Wednesday, June 15, 2011


As the ume ripen, they have a pink blush, then turn yellow.
We have a supply of fresh ume at the fruit stand now.   Ume is a small sour type of Japanese plum that is preserved to make umeboshi and other types of Japanese pickles and condiments. Umeboshi (pickled ume) are sometimes put in the center of rice balls (onigiri).  Ume is very fragrant, sour, sweet and usually salty. Ume fruit is actually more closely related to an apricot than a plum, and the tree is the first of the year to blossom in January. 

Helen makes umeboshi most every year using a process that involves pressing the fruits and salt in a container with a heavy weight on top,  drying the preserved ume in the sun on a cloth for a few days and then putting them in liquid again with purple shiso (perilla).  Customers who have ordered ume in past years have brought us samples of what they've made, too.  We've gotten to taste ume pickled in different ways, ume flavored miso, ginger preserved in ume pickling juice (beni shoga), and ume flavored shoyu, all of which are very delicious.   Most years we sell out of ume so we don't write about it on the website, but this year our neighbors the Koyamas brought us a lot from their trees, so we have enough to mention.  If you want to order ume, you can call the orchard at (916) 791-1656 or stop by the fruit stand.

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