Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured and Fermented Preserves by Karen Solomon is one of the most exquisite condiment and preserving books on the market today. A product (and reflection) of Solomon’s many travels throughout Asia, this book is organized into five geographic areas: Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia. It features among many other recipes, a fresh take on classic condiments and pickles such as Senmaizuke (“Thousand Slices” turnips) from Japan, several Kimchi and Banchan recipes from Korea, Chile sauces from China, Indian chutneys and the famed Fermented ‘Cock Sauce,” popular in Southeast Asian cuisine.
While you may find this book in the canning section of your local bookstore, Solomon notes in her introduction that most of the recipes featured in the book are not designed for long-term shelf storage. At first, to the ardent home canner like me, this may come across as a disappointing admission from the author. Solomon notes that the pickles and condiments included in this book are meant to be consumed within a few days and warns her readers that their refrigerators may soon become overcrowded with jars filled with delicious pickles and condiments. That’s a good problem to have when you’re into pickling and preserving. The fact that the recipes in Asian Pickles cannot be stored for long-term just gives me one more reason to continue experimenting using the condiments and pickles in my daily cooking.
With a beautifully designed layout and stylish photographs, Asian Pickles is more than a canning and preserving book. It can be looked at as an introductory guidebook into the condiments and pickles of the geographic regions Solomon discusses in it. If you’ve ever been intimidated by making your own pickled ginger or congee, Solomon takes the intimidation factor out of pickling ingredients and produce you may be unfamiliar with, as I was before reading this book.
I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own