Pickles, or tsukemono, are the unsung heroes of Japanese cuisine. And now there’s a revolutionary new tool that builds on our predecessors traditional methods. For thousands of years pickles have quietly played their role as side-dish but I don’t think I’m alone in admitting that I’ve often enjoyed them as a main dish, along with a bowl of white rice. The Picklestone is everything a modern-day pickler needs: with an emphasis on material and usability, it’s beautiful, portable and functional.
When designer and foodie Tomonori Tanaka tried his hand at making pickles last year he found it harder than expected. All the plastic pickle-making containers available on the market were too big, awkward to use and ugly. In short, pickle-making tools hadn’t evolved to be compatible with his lifestyle, so Tanaka decided to design his own.
The Picklestone consists of a glass bin, hinoki wood press and stone and wooden lid. The stone is made from aji-ishi (庵治石), a type of high quality granite excavated in Kagawa prefecture and nicknamed “diamond granite” for its remarkably fine grain, crystal-like hardness and lustrous gleam. It gets its rare speckled pattern from a small amount of black mica that is also part of its composition. Attached to the stone is a piece of hinoki wood, which rests on top of your pickles and adds a subtle woody flavor.
To make pickles, simply add your vegetables and pickle brine (typically salt, chili pepper, and konbu kelp) to the jar and place the pickle stone on top. Then place the wooden lid over the bin and let the stone do its work. The compact container is designed to fit right into the liquids shelf of your refrigerator next to the milk and juice.
It’s available in the Spoon & Tamago shop for $130.