I am trying to make Sukimono, which is a Japanese type of fermented green cabbage.

I'm completely new to fermenting and my first batch came out a bit too salty. I weighted the cabbage down in salt (no water) for a little over one day and rinsed out thoroughly when it was done.

I used a thin sea salt, which I'm guessing might have been too salty for it and wondered if there was a better salt to use or if any other part of the process I used could be improved.

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    Just FYI (I know nothing of Sukimono) there is no such thing as salt that is too salty. All salt, by definition, is sodium chloride, chemically identical. Some salts, particularly very expensive "finishing salts" may have minerals other than NaCl that provide flavor or color, but even those salts are at least 85% plain old NaCl. The issue that may be relevant to you and your Sukimono is the size of the crystal. "Kosher" salt is a much coarser crystal than normal table salt, so a teaspoon of kosher salt actually contains less salt (weighs less) than a teaspoon of table salt. – Jolenealaska Aug 25 '14 at 1:58
  • So, based on your question, I'd try it again, using the same volume of salt, but kosher salt instead of fine sea salt. – Jolenealaska Aug 25 '14 at 2:15
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    Awesome - I am doing it right now and it should be ready by tomorrow evening. I'll post the results :) – jhawes Aug 25 '14 at 2:32
  • And I certainly shall! I'm very excited to see the results :) I'm going to give it a good 24 hours, so probably sometime tomorrow (Monday 8/25/2014) evening. – jhawes Aug 25 '14 at 3:04
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    I think you mean "tsukemono", the broad category of pickled things. Sukimono has other meanings, the most applicable of which may be translated as "things that I like", but none of which are about pickles. – JasonTrue Aug 25 '14 at 4:56

I'm glad the kosher worked for you. I wouldn't say "avoid sea salt", I'd say "avoid fine salt". When you get right down to it, All salt is sea salt. It's mined from oceans dried up millennia ago, or taken from current oceans and evaporated. Kosher worked better for you because the crystals were larger. Some sea salt crystals are huge, Maldon, for example. It's a lovely finishing salt, you'd never want to use it for an application like this.

I would avoid iodized salt in anything involving fermentation, some people can taste it (or swear they can), plus the iodine can inhibit some beneficial bacteria. Here's a nice short article all about choosing a salt for fermenting.

Fermentation opens all kinds of doors to really good eats. Enjoy!

  • I wouldn't say maldon is completely inappropriate for pickling. I like using flake salt for kimchi, specifically daikon kimchi, because the large flakes help identify if I've salted the raw vegetables evenly enough without over salting. But you're right, in recipes done by volume, maldon is asking for trouble. – buttlord Aug 26 '14 at 23:37

The kosher salt worked much better as suggested. I also did a batch using some ordinary table salt with a similar outcome.

I was originally instructed to use a generous amount of salt, which I think was simply easier for me to use too much of as I'd never made this before. As the cabbage is weighed down all the moisture comes out of causing the cabbage to apparently soak up all the salt a lot more than it would otherwise (or so it appeared).

In summary: kosher salt generously applied, but don't overdo it (avoid sea salt).

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