Enjoy Umeshu

How Japanese people enjoy plums to the fullest

    Plum was introduced to Japan from China about 1,500 years ago as the medicine named “Processed Mume“. In Japan, plum is familiar not only as a flower to admire, but also as a food. Many households will pickle the plums and taste them as pickled plums or Umeshu. There are many ways to enjoy plums, and today we will introduce some of them!

Recipes for plums

➢ Plum juice or Umeshu

➢ Pickled plums

➢ Plum syrup

➢ Plum extract

➢ Plum compote

➢ Plum jam

Plum juice or Umeshu

    Plum juice is recommended for children. All you need to prepare is 1 kg of plums, 1 kg of icing sugar, and a container such as a large bottle or barrel.


・Wash the plums and remove the stems.

・Carefully wipe off the water and freeze.

・Poke holes in the frozen plums with a needle (this helps to release the juice and speeds up the process by about half a month).

・Put plums and glacial sugar alternately in the prepared container.

・Soak the plums for one month.

・Remove the plums from the container to finish (plums removed from the container can be eaten as is or made into jam).

    The procedure for making Umeshu is almost the same as that for plum juice, but the key is to place not only plums and icing sugar but also add alcohol such as shochu alternately in the prepared containers.

Pickled plum

    Pickled plum has been made in Japan since ancient times, and is used for onigiri (rice balls) and bento (boxed lunches). 

Traditional Production Method

・Ripe plums harvested around June are used. Heat the green plums until they turn yellow, then wash and drain the plums.

・Prepare salt equivalent to 18-20% of the weight of the plums, and place the plums and salt alternately in a bottle.

・Roll the bottle and wait for the plum vinegar (liquid that seeps out of the plums) to rise.

・Drying in direct sunlight.

    The key is to roll the bottles every day as much as possible to spread the salt around, as they are prone to mold until the plum vinegar has risen.

Plum syrup

    Of all the plum recipes, plum syrup is the easiest and most convenient to start with. Plum syrup has a subtle sweetness and aroma that is not found in commercially available juices.


・Wash and drain the plums.

・Poke holes in the plums. (This makes it easier for the flavor to soak through, but it is not a necessary step.)

・Fill the bottle about three-quarters full with plums and fill to the brim with cane sugar.

・When the sugar has dissolved and the plums are wrinkled, it’s time to drink!

    The sugar must adhere to the plums or they will mold easily, so it is important to mix them when you notice them.

Plum extract

    Using plums that are large enough to be broken, make a plum extract that is very useful when you feel like catching a cold, having an upset stomach, or feeling a little down. Only about 20 to 50 grams plum extract can be made from 1 kg of plums, so be sure to prepare a large quantity of plums.


・Put the plums in a Ziploc and beat them with a stick to separate the pulp from the seeds.

・Crush the pulp with a food processor.

・Strain the pulp through a strainer to separate the pulp from the plum extract.

・Boil down the strained plum extract until it turns black.

    Because of the strong acidity of the plums, it is important to use enameled or earthenware pots and wooden spatulas as the main ingredients when boiling them down. The pulp of the plums after the extract has been squeezed out can be mixed with sugar and lemon juice to make jam.

Plum compote

    We would like to make fully ripened plums with a sweet aroma into pickled plums, but damaged plums are a source of trouble. When they are fully ripened, the aroma and sourness unique to green plums are lost, and the taste is not punchy enough for plum syrup. Therefore, we recommend boiling them and making a compote with them.


・Boil fully ripened plums.

・Boil the plums to remove the scum, and boil them again.  (Be careful not to boil them too long or they will lose their shape!)

・Add the desired amount of sugar and simmer for 20 minutes. (It is also delicious with wine.)

    Store in the refrigerator for a cool dessert!

Plum jam

    Ume jam is a simple process that requires only simmering. You can spread it on bread, carbonate it and drink it, or you can also bottle it and give it as a gift to a friend.


・Cut off the damaged parts and boil the ume to remove the yolk (repeat 2-3 times for green ume, 1-2 times for fully ripe ume).

・Remove the seeds and boil the pulp with sugar (amount of sugar is up to your preference).

    Since ancient times, plum has not only been treasured as a confectionery, medicine, and sometimes as a good luck charm, but it has also been written about and loved in poems, and has been deeply attached to the history and culture of Japan. A variety of easy menus using plum. Plum is a simple ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dishes, from Japanese cuisine to Western cuisine, and even sweets. These recipes are easy to make, so please try them!

About Umeshu Lovers

Made with the finest ume plums from Japan, Umeshu is an apéritif with a sweet-sour flavour.  

Known commonly as “Japanese Plum Wine”, Umeshu is among the most well-known alcoholic beverages in Japan and is slowly gaining popularity worldwide.  

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