Eating out can be a challenge on the Paleo diet; sugar, dairy, corn, and soy often find their way into otherwise innocuous dishes. Pickled ginger is often touted as a healthy immune-boosting garnish for a plate of sushi or sashimi, but is it actually Paleo?
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What is Pickled Ginger?


Basically, pickled ginger is just what it sounds like: ginger that has been pickled. Thinly sliced ginger is lightly pickled in a mixture of sugar and vinegar. Also known as gari, it is a common accompaniment to sushi platters, but can also be found garnishing a variety of noodle and rice-based dishes around the world. For sushi, it was traditionally included to mask the smell of the fish, and to cleanse the palate between different types of fish (not to be soaked in wasabi-spiked soy sauce), though today it is often used more for presentation than anything else.

Generally, pickled ginger can be made by simply soaking fresh ginger in sugar, vinegar, and sometimes salt for about a week. Young ginger is preferable for sushi, as it is most tender, and will develop a pinkish hue when fermented. Many companies who use the inferior older ginger add dye to copy the pink color.

Is Pickled Ginger Paleo?

In general, no, it isn’t Paleo, but it isn’t going to kill you either. A few bits of ginger with your sashimi will certainly give you a few non-Paleo ingredients: at best some raw sugar, and at worst, artificial coloring, preservatives, aspartame, or rice bran oil. A little bit probably isn’t enough to make much of a difference to your diet. However, if you like to eat gobs and gobs of it, then we highly recommend you make it yourself!

Even the highest end restaurants will still use sugar to make pickled ginger, so it is unavoidable. If you don’t mind a little sugar here and there, you can probably consume the customary 4-5 pieces of ginger without any problems. If you’re dining at home, it is really super easy to make pickled ginger yourself, and we highly recommend it. Check out the articles below for more information.

Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo?  Do you need help planning some Paleo meals?  Check out this great Paleo cookbook:

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