Sunday, July 04, 2010
Ume Juice, Again
Forgive me for posting about this juice this late -- in July! Maybe some of you were planning to give it a try this year? But ume plum season is over now and I don't think anyone in Japan can find green, unripe ume plum at the store any more. Well, I could be wrong. I don't know about northern part of Japan like Hokkaido island...
Anyway, let me post this recipe for future reference. This is not a translation of any particular recipe -- it is more like a summary of several similar Japanese recipes.
UME PLUM JUICE
1 kg green, unripe ume plums
1 kg sugar
Wash and pat dry ume. Using a toothpick or something, remove the scab-like thing remaining at where the stem end was. Put the plums in a plastic bag and freeze for more than 24 hours. Place the frozen ume and sugar alternately in a jar. Close the lid and keep in a cool, dark place. Juice will start to come out in a few days and sugar will melt. Eventually it will be like thick syrup. It should be ready when the sugar is completely melt -- in about 10 days. Strain the syrup with a strainer lined with a paper towel or cheesecloth into another container. ** Refrigerate. To make a drink, thin the ume-flavored syrup with water. Adjust the amount of water depending on how strong you want the drink to be. Serve cold.
** My family usually skips this step so I didn't mention it before, but, according to some websites, the syrup will keep longer if you boil it. You could strain it back into the same jar and place it in a big pot with boiling water for about 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.
This site has good photos showing the procedure.
I used crystal sugar as in the top photo, but if you live in a warm region, maybe regular sugar is safer, because it melts faster with less risk of alcoholic fermentation occurring in the jar.