PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Kenchanzuke - Preserving the Art and Tradition of Pickling in Japan
What’s Kenchanzuke’s secret to delicious pickles? Hint - It starts long before the pickling process!
The secret to their exquisitely fresh and delicious pickles is that Kenchanzuke selects only the best vegetables for their premium handmade pickles.
The Taste of Locally Cultivated Vegetables
Kenchanzuke works closely with skilled farmers, believing that a great pickle begins with vegetables that have been lovingly cultivated and carefully harvested. Even when pickled, you can taste the vitality of the vegetables.
The vegetables for the Tsukemono Flake are raised in Shimane, a rural area on the Sea of Japan. However, while it may look like a sleepy rural area, the region’s history stretches back to the beginning of Japan. Early historical records in Japan mention this area. The town served as a commercial center for the surrounding agricultural industries, since the 18th century.
The Role of Pickles in Japanese Cuisine
In Japan, pickled vegetables are one of the core elements of a Japanese meal. Nutritionally, in meals which traditionally lacked meat, locals received vitamins and protein from vegetables and fish served at every meal. Pickles also serve to harmonize the flavors in a meal. Pickles add zest to rich meals, pizzazz to otherwise plain rice, and vivid color to dress up any plate.
Traditionally, families in Japan pickled their own vegetables, developing their own special family recipes. These days, fewer families make their own pickled vegetables. In fact, consumption of pickled vegetables in Japan is decreasing.
Protecting the Art and Tradition of Japanese Pickling
Kenchanzuke is working to protect the art and tradition of pickling in Japan. The company pickles vegetables using a traditional tsukemono ishi (or “pickling stone”). Vegetables are placed in tubs and covered with lids that are weighted with very large and heavy stones, which have been specially shaped to use in the pickling process. The pressure provided by the stones helps to extract excess moisture from the vegetables.
While many modern cooks have turned to plastic pickle presses or cement weights, Kenchanzuke has continued to use the stone method to pickle its vegetables. The company hopes to preserve the traditional taste of Japanese pickles and pass it on to the next generation.
The commitment of Kenchanzuke can be seen in very detail of their pickle production. Even knives at the company are carefully selected to ensure the best quality pickled vegetables. The motto of the company is “No matter how long it takes, we want to make delicious pickled vegetables.”
Delivering the Taste of Traditional Pickled Vegetables
Kenchanzuke wants to bring the taste of traditional Japanese pickled vegetables back to tables everywhere. These Tsukemono Flakes from Kenchanzuke has two different kinds of flavors, which are made from daikon leaves, and the other is made from Tsuda Turnip that have been pickled, dried, and slightly crushed. The result is a savory seasoning that can be sprinkled on salads, roasted vegetables, pasta dishes, and more! The salty flavor will brighten any dish.
Regardless of what kind of cuisine you might be eating, Kenchanzuke believes that their pickled vegetable products can be enjoyed. The company wants to spread happiness through pickles. Simply eat, enjoy, and smile!