Skip to main content

Ume Hachimitsu: The recipe and a few suggested variations

Ume soaking in preparation for hachimitsu-ing.
Ume (Japanese plum) season is winding down as rainy season comes to a close. Starting out green and hard, most shoppers will now find these little round fruits a bit yellow and, on occasion, with a red blush. And while there is plenty of umeshu tucked away in our closets (along with two new variations: rhubarb natsu mikan and ume amanatsu mikan), there was a distinct shortage of ume hachimitsu. A sweet and sour beverage made from honey and vinegar, ume hachimitsu is the best drink on a hot summer day.

Unlike its delicious counterpart, umeshu, ume hachimitsu is alcohol-free so kids can drink it. I used to pour a few tablespoons in a bottle, top it off with water, and pop it in the freezer before going to the bed. The next morning I grabbed it as I headed out to the farm to harvest tomatoes in the greenhouse or trim the eggplants. It cooled and refreshed as well as rehydrated.

 As my husband likes to say, “Move over, lemonade. There’s a new game in town.” 

Ume Hachimitsu 

1 kilogram ume (Japanese plums)
1 kilogram hachimitsu (honey)
1.8 liters of vinegar

Big glass jar with lid

Soak the plums for a few hours to let any bugs wander out and make it easy to remove any stem bits. Drain, remove the stem bits, and plop in the ume. Pour in the vinegar. Pour in the honey. Put on the lid, label the jar, and set it in a cool, dark place for about a month. Serve with sparkling or regular water. Enjoy!

Caveats and alternative ingredients 
If ume are not readily available, don’t be shy to use something else. Really, I think any fruit would be wonderful, but you might have to play with the ratios a bit to get the desired flavor. Doesn't seem like such a bad job, does it?

I would recommend trying it with the following:
 - rhubarb (I just made an experimental batch of this, and will keep folks posted.)
 - regular plums
 - apples, preferably sour
 - lemons
 - red raspberries

I use rice vinegar because that's what I have in the shops. Standard white vinegar or cider vinegar would work very well, too. I might lean more toward cider vinegar for its softer flavor, but again, experiment away!


Munirah said…

I used ACV and honey.
I just prepared a batch of yellow plums and a batch with red plums.

do you leave the lid on or do you screw the lid on?

I want the outcome to be vinegar drink and not hard cider.
I screw the lid on and leave it. I think it should be fine, but if you are worried, you can check it periodically.

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro