British plum umeboshi
- September 2022
- Makes around 500g
- Hands-on time 20 min, plus 2 weeks fermenting
Umeboshi are Japanese pickled ume plums (actually a type of apricot), which give a complex, salty-sweet-sour kick to dishes. Can’t get hold of ume? Try our easy British plum umeboshi recipe – it’s the perfect intro to pickling fruit.
Loved this recipe? Try simple pickled peaches next.
- 0.1g (no saturated)
- 6.1g (6.1g sugars)
- 500g small firm plums
- 150ml vodka
- 30-50g sea salt flakes
- 1 litre jar
- Inspect your plums and set aside any that are bruised, split or withered for another recipe – you need fruit in peak condition. Discard any stalks, rinse the fruit in water, then leave to dry.
- Sterilise a 1 litre jar (see Know How) and set aside. Pour the vodka into a small bowl. Ensure your hands, knife and chopping board are very clean, then, one by one, dip the plums in the vodka and wipe dry with kitchen paper – this gets rid of any bacteria remaining on the surface of the plums. (The vodka is fine to pour back in the bottle and use as normal.) Halve the plums and remove the stones.
- Weigh the plum halves and work out 10% of this weight in salt – for example, if you have 400g plum halves, you’ll need 40g salt. Beginning with a layer of salt, layer the plums into the sterilised jar, sprinkling each layer with more salt. End with a final layer of salt, then seal the jar.
- Leave the plums to ferment in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, turning the jar upside down from time to time, and opening and closing the lid every few days (this ensures the salt is evenly dispersed and that any built-up gases can escape). The salt should draw out the juice from the plums to create a brine. After 2 weeks, the plums are ready to use. Once opened, keep them in the fridge and use within 3 months.
Scale it up: Preserve as many plums as you like – you just need to use the correct ratio of salt to plums (see step 3).
5 ways to use umeboshi
Don’t be tempted to eat these as you would a normal plum – they’re very salty! Rinse under running water, then chop and use sparingly to add a sweet-sour salty hit to dishes.
– Try serving the plums alongside roast duck or pork
– Whizz to a purée and add to salad dressing
– Eat them finely chopped with steamed rice or sushi
-Use the brine in a sour cocktail as you would a shrub (drinking vinegar)
– Chop and stir through stews or salads as you would capers or preserved lemons
Discover how to sterlise jars.
Rate & review
Or, how about...?
Goat's cheese recipes
French mild goat’s cheese with plums in lavender syrup
This dessert of goat’s cheese with plums in lavender syrup...
Chocolate-dipped plums with Armagnac marzipan
Turn a humble piece of fruit into something special with...
Subscribe to our magazine
Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.Subscribe
Unleash your inner chef
Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter