June 28, 2016

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.


dracuella said...

One of the many things I've come to love while learning about washoku is umeboshi. Living in Denmark, however, they're quite expensive to purchase and I usually have to get them abroad from the UK. So this year I thought I'd try and purchase one ume tree. Just a small one but my hope is I will have fruit within a few years and then I shall make my own umeboshi - trying out you and your father's recipe.
Thank you for a great blog with lots of inspiration for those of us who don't live in Japan.

Hiroyuki said...

Thanks for your comment. You must be exceptional! I know there are just a lot of non-Japanese people who hate umeboshi, and I'm not a huge fan of umeboshi myself!
Getting an ume tree should be a great idea, because that way, you can enjoy viewing the blossoms, having unripe ume, and finally having ripe ume!

I will make some modifications to my father's recipe next year. I'm thinking of pickling the ume in 5% salt (not salt water) first so I can get some umezu (ume vinegar).

dracuella said...

I think more people would like them if they just find the right one. I tried some (made in China) with far too high salt % and I could only really find use for them by drying them completely and using them in furikake. I think if I had stopped there, I'd probably be one of the ones who don't like umeboshi. Luckily I'm stubborn and found some others which I thoroughly enjoyed (on rice, that's my favourite).

Yes, I look forward to seeing the ume tree blossom early in winter, as I have read they do. My garden isn't big but there's still room for one more tree (I have an apple tree and a regular plum tree). I could only finde one place that sells them so I won't know which colour it is, though, that will be a surprise. And the fruits, I can't wait to try my own!

Umezu, that sounds interesting, what would you use it for? Do you have a specific purpose in mind? Oil-vinegar dressing for salads?

Hiroyuki said...

Traditional umeboshi contain as much as 20% salt. Contemporary ones contain much less, say, 12-10%. And, low-salt versions contain 8-3%, and are usually sweetened with honey. The ones you like may be low-salt ones.

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, umeboshi were a byproduct of umezu making in days of old. Umezu can be used in a variety of ways in cooking. For example, it can be used to make shibazuke. I hope I can make beni shoga (red pickled ginger), using home-made umezu.

muskratbyte said...

Oh please post your shibazuke and benishoga!!!!! I'm a pickle fanatic.

Hiroyuki said...

muskratbyte: Are you? I didn't know that!

I hope I can post them next year...