As we head into early spring, it’s the perfect time for us not only to enjoy warmer weather but also to appreciate stunning flowers. Generally, most plants bloom in spring and produce fruit in summer and fall. However, have you noticed that there are some special plants that produce fruit in the spring after blooming in the winter? One of these is the plum tree! It’s not difficult to find plum trees in Hong Kong, but have you ever wondered if plums are the fruit of plum blossoms?
In this issue of Channel 823, we share the differences between green plums and yellow plums, and also teach you how to make your own delicious umeshu (Japanese plum wine) at home – the perfect pastime while you’re stuck at home because of COVID-19. By the time the pandemic is over, you’ll be able to enjoy the umeshu you brewed at a celebration party!
Plum trees can be divided into ornamental plums and edible plums. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is by the colour of the flowers. Generally speaking, pink plum blossoms produce ornamental plums, while white plum blossoms give us edible plums. However, what is the difference between the green plums and yellow plums that we commonly see in daily life? What kinds of plums are used to make plum jam, which is common as a cooking ingredient, and which ones do we use to make umeshu?
Green plums are unripe plums that begin to fruit between late March and early May each year. Being thin-skinned, thick and juicy, with high acidity and low sweetness, green plums are often used for pickling, brewing and making vinegar.
When green plums gradually ripen to 80% or 90%, they become yellow plums, which are usually picked in early June. The aroma of yellow plums is so strong that they are often used to make dried plums, plum sauce and plum dew (a liqueur). The plum jam that is common for cooking is made from yellow plums, which have a rich and sweet taste.
Umeshu’s sweet and sour flavours and nice aroma are very appealing to many people. Since most of us are cooking a lot at home during the pandemic, it’s the perfect opportunity to make our own unique umeshu! Think about it: if you take this time to master the art of making homemade umeshu, when the pandemic is finally behind us you can share some with your loved ones and raise a celebratory toast!
A glass jar with a lid (approximately 2000ml)
400g plums (green or yellow)
400g rock sugar
720ml liquor (shōchū, double-boiled rice wine or whiskey)
A pinch of salt
With these five simple steps, you can easily make your very own unique and delicious umeshu at home. The process is simple and therapeutic. What are you waiting for? Try out this amazing umeshu recipe!
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