Umeshu Season Begins at Home

March 2022

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!

Green plums and yellow plums: what’s the difference?

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

Green plum trees bear fruit between late March and early May each year.

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.

Yellow plums

Yellow plums can usually be seen in early June.

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.

How to make delicious umeshu at home?

Channel 823 teaches you how to make your own delicious umeshu at home, which is a fun way to spend the long hours at home during the pandemic. Once the pandemic is behind us, you’ll be able to celebrate with your relatives and friends by enjoying a glass of your home-brewed umeshu.

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!

Equipment

A glass jar with a lid (approximately 2000ml)

A knife

Some toothpicks

Ingredients

400g plums (green or yellow)

400g rock sugar

720ml liquor (shōchū, double-boiled rice wine or whiskey)

A pinch of salt

Steps

  1. Wash the plums in salt water and wipe dry, removing the stems to avoid a bitter taste.
  2. Prepare your glass jar by sterilising it at a high temperature. Ensure the jar is completely dry so as to prevent mould forming.
  3. Use a knife to make a cross at the bottom of each plum, or use a toothpick to poke holes on the surface. This helps the plum flavour to permeate the alcohol. Put the plums into the jar.
  4. Add the rock sugar and then pour the liquor into the jar.
  5. Leave the jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight for a minimum of six months.

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!

Useful tips to make umeshu

  • Use fresh, nice-looking and shiny plums for making umeshu to achieve better results.
  • Green plum wine tastes sweet and sour while yellow plum wine has a strong aroma.
  • You can choose your preferred liquor, which will affect the flavour of the resulting wine. It is recommended that the liquor should contain at least 20% alcohol by volume.
  •  The rock sugar should cover the top of the plums to prevent the plum wine from getting mouldy.

Original posts on Link’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/548020201992864/posts/4670880436373466/?d=n

https://www.facebook.com/548020201992864/posts/4676677222460454/?d=n

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