Japanese plum liqueur called “ume-shu” is well consumed in Japan. As it goes well with any foods, the popularity is constant. Taverns or pubs serve it, and supermarkets or liquor stores sell bottled or canned one.
The recipe is simple
Some people enjoy home-made ume-shu which preserves years ago, making it every year. The recipe is simple, but there are variety of flavors which ingredients are used, and how sweet it is. The basic recipe is like this; aoume (green Japanese plums) that removed calyxes and sugar crystals put into jar sterilized by boiling water, and fill the jar with colorless liquor mainly “shochu” made by the continuous distillation process. The lid of the jar tightly closed, and lay down more than 6 months. The longer preserved, the deeper flavor will be. Depend on the amount of sugar crystals, the taste is different. Using honey, unrefined sugar or brown sugar instead of the sugar crystals is possible. Also, brandy instead of shochu has a good flavor and aroma. 35% alcohol content by volume should be used. You can enjoy the harmony of balanced those.
How would you prefer to drink?
On the rocks, diluted with water, or soda, like whisky? Or diluted with hot water? That makes your body warm.
As the plum is called Japanese apricot, it is about same size of apricot or smaller. It is on a market from May to June. There are several kinds of plum trees, and the fruit is totally produced around 100,000 tons/per year throughout Japan. Nanko-ume in Kishuu (Wakayama region) is well known for the largest planted area in Japan.
Given that several tens of thousands of tons of plums are imported from China, it is obvious that many kinds of plum products are sold. At supermarkets, souvenir shops, or convenience stores, you will be able to find ume-boshi (pickled plum) and ume flavored products such as candies, gums, jellies, beverages, etc.
It has been said that the green plum cannot be eaten raw, because it contains hydrocyanic acid, which develops toxic symptoms. You can eat the plums in ume-shu that preserved in liquor for a long time, and enjoy the taste. Actually, they are good for your health. It is known that Japanese plum is a prominent health food, containing an abundance of nutrients. The effect of some organic acids such as citric acid is restored your tired body. It seems ume-shu has healing qualities. I hope you try some ume-shu, as well as other ume flavored products.