, chutneys and "beyond"!

I'm very pleased with this book and look forward to exploring more in the world of pickling and international flavors.

This book was provided by Blogging for Books.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. Townsend on June 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
ASIAN PICKLES: SWEET, SOUR, SALTY, CURED, AND FERMENTED PRESERVES FROM KOREA, JAPAN, CHINA, INDIA, AND BEYOND by Karen Solomon is much more than a cookbook as there's much trivia included and humor too! It's a very enjoyable read!

A few months ago, my boss shared some yellow squash and zucchini from his garden that he had pickled. They were too delicious for words! I resolved right there and then to delve into pickling myself and was thrilled to find this book offered for review at Net Galley. I've now read it and tried some of the recipes and am HOOKED!

First, I'm thrilled to share that the recipes include NO preservatives, artificial colors or flavorings, and other nasties. The book is segregated by geographical area: Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia. Each area includes an introduction where the author describes her experience and thoughts on the pickling offerings there along with basic regional styles and preparation and serving tips. One example of valuable tips is in working with garlic where the author shares how to best peel it via an online video and how to remove garlic smell from your hands utilizing a piece of metal. Neither were tips I'd ever heard previously! Another great tip was how to crack cardamom pods to make cardamom tea. AND still another that I found useful was how to shave fresh coconut.

Pickling has a long history. The author relates that in 1970, a two-thousand-year-old tomb of a woman buried in her kitchen during the Han dynasty was uncovered in a fascinating archaeological find. The tomb contained dozens of ingredients, cooking tools, and cooking instructions - and PICKLES aplenty in crocks.

The author answered another question for me: The difference between a pickle and a chutney...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews