If you eat sushi or any other kind of Japanese food, you pretty much can't do without pickled ginger. It cleans the palate like a good sorbet would do if you were eating an European meal. It refreshes your mouth so everything else tastes better. And if you happen to be a ginger lover, it tastes great, too.
The stuff you buy in Asian stores is always a deep shade of red. Maybe that's natural and maybe it's not. Mine didn't turn a deep red at all. It has just a light pink tinge, but then my plum vinegar was a light pink. It tastes good even if I didn't have time to fuss too much with slicing it paper thin. I did also add just a few bits of red swiss chard stalk, trying to amp up the colour a bit, but it didn't work very well. They look nice, though, and taste good bathed in the ginger juices.
I would say this ginger packs a bit of bite. As Jamie would say, it's "pucker". Give it a try and save a lot of money and trouble trying to track it down at the store, if you live outside Japan.
Keep it in a small Mason jar and it will keep fresh for awhile in the refrigerator and not dry out. I quartered the recipe and still had a few leftovers but you might want to make the full amount if you are serving a crowd.
The recipe comes from a book called Vegetarian Sushi Made Easy by Hiroko Fukuhara and Yasuko Takahata. It also has a good recipe for a vegetable dashi, that I used successfully to make miso soup. For the pickled ginger recipe and the dashi alone it's worth the price but it also has clear instuctions for a whole range of beautiful vegetable sushi, rolled in different styles.
Japanese Pickled Ginger
1 cup peeled thinly sliced fresh ginger
1/3 cup plum vinegar (Ume-shu)
2 Tb mirin
Put the ginger slices in a pot and blanch for 1 minute. Take them out and drain them. Mix the vinegar and mirin together and put in and soak the ginger slices. The recipe says it will turn red after 10 minutes. Mine didn't. You can use it right away or store it in the refrigerator.