Umeboshi is the top tsukemono (macerated vegetables) in Japan. This salty and tangy plum with a very special taste is very popular. Presentation:
- Umeboshi, a very popular salted plum
- How it is made
- Its appearance and taste
- Japanese dishes using umeboshi
- Derivative products
Umeboshi, very popular salted plum
Umeboshi 梅干 is a salty, tangy plum that has been macerated for a long time with salt and leaves from shiso. It is a tsukemono (macerated vegetables, fruits, fish..) very popular and appreciated by Japanese people. Its natural color is brown but you will find it raspberry color because this one is colored by contact with purple shiso leaves, called akajiso 赤紫蘇 in Japanese.
- The basic ingredient is theume, fruit of the Japanese apricot tree. These plums are harvested when ripe, then washed and mixed with salt.
- The shiso leaves, akajiso, are kneaded with salt, then theume and shiso leaves are mixed and placed in a pot. A little weight is placed on top to crush it a little.
- The ume plums ferment for 3 to 4 weeks. Then the water is drained and theume and shiso leaves are dried.
Its appearance and taste
At the beginning, it is quite smooth and fleshy, but with time, it becomes crumbly and contracts a very particular taste, both salty and very acid. Its taste is not common for a European and can surprise more than one.Umeboshi can be kept for a long time and according to dieticians it is very good for health (antiseptic, fortifying, mineralizing, remedy against hangover etc…).
Personally I like umeboshi because we find this taste in Asian dishes, I was not surprised. It goes well with rice or sautéed vegetables.
On the contrary, I am not very fond of it, many Europeans have trouble with umeboshi because its very particular taste is really very strong. Be careful, the stone is preserved in these plums.
Japanese dishes using umeboshi
There are many different varieties of umeboshi, more or less salty, acid or sweet, the combinations are very varied (with katsuobushi (dried bonito), honey, different sizes and colors… An exhibition on these plums was presented at Espace Japon in October 2015 in Paris, to learn more read this article from umamiam.
The ume su vinegar is used as an alternative to the classic vinegar you use for your salads. It can also be used as a condiment or sauce for tempura tofu, vegetables etc… A tip, do not salt your dishes if you use this dressing because it is already quite salty