Sugar Kelp Pickles

Recipe 15 min (plus overnight resting time)Preparation Time 0 minCooking Time
Sugar Kelp Pickles

Sugar Kelp Pickles

15 min (plus overnight resting time)Preparation Time 0 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Instead of using a brine or marinade, simply wrapping vegetables in kelp is a wonderful way to add a subtle touch of umami. This is a variation on a Japanese pickle (tsukemono) that layers slices of vegetables in between kombu simply seasoned with salt, sugar, and splashes of rice wine vinegar.

The Benefits

Cucumbers are wonderfully high in fiber and several vitamins, and kelp is a great source of iodine and glutamic acid, which adds tons of umami to food, making it extra delicious and craveable, which means you’ll want to eat more vegetables — the ultimate healthy snack.

Note: If fresh sugar kelp is unavailable, dried kombu rehydrated with a little water will work, but it’s not nearly as delicious. Another option is to use a prepared seaweed salad.

Special equipment: A pair of nonreactive pans or plastic containers that can sit inside of each other and 3 to 5 pounds of weight that can be set inside of the top pan/container and put in the refrigerator. It can be as simple as a plastic container filled with water, a jug of something in your refrigerator, or a few cans/jars of food.

READ | GROW: Kelp Is on the Way


Variable yield
  • Cucumbers or root vegetables you like to eat fresh
  • Fresh sugar kelp
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt


  1. Step 1
    Cover the bottom of one pan with a layer of kelp. Slice the vegetables 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick until you can cover the kelp with a single layer. If using cucumbers, choose the thickness you like your pickles to be.
  2. Step 2
    Determine how many more layers you can make to fill the pan halfway and cut that many more. If this is your first time making it, consider making less until you figure out the right balance of flavor to your liking. Sprinkle rice wine vinegar over the vegetables and lightly season them with both sugar and salt.
  3. Step 3
    Add a layer of kelp and repeat until you’ve reached half the height of the pan.
  4. Step 4
    Place the second pan on top and set the weight on top to compress the stack. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy the light and refreshing quick pickles the next day, adjusting for acidity and salt if you feel it needs it.