Pickled ginger aka “gari” – healthy or not healthy?
Few days ago we were at a sushi restaurant near our home. We were so hungry so we kept on eating pickled ginger before the food arrived but then it suddenly hit me. Where do they come from? how is it made? Is it made with sugar or sweetener? The ginger tasted awfully sweet. So when I came home, I did some research and found out some shocking facts on (pickled) ginger, which is mostly consumed in Japan.
The cheapest pickled gingers come from China, followed by Thailand.
Most popular sweetener used in cheap pickled ginger is acesulfame potassium (aka calorie-free sweetener, Sunett, Sweet One, E950). It’s been reported that more than recommended amount of it has been used in imported Chinese pickled ginger in the past.
It is common to use preservatives such as potassium sorbate. Again, it’s been reported that more than recommended amount of it has been used in imported Chinese pickled ginger in the past.
BHC (beta-hexachlorocyclohexane), a very poisonous pesticide (banned in Japan for over 40 years) has been found in imported Chinese ginger, even in those labelled as ‘organic’.
YIKES!!!!!!!!!!! I guess we should be careful not to eat too much of it unless the restaurants can assure you that the gingers are from trustworthy factories.
It is actually very easy to make it at home. I tried it yesterday – you need vinegar, water, salt, sugar and ginger, that is all. I made it with erythritol to make it sugar-free. I used:
- 350g ginger
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup erythritol (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar)
Boil hot water and cook thinly sliced ginger for 30 seconds. Drain (you can drink the water). Mix the rest and cook until the sweetener or sugar is fully dissolved. Cool it a bit. Mix both together in a sterilized glass jar. You can eat it up to one month if you keep it clean!
Next time I need to cut the much thinner!