Because of long winters and the fact that most harvest crop seeds can only be sown after the snow has melted, it is very difficult to get fresh vegetables. Therefore, besides storing the autumn harvest in underground or packed snow storage rooms, a lot of vegetables are pickled. During winter, the pickling vats sometimes freeze over, so the pickles are heated, boiled, or fried before eating. Nowadays, you might also find “Pickles Steak” which is something resembling a quiche, or “Nitakumoji” which is aged pickles simmered in a soy sauce base broth.
There is also a popular New Year’s dish called “Nezushi”. It is a dish in which rice, trout, carrot, daikon radish, and noodles are pickled for two weeks at the end of the year.