Meaning: Tsukemono vs Oshinko vs Asazuke
When it comes to Japanese pickles, I think Umeboshi plums are probably the most famous in overseas countries.
“Umeboshi (梅干し)” is referred to as pickled Ume plums or salted Ume plums in English-speaking countries, but do you know what we call pickles in general?
Tsukemono vs. Oshinko vs. Asazuke
Actually, the word Tsukemono (漬物)” refers to Japanese pickles in general. You may know this. But have you ever heard that “Oshinko (お新香)” is a synonym of Tsukemono?
In recent years, Oshinko sometimes has the same meaning as Tsukemono, though they are traditionally different in some ways.
“Tsukemono (漬物)”, literally meaning “pickled thing”, is the generic term for Japanese pickles, while Oshinko is originally a sub-category of Tsukemono.
Japanese pickles or Tsukemono are made of various ingredients such as vegetables and seafood like fish and fish roe, which are pickled with seasonings such as salt, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sake lees.
Although many Japanese pickles, including “Takuan (沢庵)“, are made by fermenting foods, some types in Tsukemono are produced in a short period of time and don’t involve the fermentation process.
Oshinko (お新香) or Asazuke (浅漬け)
Oshinko is the word that originally refers to Japanese vegetable pickles made in a short time without fermenting ingredients and has the same meaning as “Asazuke (浅漬け)”.
But as mentioned above, in recent years, some people have been using the word to mean Tsukemono.
Typical vegetables prepared for Asazuke or Oshinko are cucumber, Daikon radish, and eggplant, which are nowadays often pickled in a store-bought pickling solution.
As Oshinko and Asazuke have a meaning of “fresh aroma” and “lightly pickled” respectively, the pickles retain the fresh taste and color of the vegetable.