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Umeboshi Pickling Workshop

Posted on May 27, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Japanese Umeboshi (Salted Plum) Pickles

This is one of the classic pickles of Japan made from a type of green sour apricots (ume). My summer memories of growing up in Kamakura centers around making umebosh (salted plums)i and umeshu (plum wine) with my grandmother in June. Umeboshi is  an ancient medicinal food to aid digestion. I can't think of another Japanese food that is revered as much as umeboshi.  Here is a story I wrote years ago for Saveur about

Umeboshi makes a delicious filling in rice balls. It is also used to season meats, fish and vegetables. You can also have it with green tea. Since umeboshi is a pickle, it is naturally salty, so you should eat it in moderation.

In the umeboshi making class class last sunday, we used our hands extensively.  Our finger tips turned he color of berries or fushia. Liisa, one of the students wanted to take home the leftover juice of the shiso leaves that is used to dye the plums.  She wanted to dye her pjs into that fucia pink.

Local ume is expensive but the fact that they are available is better than nothing. At 50 cents a ume, you can't make too many mistakes.  I am hoping that the ume go down in price, as more people discover the wonders of umeboshi. Otherwise, I have to plant my own ume tree soo.

I did the class so students can see umeboshi in different stages pickling stages - soaking the plums in water, brining the plum sto extract the vinegar, and how to dry them in the sun to further tenderize and deepen the flavors.  

We tasted commercial and homemade umeboshi. Everyone liked my homemade better because you could taste the fruit and homemade doesn't contain all the chemical preservatives like food coloring and MSG. I couldn't recommend a single umeboshi from the market, except what you can get on line - Ozuke and Eden's umeboshi which are organic and don't contain any chemical preservatives.  

Categories: Pickles and Preserves

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