Sour, salty, unique, umeboshi plums have been a staple in Japanese pickles called TUSKEMONO for centuries.
The umeboshi plum is made from dried and pickled ume fruit, a type of fruit, (actually) more closely to the apricot family despite being called plum.
Why Umeboshi plum is so iconic?
Umeboshi is wrinkled round pickled ume fruit with a markedly sour and salty. (However, there are honey-sweet juicy Umeboshi like KishuNanko Ume.)
It’s typically served with rice or as a stuffing rice ball.
Umeboshi paste is also available for stuffing rice balls, sushi, and other dishes.
- Umeboshi Plum Benefits
- How To Eat Umeboshi
- How To Make Homemade Umeboshi (Apricot)
- Homemade Umeboshi Apricot: Salted and Dried Apricot Exactly Tastes Like Japanese
Umeboshi Plum Benefits
“Umeboshi,” a traditional Japanese superfood that has long been known for “An Umeboshi a day may not keep the doctor away.”
Recently, the health benefits of pickled plums have been scientifically proven and are becoming a hot topic.
Umeboshi Is Packed With Organic Acids
Umeboshi contains many organic acids such as citric acid, malic acid, succinic acid, and pyruvic acid.
Polyphenols are well-known for being contained in red wine, but also, Umeboshi plum also contains abundant types of polyphenols called “ume lignans” which have strong antioxidant properties.
“Lignans” are a group of plant polyphenols and various health benefits known for such as antitumor, antioxidant, and antiobesity activities.
Then, these lignans are also contained in ume fruit, and they are collectively called ume lignans.
Ume lignans are reported health benefits such as the effect of suppressing Helicobacter pylori activity, anti-oxidizing cells and tissues, and prevention of Influenza virus.
Strong Antioxidant Power
Umeboshi has strong antioxidant power.
“Reactive oxygen” causes aging phenomena such as spots and wrinkles, as well as cancer and lifestyle-related diseases.
The components of Umeboshi such as lignans can be expected to have the effect of suppressing the action of this reactive oxygen.
Fight Tiredness And Fatigue
The citric acid in Umeboshi not only boosts energy but also excretes lactic acid, which causes fatigue, to the outside of the body.
Citric acid also treats muscle fatigue or tensions after a hard workout.
Protect The Liver
Umeboshi protects the mucous membrane of the stomach and supports the digestion system.
In addition, picric acid in umeboshi has a detoxification action, which is expected to prevent hangovers!
When you drink alcohol, eating Umeboshi in advance may help your liver and hangover!?
Food Poisoning Prevention
Citric acid has a strong antioxidant effect that prevents the growth of bacteria.
Umeboshi is a popular *Okazu item in the Bento box since it is expected to prevent food poison.
*Okazu means side dishes in Japanese cuisine.
Umeboshi is also rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
So Umeboshi can supplement the mineral deficiency in the body.
How To Eat Umeboshi
- Simply, with rice. (on the rice, stuffing for rice ball, *chazuke)
- Topping for Ramen noodles (especially for TONKOTSU soup.)
- Ingredient for noodles (SOMEN noodles, pasta, Udon noodles.)
- Make Tartar sauce with Umeboshi
- Add salad
- Drink “SAYU”-boiled water with Umeboshi
- Oyuwari with Umeboshi
- Umeboshi Chu-Hi
Chazuke (or Ochazuke) is a kind of soupy rice bowl dish, which simply pours green tea (or dashi broth, boiled water) over the topping and steamed rice.
The Japanese enjoy chazuke as a quick meal or as a snack after the meal.
Popular toppings for Chazuke are Umeboshi, grilled salmon, wasabi paste, Nori seaweed, and grilled sea bream.
Thus, Chazuke with Umeboshi topping is called “UmeChazuke”, and the sour flavor of Umeoboshi becomes so addictive and also gentle to the stomach.
How To Make Homemade Umeboshi (Apricot)
My homemade umeboshi are salted apricots in the traditional Japanese way, but, without red Shiso leaves.
Aromatic and flavorful than store-bought Umeboshi!
They are also salty! (of course,) however, it can add sweetness after salty and sour flavor to any dish.
Luckily, it’s also super easy to make.
The Best Season To Make Umeboshi Apricot
in Japan, the season of green ume plum is around may-June, which will be the season to salt them.
This recipe uses apricots, so you can make it any time when the apricot is available and when you’ll get constant dry and sunny days.
Choose firm and fresh riped apricot but not an over-riped one since it’ll be fallen apart while the salting process.
Homemade Umeboshi Apricot: Salted and Dried Apricot Exactly Tastes Like Japanese
- 2 lb apricot, washed *pick the apricots that are not ripe or overripe.
- 5.1-5.8 oz Sea salt *16-18% of apricot weight
- vodka for Disinfecting
- Remove stems if needed.
- Rinse the apricots with vodka to prevent them from mold.
- Clean the glass jar by wiping the inside with vodka and a piece of paper towel.*I rinse the apricots in the glass jar, take them out, and wipe vodka off with a kitchen paper towel.
- In the sanitized glass jar, layer alternatively the apricots and the salt.
- Lid tightly, and store it in a cool and dark place for about a month. Apricot juice comes out the next day, shake the jar to allow the juice to coat the apricots once a day. (to prevent mold.)
- After salting the apricots for a month, prepare to dry them. Check the weather forecast and find out a period when sunny days will continue for 3 days.
- Spread the apricots in a single layer on a basket/ a mesh hanging dryer rack. Allows air to flow around the piece.
- Dry the apricots in the sun for 4-5 hours a day and bring the basket inside after dusk. Repeat drying them for 3 days.
- Store homemade Ume(apricot)boshi in a clean jar and store them in a cool place or a fridge.*About how to store Umeboshi, check out this post.