4 August 2023

Ume Preparation Final: The Homestyle Plum Delights

Finally after several days of committed plum work, here is the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor!

We tried tasting Umeboshi (pickled plums), honeyed Umeboshi, dried red perilla, plum juice, and plum wine.


Minako Yamada

Writer and Editor
Owner of a cultural space in Tokyo with the theme of "Literature, Vintage Clothing, and Café." She has a strong interest in primitive art, contemporary art, philosophy, cultural anthropology, and discourse studies.


  • Umeboshi
  • Honey Umeboshi
  • Dried Red Perilla
  • Ume Syrup Soda
  • Plum Wine
  • Arrangements at Home


This time, we tried making two types of Umeboshi. One is a salty version with red perilla, and the other is sweetened with added honey and granulated sugar.

First, let's start with the red one.

Although their faces may look quite scrunched up, rest assured, everyone. This is the usual expression when enjoying delicious Umeboshi. As for my impressions, the prominent feature was the "exhilarating and sharp sourness."

Even before putting it in my mouth, the distinctive aroma made my mouth water. People who have been eating them for a while will naturally react this way, just like Pavlov's dogs.

Honey Umeboshi

We checked the aroma. It seems to have a sweeter scent than previous red ones. Does that mean the taste will also be sweet?

No! It was properly sour!

The lingering sourness on the tip of the tongue has indeed become slightly milder. Rather than a sweet treat, it was a milder version of umeboshi. It makes you crave plain white rice. If you want to enhance the sweetness a bit more, you could try increasing the amount of honey or granulated sugar used in the pickling process. Enjoy exploring and finding your preference.

We were getting hungry! Let's try eating them with some rice.

We put one whole Umeboshi inside and also crushed one on top. Then, to add some fragrance, we sprinkled a little sesame seeds on them.

The sweetness of the white rice and the sourness of the umeboshi are in perfect balance, making it enjoyable to experience different flavors with each bite. In addition, mixing the chopped umeboshi with the rice gives the dish a vibrant appearance and allows you to taste the flavor of the plum from any portion you eat.

Dried Red Perilla

We tried eating the red perilla that was dried together with the umeboshi.

We finely chopped it using a food processor.

They were finely chopped to just the right size! You can store them to use as one of the seasonings.

We made rice balls with a rice ball maker. The finer the shiso is chopped, the better its delightful aroma spreads in the mouth. Preferences may differ based on the level of drying as well, so while tasting repeatedly, find the best one that suits your taste.

Ume Syrup Soda

As our stomachs were full, we started feeling a bit thirsty. It was the perfect time to refresh our palates with fresh soda.

We have successfully made a well-soaked plum syrup. The plums inside may have become wrinkled, which is evidence that the plum essence has sufficiently permeated into the syrup. But be careful, if you leave the plums soaked for too long, fermentation may occur, and there is a possibility of a faint alcohol taste mixing in. Please try tasting the syrup and take out the plum fruits when you achieve your preferred flavor.

Let's give it a try!

We added carbonated water to the syrup and put the soaked plums into a glass. Bringing the glass closer to my face, I could smell the fresh yet profound aroma!

The plums were sweet and delicious! As the moisture is reduced, enjoying their slightly firm texture, reminiscent of dried fruits, adds to the taste. The concentrated sweetness makes them perfect as even a sweet treat. Chopping them finely and drinking them with a larger straw in plum juice also sounds like a delicious idea.

Plum Wine

Here is plum wine.

The fragrance was rich, and the flavor so complex, it left us questioning whether we actually made it ourselves. It's genuinely enticing for those who appreciate alcoholic beverages.

Arrangements at Home

We each took home a small portion of what we made this time. Allow us to share the creative ways we each enjoyed it in our own homes!

Plum-mixed "Onigiri" rice ball and smashed cucumber with plum.

“Ochazuke” (Rice with green tea soup broth)

Plum jam and yogurt. 

Plum wine

It was fun to personalize the flavors of all kinds of preserved plums according to everyone's tastes. Additionally, bringing home what we made and sharing it with family turned out to be a rewarding experience. While the process of making it was quite challenging, the journey itself was fun, and being able to enjoy it as a preserved food over a long period is one of the appeals of plum preparation, I believe.

If you're intrigued by plum preparation, why not give it a shot next time!