An Introduction to Umeboshi: The Japanese Pickled Plum
The Japanese meals you know are more than just the typical sushi, sashimi, ramen, and onigiri. These popular meals are just the tip of the iceberg because there's a lot more out there that you should explore. One of them is called Umeboshi which is a perfect complement to many Japanese meals. The question is, how much do you know about Umeboshi? Discover the mystery behind this staple Japanese pickled plum and why you should start adding them to your Japanese meals!
What is Umeboshi?
But, first and foremost, what is Umeboshi? The term Umeboshi comes from the Japanese word ume, which means plum fruit, and boshi, which means dry. It is a traditional Japanese food out of dried and preserved plums. Moreover, Umeboshi is known for its signature tangy taste with a hint of semi-salty sweetness flavor which can be overwhelming at first.
What does umeboshi taste like?
Umeboshi Japanese pickled plums is normally round and has a smooth to heavily wrinkled texture. The rich and savory flavor of umeboshi quickly adds an umami bite to any dish. Because of the high citric acid concentration, they frequently have a salty flavor and are extremely sour, but sweeter varieties are also available. Because of its high citric acid concentration, umeboshi is considered an acquired taste, especially if you aren't used to eating it.
What is umeboshi good for?
Umeboshi are high in polyphenols, which may help lower blood pressure, prevent artery hardening, and increase calcium absorption, lowering blood sugar and diabetes risk.
Is umeboshi plums healthy?
Umeboshi is regarded as a superfood in Japanese cuisine, and it has been used as a medicine for generations. They are thought to have been used by Japanese samurai to heal ailments and recuperate from food poisoning before the battle. It has long been believed that if you drink one umeboshi daily, you do not need to see a doctor. The effects of citric acid on plums are thought to be beneficial for energy restoration, reducing heat stroke, and battling obesity. Umeboshi is considered an emergency food due to its storage capacity at room temperature. Because umeboshi is mildly salty, it's best to eat only a little. Always use as digestive aid. Umeboshi is now widely used as a hangover treatment. The body is detoxified due to the liver being stimulated by the high citric acid content, which aids digestion. One umeboshi should be infused in hot water for five minutes to make a hangover tea. The umeboshi and tea should then be enjoyed together. If you've had a night of drinking, try sucking on an umeboshi plum before bed. Umeboshi also includes important minerals, including iron, copper, and zinc, and vitamins A, C, B1, B2, E, and K.
Umeboshi (Japanese Sour Salted Plums)
UME PLUMS - Kanjuku Ume, ripe, yellow, and flushed ume plums, are used to make umeboshi. More umeboshi can be made from green ones, but because they are extremely astringent, they must first be soaked in water for six hours. Additionally, heavier weights must be used to pickle thoroughly (pickling process) and prevent using a damaged plums.
COARSE SEA SALT - Use sea salt for pickling, not table salt.
RED SHISO LEAVES (AKA SHISO) - Be patient until red shiso leaves are in season, usually mid-to-late June. Or start your own! You can leave the ume in the crock if they are submerged in the pickling solution (ume plum vinegar). If you encounter red shiso in the supermarket before your ume plums have aged for seven days, grab some while supplies last. When you get home, wrap the shiso stems in moist paper towels and keep them in the refrigerator.
BONZARU (A LARGE BAMBOO STRAINER)
To be sun-dried, the ume is placed in a large bamboo filter known as a bonzaru () by the Japanese. The filter also facilitates ventilation and keeps the ume's bottoms dry. The use of a plate keeps the bottoms from drying out. Instead, use a wooden rack of some kind. A metal rack should be avoided.
MESH FOOD COVER TENT
Protect these vulnerable newborns with mesh food cover tents to keep fruit flies, vermin, and bird droppings at bay. If your neighborhood is windy like ours, you may need to glue it down if you want the food cove tents to stay down!
MASON JARS (this is where your store umeboshi)
Several sanitized mason jars are required to store the finished umeboshi and ume plum vinegar.
HOMEMADE PLASTIC DROP LID
You'll need a drop lid, to evenly distribute it.
The canning pot is sterilized by boiling it in a big saucepan. Please remove them and set them aside for drying.
Ume Plums must be washed. *1
Dry the ume plum fruits using a cloth or dish towel.
Put the ume plum in a ziplock bag and pour over the gin to sterilize it.
The sterilized glass jar for storing food should include some ume in the bottom and salt on top. Continue layering salt and sprinkle half of it and umeboshi until all of the umeboshi is consumed.
Over the final layer, place a weight. I filled a ziplock bag with baking beads to act as a weight.
Keep in the dark for a week. Check to determine if the production of umezu (plum vinegar) is increasing daily.
After a week, prepare the red shiso leaves with the plums.
After adding the leaves, set them aside for two weeks.
Choose three days of direct sunlight to dry the umeboshi.
On the first day, remove the umeboshi from the jar and set it on a bamboo tray to dry. Allow enough room between them, so they don't touch. Spread the shiso leaves on the tray to dry and squeeze out the liquid. Bring the tray inside at night, then replenish the liquid-filled jar with the leaves and plums.
Day two is just like Day 1. Don't put the plums and leaves back in the jar. Affix them to the tray.
The third day is identical to the second. Dry the ume for 3 days in bright sunlight*3
FOR THE COLOR:
Wash the shiso leaves thoroughly, then press out as much water as possible.
Sprinkle the remaining half of the salt over the leaves.
Toss the salt and shiso leaves together, then massage them with your hands.
The resulting murky purple liquid should be dumped.
After adding the last salt, massage the shiso leaves once more. *2
Squeeze the deep purple-colored juice from the leaves.
Shiso leaves should be placed in a small mixing bowl.
Add 1 tbsp of the plum vinegar from the jar.
Add the leaves to the umeboshi jar for another two weeks.
HELPFUL TIPS IN MAKING UMEBOSHI PLUMS
The salt must amount to 18% of the ume plums' weight.
Although many individuals now make umeboshi with 18%, the customary amount is 20%. The ume is preserved and shielded from mold growth by the higher salt concentration.
Equipment should be sterilized with alcohol.
Alcohol is required to clean every piece of equipment. Any alcoholic beverage with an ABV higher than 35%, such as shuchu or vodka, is acceptable.
Use the correct number of weights.
The weights push down on the ume plums, extracting moisture from the fruit and producing brine for umeboshi. Mold formation on umeboshi is prevented by using ume plum vinegar as a brine. To speed up brine production, use huge, double-weighted ume. The weights can be removed once the brine has completely coated the ume. Overweight weights risk fracturing the ume and ripping the skin.
Use good ume and discard damaged ones.
Not attempt to save the injured plums. Just because you tried to save one with a damaged location doesn't mean the rest of the batch should be discarded.
Dry the ume for 3 days in bright sunlight
After being pickled in salt and red shiso leaves, the ume is dried in the sun for roughly three days.
How do you eat umeboshi?
A small amount of umeboshi is typically sprinkled on top of white steamed rice instead of rice porridge in Japanese bento boxes. The red circle on the Japanese flag is intended to imitate the "hinomaru bento" custom.
Japanese rice balls in the shape of triangles or circles. They are a well-known Japanese dish that is easy to make and fill, and you can buy them in any convenience store in Japan. White rice is used to make onigiri wrapped in nori seaweed. White rice may be monotonous, so umeboshi is a popular onigiri filling that adds a rich, salty, and acidic flavor.
Umeboshi is coated in tempura batter made from flour, egg, and iced water and deep-fried in vegetable oil until golden to produce crispy umeboshi tempura.
Steamed white rice and a variety of toppings are partially steeped in green tea or dashi broth to make this traditional and straightforward Japanese cuisine, which makes for a hearty and substantial lunch. Along with other savory components like nori seaweed, salmon flakes, or roe, umeboshi can be used as a garnish.
SALAD DRESSINGS AND MARINADES
For grilled meats, consider combining umeboshi paste with other ingredients such as soy sauce, ginger, and lime in marinades. To pair with green veggies and grilled fish, make a fast dressing using umeboshi paste, vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, bonito flakes and sugar.
Where can I buy umeboshi?
Umeboshi can be found in local Japanese grocery store, Asian grocery stores and online. Japanese Taste offers many peculiar umeboshi products, like umeboshi vinegar, which may be used as the base for salad dressings or sauces, and umeboshi sour sweets, that can be obtained directly from Japan in addition to the plums themselves. Making it at home, however, is much more rewarding and easy. Ume plums are the only thing you might have difficulty finding. Ume plums are in season in June, so if you want fresh ones, get them then.
How to de-salt the umeboshi?
You might be concerned about the amount of salt required to make umeboshi. Don't worry. There is a way to de-salt it. In 1L of water, prepare 10 umeboshi plums. After adding the water, stir with a pinch of salt. After that, add 10 umeboshi plums and set them aside for 12 hours. Adding a pinch of salt makes it easier to remove the salt due to osmotic pressure. After completely draining the water and placing them in the refrigerator, eat them as soon as possible.
Why sun-dry the umeboshi in the dog days of the summer?
Exposing it to the hot summer sun can reduce moisture and prevent mold formation in the pickled plums, resulting in a more concentrated flavor.
Can you eat umeboshi everyday?
The high sodium level is one potential disadvantage, but umeboshi is an effective technique for avoiding heatstroke during the brutal Japanese summer. It is usually recommended to limit your intake to one per day. Consider them a rich, fruity, sour-salty seasoning.
How to store pickled umeboshi?
This homemade umeboshi can be stored at room temperature for a year. Please place them in a jar with a lid and store them in a dimly lit room. Instead of using metal lids, use glass or ceramic jars. Put some umeboshi in a smaller jar and store it in the pantry for convenience.
Is it necessary to remove the astringent taste from green plums before pickling?
Yes, but not all of the time. Bathing ripe yellowish plums in water hasten the decay process. Soak it in water for a few hours if you're using green fruit.
What can you use the leftover red shiso leaves and umezu (plum vinegar) for?
The shiso leaves left over can be combined with Yukari furikake rice spice to create a different pickle known as "Shibazuke."
Experiences by Japan Crate : Bento Experience Set
Umeboshi, or salty dried plums, are a common bento ingredient. This traditional dish, blended with rice or served on top of rice, is thought to keep rice from spoiling. Get your Bento Experience Set now at Japan Crate. Extend the experience of making your bento box at home. This set includes a two-tiered bento box, carry bag, furikake seasoning, utensil set, seaweed art, sauce container, food picks, and food dividers.
Ume, a sour Japanese fruit that tastes like a cross between an apricot and a plum, is used to make umeboshi, fermented plums. Umeboshi is salted and fermented before being served whole, dried whole, as a paste, or as vinegar. This superfood is still regarded as a strong digestive stimulant that boosts impurity clearance and soothes weariness.Visit our website now and add your Bento Experience Set to the cart now! We offer free shipping worldwide and exclusive deals and promos.
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