Umeboshi are pickled ume fruits, which are used as an accompaniment to rice in Japanese cuisine. They have a sweet and sour flavour, and can be intensely salty.
I don’t often cook with umeboshi, but it is an interesting ingredient to experiment with. Just don’t pop a whole one in your mouth, the flavour is too intense for them to be eaten that way.
What is Umeboshi?
Umeboshi are pickled ume fruits (which are a cross between an apricot and a plum). Umeboshi is often referred to as a pickled plum though.
To make umeboshi, young ume fruits, are soaked in brine with red shiso leaves, which add flavour and a pinkish red colour. These finished plums have a sweet/sour/salty flavour, although the exact flavour varies depending on the type that you buy.
Where to buy Umeboshi?
You can find whole umeboshi (pictured above) and umeboshi paste in some Asian markets and gourmet grocery stores. The Japanese grocery that I bought mine from had different variations of umeboshi plums in the cold section of their store. I bought two kinds, and preferred the one labelled “Shiso Umeboshi” as it was a bit sweeter than the Tsubo Ume pickle.
You can also find these products online. I have tried the Eden Umeboshi Paste, which is available on Well.ca and on Amazon. It tastes alright, but it’s very expensive.
Personally, I prefer the flavour of the whole umeboshi which is found in the fridge section of speciality stores. You can buy whole umeboshi from Amazon, but they are likely not the kind that needs to be refrigerated. Still, it’s a decent option if you cannot find any in your area.
How to use Umeboshi?
While umeboshi is often served on top of plain white rice, you can also use it in marinades and dressings. If you’re using these pickled plums for the first time, be sure to add a little at a time as the flavour is very strong. Just a small bite can make your mouth pucker from the sour taste and extreme saltiness.
How to store Umeboshi?
If you bought your umeboshi from the refrigerated section of the store, then be sure to store it in the fridge. While some brands are shelf-stable, others may require refrigeration after opening. Be sure to follow the instructions in your package.
What to cook with Umeboshi?
This is not a sponsored post, but it does contain an Amazon affiliate link.
I am not necessarily endorsing this brand, it’s just what is available at my grocery store.