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Ume Recipe Compilation

Ume soaking in preparation for hachimitsu-ing.
Ume (Japanese plums) are beginning to roll in, so it seemed appropriate to offer up a set of recipes to make use of these little gems. I've had the best time making each of these recipes, along with a variety of jams from the umeshu and umehachimitsu fruits. They taste just as lovely if eaten slightly chilled and whole, too. I'll leave that up to you and your tastebuds. None of this is that difficult, but it does require a bit of time and attention. If you have the remotest interest, I would say to go ahead and try your hand. It will be delicious fun.

Umeshu
Possible the easiest recipe of all of these, and one that quickly inspired another whole series of shus. These alcoholic beverages are simple and delicious. (Yes, we have a cupboard full of these lovely fat jars steeping away. Yes, it is called the Shu Closet.) The hardest part, as a friend here once quipped, is waiting until its ready. Six months is the shortest recommended time, although a year is when it is usually best.

Umehachimitsu
This is another ridiculously easy way to make use of this seasonal fruit sans alcohol. It is our favorite summer drink. Pour a ladleful into a glass and top up with cold sparkling water. My husband claims it is better than lemonade, but I remain skeptical of this claim. I love both equally. When I knew I had a long day in the heat at the farm, I would ladle some into a PET bottle, fill it with tap water, and pop it in the freezer. It was the most refreshing beverage I could ask for out in the eggplant field or the tomato greenhouse.

Umeboshi
These pickled plums tend to a love-it-or-leave-it kind of dish for many. The strong salty-sour taste can be a shocker, but it is a personal favorite. I loved it enough to make a batch during our first year and loved it. A very nice side effect is homemade furikake from the red shiso leaves.

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