All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Benishoga / red pickled ginger

Unlike the bright red of store-bought pickled ginger, benishoga takes on a pinkish hue when made at home in the traditional way. It is as easy as getting rid of the excess moisture of ginger by salting or drying it, and marinating in brine produced by plums during the umeboshi-making process.

Below, shinshoga [new crop ginger] is sun-dried and soaked in the brine of anzuboshi pickled apricots. The finished benishoga offers a combination of flavors: softly salty, sharp, spicy and even fruity.

Whole recipe (56 g solids)
27 calories; 0.8 g protein; 0.3 g fat; 5.9 g carbohydrate; 4.0 g net carbs; 231 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.9 g fiber

Shinshoga new crop ginger (94 g in photo)
Enough umezu brine from pickled plums to cover ginger (30g brine from pickled apricots; not in photo)


Remove discolored parts of ginger, thinly slice, and dry under the sun for several hours.

(After removing discolored parts, ginger weighed 89 g.)
(Ginger weighed 41 g after drying.)


Place dried ginger in a container, and pour umezu brine.
Refrigerate for several days.

Ready to use. 

  • Keep refrigerated.
  • Any fresh ginger works fine. It does not have to be new crop.
  • Slicing is optional, especially if enough umezu is available.
  • Store-bought umezu works fine, too.
  • Umezu brine I used above contains 340 mg sodium per 30 g, which is on the low end. The brine is from making anzuboshi pickled apricots, where the amount of salt added was 5% of the total weight of apricots (10-20% is common). 
  • Benishoga's color can be darker if akajiso purple perilla leaves are marinated together.
  • While beni can refer to anything red, as a traditional color beni is bluish red or dark rose. 

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