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Narazuke Urikobukuro (Pickled melons, small package)

Pickled Foods
Narazuke is a preserved food with a long history. Records of narazuke were discovered in the remains of the residence inhabited by the Imperial family approximately 1,300 years ago. Foods such as melon cucumber, cucumber, and watermelon are first pickled with salt, then repeatedly marinated in sake lees (extremely flavorful solid material that remains after Japanese sake is strained) to produce pickles packed with vitamins. Generally, narazuke are pickled for a period lasting six months to one year and are mottled like a tortoiseshell, but narazuke from Imanishi Honten are pickled for a long period of 3 to 16 years and are black in color. Since salt and moisture have been completely removed, even after a container is opened they can be preserved for more than two years if the pickles are soaked in sake lees. The long-term aging eliminates the sharp smell characteristic of narazuke, so the pickles pair perfectly with cheese. They are most delicious after being cut up and left in the refrigerator for three to five days.