June 28, 2016

Making Ume Syrup and Ume Jam Again!/また梅シロップと梅ジャム作り!

Today, I received another box of ume from my father. He told me the other day that they were the final ones of the season.
After I opened the box, I immediately noticed that most of them were blemished. I first thought of making ume jam immediately because it would take 3-4 days to make ume syrup. While cutting off blemished portions from individual ume, I soon realized that the blemishes were only superficial.
One example:
Another example:
Very resistant, as compared with other fruits such as apricots and apples!

Look at all the mess!

Naturally, I used the recipe that I posted only today.
To be continued.

Making Both Ume Syrup and Ume Jam/梅シロップと梅ジャム両方を作る

Economical recipe (laugh) for making ume syrup first and then ume jam from the leftover ume

Use a Tupperware container and shake it occasionally to accelerate extraction. Separate syrup from ume in 3-5 days. If left longer, it may ferment. Even if some extract remains in the ume, you won't lose it because it will remain in the ume jam to make later (laugh).

1 kg ume (unripe or ripe ones, according to your preferences)
500 g sugar for making ume syrup (50% of the ume)
560-112 g sugar for making ume jam (100-20% of the ume left after separating syrup)

Tupperware container with a capacity of at least 2 liters. Not a glass jar but a Tupperware container.
梅(青梅、熟した梅、お好みで)  1キロ 
砂糖(シロップ用)  500g(梅の半分) 
砂糖(ジャム用)  560 g~112 g(梅シロップと梅を分けた後の梅の重さの100%~20%)

容器  容量2リットル以上。ガラス瓶ではなく、タッパー容器。 

Note: The ume in the photos are not 1 kg. I have selected appropriate photos from the ones I have taken so far.

1. Rinse ume in water.
1. 梅を水洗いします。
2. Remove the heta, using a bamboo skewer.
2. 竹串でヘタを取ります。  
3. Rinse in water again, transfer to a sieve, and drain. No need to remove moisture from each and every ume, using dry, clean cloth.
3. 再度水洗いして、ザルにあけ、水を切ります。乾いた、きれいな布で一つ一つ水分を取る必要はありません。 
4. Rinse a Tupperware container in water, and turn upside down to drain. No need to completely dry it or sterilize with alcohol.
4. タッパー容器は、水洗いし、逆さにして水を切ります。完全に乾かすとか、アルコール消毒をする必要はありません。 

Notes: Do I need to soak ume overnight to remove aku (harshness)?
I don't think you need to, unless the ume are very unripe. No need to soak ripe ume.

Should I freeze ume?
I can say from an experiment that there are no major difference (between frozen and unfrozen ume) in the rate at which to extract the extract or in flavor. Besides, even frozen ume will ferment!
Freezing ume means that you need to delay ume syrup making for half a day or a whole day. Freezing is not very effective except in cases where you want to delay the making intentionally.
注:梅を水に一晩漬けて、灰汁を取るべきか? よほど未熟でない限り、不要だと思います。熟した梅では不要。
梅は冷凍すべきか? 私の実験では、エキスの出る速さ、味に大きな違いはないです。それに、冷凍しても発酵します! 

5. Put ume in Tupperware container. (In the photo, 2.5 kg ume in a 5-liter Tupperware container)
5. タッパー容器に梅を入れます(ちなみに、写真では5Lのタッパーに2.5キロの梅)。
6. Add sugar. Put on the lid, shake the container to make sure that ume and sugar are in contact.
6. 砂糖を入れます。蓋をして、容器を振り、梅と砂糖を接触させます。 
Note: Should I use rock sugar?
Ume syrup making differs from umeshu making. The point is to get extract from the ume as soon as possible. In the respect, shirozato (Japanese white sugar) is more advantageous.
注:氷砂糖を使うべきでは? 梅酒作りとは異なり、できるだけ早く梅からエキスを出すのがポイント。白砂糖のほうがその点有利。

7. Shake container occasionally to accelerate the extraction of the extract. You will get this much in a single day.
7. 時折、容器を振り、エキスの抽出を促進します。一日でこんなに出ます。
8. Day 2. Shake occasionally to accelerate the extraction.
8. 二日目。同様に、時折振って、エキスの抽出を促進します。 
9. Day 3. You can now get almost all the extract. When you use a Tupperware, you can shake it easily, so you can get extract that soon.

10. Day 4. Almost all the extract has come out. Fermentation is now a major concern. Depending on various factors, separate sryup from ume in 3-5 days.
10. 四日目。エキスはほぼ出尽くし、発酵が心配。色々な条件で変わると思いますが、3~5日後にシロップと梅を分けます。
You will get about 940 g syrup from 1 kg ume and 500 g sugar. Ume will reduce to about 560 g in weight.
1キロの梅と500 gの砂糖から、シロップが約940 gできます。梅は560 g程度に重さが減ります。 
Is the ume to sugar ratio not 1:1?
I can say from my experience that a ratio of about 1:0.45 is just right, and you won't get sugar at the bottom of the container.
At a ratio of 1:0.5, you will get some sugar left at the bottom. Use it to make uma jam.

Note that the syrup in the photo above is pinkish probably because of riper ume than others.
注:梅と砂糖の割合は1:1では? 経験では、1:0.45程度がちょうどよく、容器の底に砂糖が溜まりません。 
19.  1:0.5だと、底にちょっと砂糖が残ります。梅ジャム作りに使って下さい。
Making ume jam:
1. Microwave ume for 3 min. or so. Then, transfer to an enameled pot.
1. まず梅を電子レンジで3分程度加熱します。その後に、ホーロー鍋に移します。

Note: Why do I need to microwave them first?
If you heated them in an enameled pot without preheating, you could easily burn them. That's why you need to preheat them in a microwave.
注:なぜ電子レンジで加熱? ホーロー鍋で加熱すると、焦げやすいので、電子レンジで予め加熱します。

If the ume are soft enough, you can mash them with a bamboo spatula easily. If they are hard, you may need to heat them additionally.
The ume in the photo were so hard that I was unable to mash them, so I added 100 ml water, put on the lid, heated for several minutes over very low heat to soften.
この写真の梅は、硬くて、潰せなかったので、水を100 ml入れ、蓋をして、ごく弱火で数分加熱して、柔らかくしました。

2. Then, add sugar, mix slightly, and ume jam is done.
2. その後、砂糖を入れ、ちょっと混ぜて完成です。
Note about the amount of sugar
For my early attempts, I added the same amount of sugar as the ume or 70-80% of the ume, but later, I reduced the amount to around 20%. Adjust the amount to suit your preferences.
砂糖の量は? 私も最初は梅と同量とか、7、8割も入れたことがあるのですが、その後、2割程度まで下げました。好みで調整を。

3. Let cool, put in a Tupperware Container, for example, and store in the fridge. 
3. 冷めてからタッパー容器などに入れ、冷蔵庫で保管します。
I just can't take out the seeds! It's mottainai! You will enjoy chewing the seeds like you would when having an umeboshi!

You could sterilize glass jars by boiling and store ume jam in them, but I don't because it's cumbersome. You may want to freeze uma jam instead.


Treating the ume syrup:
1. Put syrup in an enameled pot, heat up to around 80 degrees C, and sterilize by heating for several minutes. Don't bring to a boil!
1. シロップはホーロー鍋に入れ、80度程度まで加熱し、混ぜながら、数分間加熱殺菌します。沸騰はさせないで! 
2. Put on the lid and let cool.
2. 蓋をして、冷まします。
3. Transfer to a clean PET bottle. Store in the fridge.
3. きれいなペットボトルにあけます。冷蔵庫で保存します。  
Note: If the PET bottle is a clean one, not touched by a lip, don't bother to rinse it.
The PET bottle in the photo above is a shochu bottle with a capacity of 4 liters. I didn't rinse it. I didn't rinse the one that contained mineral water.
To use an unclean one, put in some water first and then hot water from the thermos to raise the temperature above 50 degree C and sterilize.
Don't put in hot water! Otherwise, the PET bottle will be deformed and become unusable.

 If you fail to sterilize the syrup by heating properly, the syrup may ferment. If the PET bottle is swollen, loosen the cap to release the air.
How this recipe was created
Culmination of my ume sryup & ume jam making over the five years! When you have home-made ume sryup and ume jam in your house, you can use them in a variety of ways, like mixing with water and drinking, making "ume hi" ("ume sour"), using in cooking, etc., etc. You can make them only around this time of year, so I encourage you to take the challenge! 
5年間に渡る梅シロップ&梅ジャム作りの集大成! 手作りの梅シロップと梅ジャムが家庭にあると、薄めて飲む、梅ハイ(梅サワー)にする、料理に使う、などなど、楽しみが増えます。この時期にしか作れないので、是非挑戦してみてください!

Ume hi (ume sour), made with shochu, ume syrup, ume jam, and water.



Making Low-Salt Umeboshi, Day 9, Final Post for Now/低塩梅干し作り、9日目、今のところ最終投稿

Yesterday (Day 8), I made several decisions after discussing with my wife, who is the major consumer of umeboshi in my family. We agreed that the umezuke (pickled ume), made by adding 20% sugar to ume pickled in salt water for 5 days but not dried for 4 days,
were not bad after all. In fact, they were quite tasty. So, I decided to follow my father's recipe until the end.

In Japan, we are now in tsuyu (rainy season), and yesterday was really a lucky day for me. As I described in the preceding post, I started to dry some of the ume in the sun early in the morning (before 7), while leaving the others indoors. At around noon, I checked the ume outdoors, and was surprised to see that they had turned reddish.
I immediately started to dry the other ume in the sun. Notice the difference in color.
Unfortunately, the ones that I started to dry in the sun after noon did not turn reddish at around 3:30, probably because of less intense sunlight.
Ume that I started to dry in the sun early in the morning:
I decided to end the drying process yesterday. Rain was expected for today (and it's raining right now).

I followed my father's recipe for 200 g of the ume first.
父のレシピをまず200 gの梅で試しました。 
Add 40 g sugar, and some shochu with an alcohol content of 35%.
砂糖を40 g、アルコール度数35%の焼酎を少し入れます。 
(Again, I used 25% shochu.)

Shake the container gently to mix them.
This morning, I checked the low-salt umeboshi.
I tasted one, and found it was quite good.

Yesterday, I decided to leave the other dried ume (> 5 kg) unprocessed, put them in four I-Wrap bags, put two of them in the freezer and the other two in the vegetable compartment of the fridge.
For these ume, we can select from three options: 1. Have them as they are, without adding salt or sugar; 2. Add 3% salt to make them taste like conventional umeboshi (I found that 6% was too much for me); and 3. Add 20% sugar, by following my father's recipe.
この梅に関しては、選択肢が3つ: 1.塩も砂糖も足さずにそのまま食べる、2.塩を3%足し、普通の梅干しのような味にする(6%は私には多過ぎました)、3.父のレシピ通り、砂糖を20%足す。

The umeboshi that I made by adding 6% salt were too salty for my taste, as I described above, so I rinsed them in water to remove some excess salt.

The end.

June 27, 2016

Making Low-Salt Umeboshi, Day 8/低塩梅干し作り、8日目

Yesterday, I transferred the ume from the Tupperware container to an I-Wrap bag, and put it in the fridge. Last night, I tasted one, and found it was quite salty. To be more precise, I had the feeling that when sourness and saltiness were combined, the human taste bud might get them mixed up and mistakenly sense the sourness as saltiness.
This morning, I took the bag out of the fridge,  
and had one with a bit of hot rice.
Salty for sure but has turned slightly mellow.
After having the salty umeboshi, I started to think that my father's low-salt umeboshi were not bad after all. I asked my wife to taste the salty version as soon as possible and tell me her opinion.

Today, it's sunny, so I started to dry some of the ume in the sun.
I will leave the others indoors to see if the two versions will differ in flavor and texture.
To be continued.