|Ume soaking in preparation for hachimitsu-ing.|
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.
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.
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.