It is not easy to find pickled ginger for homemade sushi in rural Vermont. The grocery store varieties are never what I want, so I make my own. It is fresher, and easier than begging at the Japanese restaurant 25 miles away! We can always find fresh ginger, so that is the way to go, and local is always best if you can find it.
½ lb. peeled fresh ginger, local if possible
1 cup of rice wine vinegar
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
Peel the ginger whatever way works best for you. This can be a traditional peeler, a teaspoon, or my favorite, a sharp melon baller I scrape along the length. Once prepped, use a vegetable peeler to slice the ginger as thin as possible. Pack the slices into a hot, well-scrubbed canning jar. If the ginger is really large, and you are really careful, you can use a mandolin with a guard.
In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring this to a boil, and remove from heat, stirring to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the ginger, cover, and shake well to remove any air pockets. Let cool, and refrigerate.
This is best made a couple of days before, but you can also use it after a few hours, the ginger will be a little sharper. The local ginger will have a slight pink tint naturally. If you are using market ginger, you can add a little purple onion, not only to add some visual interest but flavor as well. I’ve also tossed in a few bruised cranberries for a little color.
This can be refrigerated for up to two months, I think, since it never lasts long enough at my house to know or sure!