If you want the best products nothing can beat having good friends among local producers and farmers!
I got these rare organic plums (at least 5 kg!) thanks to my good friend, Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻美さん, Director of CHA-O, a company of tea bags in Shizuoka City.
As I was busy at University, she went all the way to Higashi Mine/東峰 in Umegashima/梅が島 (meaning !Plum Island”!), Shizuoka City to get these plums for me.
There she visited a plum tree plantation owned Mr. Imai/今井さん located near the highest tea fields in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Mr. Imai grows a variety of Japanese plums called Nankoubai/南紅梅. Japanese plums are not fit to be eaten raw, but can be pickled into umeboshi or preserved in vinegar or as sweet umeshu/plum wine which is the subject of this article!
Nankoubai plums are smaller, especially these as they are grown organically, than the ones you will find in markets which sell mass-produced plums which don’t compare when you consider taste and health!
Moreover, since these are grown in altitude they ripe at least one month later although they are harvested still half ripe for better results.
The plums are first cleaned under running water which is enough as no chemicals had been used whatsoever.
They are then wiped dried and their stems and stem “roots” taken out.
Last, a few small holes will be punched in each plum with a toothpick to allow good soaking.
The jar: choose one made of glass to allow you a good look at the contents without having to open it. This type comes in different sizes on the Japanese market. I chose one larger than the standard 4 liter-jar (20 cups) as I like to leave some space in case I need to top it later.
Do not forget to clean the jar, then kill all germs with boiling water and dry it!
Well. many people use many kinds, but the most popular is Koorizato/氷砂糖/”ice sugar”, very hard concentrated sugar.
I use 1 kg. Bear in mind it will take a few months only to melt!
1) The Japanese sake.
People usually add cheap and low-alcohol “white liqueur” easily found in the market. This is where the main difference between cheap and high quality umeshu will be clearly defined.
I use only top-class sake and shochu!
As for the Japanese sake I chose two brews from Negami Brewery In Gotemba City this year.: Tokubetsu Junmai Nama (unpasteurized)
2) The shochu:
I use only shochu made in Shizuoka Prefecture, more expensive, but certainly extravagant quality:
Acha no Tsubome/阿茶の局/ rice shochu ’25 degrees) made by Hana no Mai Brewery in Hamamatsu (1 full bottle9
En/円/rice shochu matured for two years in a Spanish Sherry barrel by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City (1/4 bottle)
Fuji no Tsuyu/富の露/rice shochu brwed by Fujinishiki Brewery in Fujinomya City (2/3 bottle)
I finally spiked the lot with 1/3 of vodka bottle which had lost half of its acohol through long storage!
No need to stir it yet!
I will keep it in dark place at a constant temperature and start stirring it around in about 4 months for uniformity of tatse.
The umeshu will turn a nice woody color.
We shall be able to drink and eat it in about 8~10 months!
CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES
With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento
Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery