One of my favorite ways to spend a day is preserving. It starts with a trip to the market to buy boatloads of produce and ends with satisfying “pops” coming from rows of shiny, warm Ball jars. Actually, it ends months later when you can pull a jar out of the cupboard and spread your own jam on a piece of toast or put your own pickles on a sandwich.
Unfortunately, produce is really expensive in Japan! A lot of it is imported, which is not wallet-friendly. My days of buying crates of strawberries and cucumbers from the farmer’s market are on hold for now, but I can still justify making small batches of quick pickles. They’re cheaper and don’t require nearly the same time commitment (as you could probably tell from “quick” in the name). No water baths, steamy kitchens and frizzy hair. You don’t need to heat the brine in many recipes, and you don’t even need to store the pickles in canning jars. You can use Ziploc bags, Tupperware containers, bowls tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, etc.