Every summer in August I receive a cardboard box filled with my favorite super special delicious 'edamame' from Niigata that I can't buy here, round egg plants, sweet corns and so on.
Under those vegetables a couple of jars of beautiful 'umeboshi' (pickled plums) appear which were made with lots of love and care of my sister-in-law.
I asked her how she makes it and asked her to send me photos.
Prepare good, ripened plums called "nankoh ume" from Wakayama Pref. its famous producing
district and also prepare red perilla leaves which make the plums bright red.
After washing and wiping each plum carefully put 10kg of plums and their 18％ of salt alternatively into a big pot and put the weight on it. On red perilla leaves, sprinkle salt and rub them to remove lye.
After a few days transparent fruity plum vinegar comes up. Put salted and rubbed red perilla leaves over the plum in the pot. "I'm always surprised with and admire this beautiful color
like ruby." she sighs. Plums are kept under the perilla leaves until the rainy season is over. This rainy season before summer is called "tsuyu" and written like 梅雨 in kanji meaning "plum rain".
When the rainy season is over, around the end of July, take the plums out of the pot and spread them out in baskets to dry them in the sun for three days and take them into the house for two nights.
On the third night, don't take them in a house but leave them outside through the night.And put them back into red plum vinegar in a pot and keep them in jars to store. All the work
finishes around in the middle of August.
Salty and sour pickled plums
are needed in a hot, hot summer.
They help our appetite to increase
and are used in various dishes.
I always appreciate the careful work
of my sister-in-law and enjoy the
traditional taste of Japan.