June 10, 2016

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

Today, I received two boxes of ao (lit. blue, meaning unripe) ume (Japanese apricots or plums) from my father, who lives in Chiba prefecture. Almost 22 kg in total.
I rinsed them with water first.
Then, I removed the "heta" from each and every ume, using a bamboo skewer. The time-consuming part of ume syrup/ume jam making. While so doing, I always wonder if I can skip this step...
Because these ume are not store-bought, I have to divide them into three groups: those in good condition, suitable for ume syrup; those with bruises, which I use for ume jam; and those in bad condition, which I have to just throw away.
この梅は市販のものではないので、3つのグループに分ける必要があります: いい状態のもの(梅シロップ用);傷のあるもの(私は梅ジャムに使う);悪い状態のもの(私としては捨てるもの)。

Good ones:
I rinsed them again, and drained.

Ume for ume jam:
I rinsed them again, and soaked them in water until use.

Bad ones:
I just threw them away, feeling a little guilty.

I rinsed the glass jars, four of them in total, with water, and placed them upside down for a while to drain.
Then, I dried them. (I used them before they become completely dry.)
A common step is to completely dry the inside and sterilize the inside with alcohol. I really don't think this is necessary.
Another common step is to dry each and every ume with clean cloth. I don't think this is necessary, either.

I first put 2 kg of the ume in a glass jar with a capacity of 8 liters.
Then, I added 1 kg of sugar, shiro zato, to be exact. Rock sugar is usually used to make ume syrup, but I don't want to use it because it's twice as expensive than shiro zato.
次に、砂糖(正確に言うと、白砂糖)を1キロ入れました。 梅シロップを作るには普通、氷砂糖を使いますが、値段が白砂糖の2倍もするので、私は使いたくないです。
I added another 1.5 kg of ume and then 0.5 kg of sugar.
The ume to sugar ratio is 2 + 1.5 : 1 + 0.5 = 3.5:1.5 = 2.3:1. A common ratio is 1:1.
梅と砂糖の割合は2 + 1.5 : 1 + 0.5 = 3.5:1.5 = 2.3:1です。一般的な割合は1:1です。

After all, I used a total of 11.6 kg of the ume and 4.7 kg of sugar.
I put the 2.5 kg of ume in an enameled pot, turned on the gas,
and turned off the gas before the pot came to a boil.

I put them back to the pot, added 390 g of sugar (about 15%), and mashed them over very low heat for 2 minute or so.
鍋に戻して、砂糖を390 g(約15%)入れ、ごく弱火で、2分程度潰しました。  
I let my wife taste it, and she said it was OK. A common ratio is 1:1, though.
I don't bother to remove the seeds.

I still have 7 kg of ume left. I put 2.5 kg of them in the freezer and the remaining ones in the vegetable compartment of the fridge.


muskratbyte said...

How do you like to eat the ume jam? Do you mind sharing photos in an upcoming post?

Hiroyuki said...


OK, I think I'll post some photos if my wife, who is the major consumer of the ume jam, permits me to take them. I, for one, like to have it with yogurt.

You could be hooked on my ume jam, because it's sweet (but much less sweet than the store-bought kind), sour (well, very sour), and have some "egumi" (no English equivalent, roughly, harshness, bitterness, and astringency).