How To Make Umeboshi

This recipe is original recipe gathered by Kawashima the Japan Store.

It’s our pleasure to provide you this recipe from scratch until the end as an example of how to make an umeboshi.

Please enjoy making Umeboshi in easy way that you can make it together with your family.

Please let us know if there are better methods and tools that is useful for making an umeboshi.

We wish that you could successfully make a delicious Umeboshi!


What is Umeboshi?

Umeboshi (梅干 or 梅干し), literally means "dried ume" or "dried plum" is pickled ume (plum) fruits that is a traditional Japan food.

Japanese people began making umeboshi during the Heian period (794-1185).

Ume (Prunus mume) is a species of fruit-bearing tree in the genus Prunus, which is often called a plum but is actually more closely related to the apricot.

Umeboshi is a popular kind of tsukemono (pickles) in Japan, and which tastes sour and salty. There is also sweet umeboshi, which is pickled with honey.

Known for its distinctive sourness, umeboshi usually served as side dishes for rice or as a filling for rice balls in bentos for breakfast and lunch.

what is umeboshi

In this article, we would like to tell you how to easily make umeboshi.

Let's try make umeboshi!

Click here to see our Recommended Product to Make Umeboshi

The Health Benefits of Umeboshi

Plum is very nutritious fruit. It contains a very well-balanced amount of minerals, calcium, potassium, iron, various vitamins, and proteins.

Umeboshi benefit

Health Benefit 1 Fatigue Recovery, Increasing Appetite


Plum contains Citric Acid, which is a source to recover from fatigue.

Plum also stimulating carbohydrates metabolism to work, which is accelerating energy metabolism.

Thus, it supports body fatigue recovery and prevents our body from get tired easily.

In addition, citric acid can stimulate secretion of saliva which also increasing the appetite.

It also able to increase the secretion of digestive enzymes, helps digestion and absorption of food.


Health Benefit 2 For Anti-Aging and Skin Softening


There's another benefit of citric acid.

Citric acid in plum stimulate the metabolism and stimulate to discharge the waste in the body.

In addition, plum contains abundant antioxidant ingredients such as "polyphenol", "vitamin E", and "plum lignan".

With these, beautiful skin and aging prevention can be expected from consuming umeboshi.


Health Benefit 3 Sterilization, Food Poisoning Prevention


Another function of "citric acid" is a "bactericidal action".

It is well known that placing Umeboshi in a box lunch makes it less prone to bruise.

Once citric acid got inside of the body, it can be expected to prevent the bacteria that causing food poisoning.


Health Benefit 4 Improving Liver Function, Improving Blood Circulation


The ingredient "pyruvic acid" contained in Umeboshi is said to have a function to improve liver function.

Moreover, consuming heated plum such as jam, will be produced "mume flur" ingredient which improves blood circulation.

Umeboshi is considered to be useful to improve the blood circulation, prevent blood clotting, and to prevent lifestyle-related disease such as arteriosclerosis.


Health Benefit 5 Prevent Stomach Cancer


The result of recent research found that the ingredients contained in plum have the benefit of suppressing the growth of "Helicobacter pylori" which the cause of stomach cancer.

The ingredient called "syringaresinol" which is a type of antioxidant "plum lignan" contained in plum.

By consuming it little by little every day, it is expected to able to prevent the cancer.


How to Make Umeboshi

make umeboshi

Ingredients: (For pproximately 1 kg portion)

  • - Ripe plums (Yellow coloured plums) 1 kg

  • - Salt (Sea salt/coarse salt) 180-200 g

  • - Momijiso (Crumpled red shiso/perilla leaves) 200-300 g


1. Remove the Plum's Stem

Using bamboo skewers, carefully remove plum stem one by one.

《 Important Point 》
Use yellow coloured ripe plums which is soft.
If the plum is still green, place it on a basket, cover with newspaper for about 3 days in a cool place, let it be until it ripe. You can use it once it ripe and changed into yellow coloured plum.


2. Wash the Plum

Wash the plum carefully one by one with cold water.


3. Wipe the Plum from Moisture

Gently wipe the washed plum with clean towel.

Make sure that you have wiped it dry, because if not, it will cause molding.


4. Put the Plums and Salt in Pickles Bag

Put the bag in the container (see the picture), put the plum and the salt after.

Shake the bag until the plum and salt mixed well.


5. Twist the Mouth of the Bag (see picture 5)

To pull out the air, twist the mouth of the bag.


6. Place the Stone Weight On the Top

Place the stone weight on the top of the plum, the weight should be the same as plum or twice of the plum’s weight.


7. Cover the Storage

Cover it with paper or cloth and put it in a cool and dark place with good air circulation.

After about a week, the plum vinegar will come up.

umeboshi make

8. Check the Condition of Plum Vinegar

About a week later, plum vinegar will rise up inside the bag, if the plum is immersed, it is a good sign to plum to be soaked/pickled.

umeboshi make

9. Add Momijiso (Crumpled red shiso/perilla leaves pickled in red)

Put the Momijiso on the top of plums directly without gap.

Place the lid in the container and place a heavy stone (or plastic bottle) weighed about half the weight of plum from above.

Let it soaked for two weeks.

umeboshi make

10. Put the Plums in Draining Basket and Dry It Under the Sun (Summer Airing)

In the middle of July, the rainy season will end, replaced by clear weather. Dry the plums and shiso for three days and three nights long. During this time, put a good ventilation under the draining basket. Flip over the plums once during the day.

Wrap the mouth of container, the sunlight will serve as a sterilization for the plums. Keep the dried vinegar in the refrigerator.

umeboshi make

11. Check the Condition of Dried Plums

When all the plums dried up, wipe the salt from the plums.

The dried up plums will weighed about half of raw plums.

make umeboshi

12. Put the Dried Plums in Red Vinegar, Save It In A Storage, and It’s Done!

Move the dried plum to a container which contains the plum vinegar and save it in a cool and dark place, or you can keep it in a clean container as it is. If you like it, you can also put the Shiso to the container as well.

Put it inside the container, keep it in a cool and dark place. If you can inhale the smell of plum vinegar, it's ready to be consumed.

make umeboshi

Delicious Umeboshi is Finished!

We have finished making the Umeboshi.

The taste of homemade Umeboshi, made with time and effort is special.

Umeboshi contains citric acid which able to helps to recover from fatigue in hot weather.

Click here to see our Recommended Product to Make Umeboshi

Handmade Umeboshi Q&A

Umeboshi question

What should I do if the umeboshi are salty?
Let's try to reduce the salt. You can put the finished umeboshi in the water and drain the salt.
Put plenty of water and salt inside a bowl, you can do the salt removal by soaking the umeboshi for about half a day.
Estimation: In half a day, salt will reduce approximately from 18% to 13%
Plum vinegar didn't come up from raw plum, the mold got attached to the plums.
To remove the mold from the plums, put shochu (Japanese spirit distilled from sweet potatoes, etc.) to the plums which isn't attached to the mold, let it be soaked in plum vinegar.

Important notes to avoid molding
Since the reduction salt of umeboshi (about 10%) will be easily got molded,
it's recommended to completely soak the umeboshi at 18%-20% and you can do the salt removal later to adjust the taste.

Let's use the salt with rough and moist grains.

The salt will be easier to infiltrate into the plums and it also preventing mold and improving the taste.
(It is even more effective to put salt on the surface of umeboshi inside a bag)

We have to sterilize the utensils (containers, pickles bags, heavy stones etc.) that will make a contact with plums. You can use alcohol for kitchen, etc.

How to Eat Umeboshi

Umeboshi indeed has very sour and salty flavor. But it also indeed has a lot of health benefits.
Although it's sour and salty, but Japanese people really love that flavor of umeboshi. This is perhaps because long time ago, like in Edo and Nara period, most of foods in Japan have very light flavor.
Then, there's this umeboshi who has thick flavor and therefore umeboshi become a food with tasty and unique flavor for Japanese people.

eat umeboshi

Japanese people usually eat umeboshi as side dishes for rice, or as a filling for rice balls (onigiri), or in their rice in bentos for breakfast and lunch.

If you live in a country with strong-flavored foods with spices everywhere, you might frown upon the taste of umeboshi. But, there are several ways to eat umeboshi to make it more delicious!

Eat umeboshi with sasami (chicken breast meat)

If you combine the flavor of umeboshi and chicken meat, it will not taste very sour and salty anymore. Instead, this combination will has savory flavor with some hints of sourness.
To eat umeboshi with chicken meat, Japanese people usually use sasami (chicken breast meat).

There are several ways to eat umeboshi with sasami.
First, you can cut the umeboshi to small pieces or crush it so it became paste and just put it on the top of half-raw or cooked chicken breast.
Second, you can chop the umeboshi until it become like paste (you can also add sake and mirin to mix in the umeboshi paste), and make it as a fill inside the chicken breast, then grill or fry it.
Third, you can make sasami-umeboshi roll by flattening the chicken breast, and using chopped umeboshi mixed with perilla leaves as the filler, and roll it just like sushi.

eat umeboshi

Eat umeboshi with cucumber

Japanese people loves to eat umeboshi with cucumber.
You can chop or crush the cucumber, then sprinkle and mix some salt and/or vinegar on it, then mix the salted cucumber with chopped umeboshi. You can also add ginger.
The other way is, to cook the sliced or chopped umeboshi with cucumber, pork meat, sausage, and perilla leaves on fry pan.

eat umeboshi

Eat umeboshi with cold tofu or spaghetti

Hiyayakko (冷奴) or cold tofu is one of the good partner for umeboshi. Put the umeboshi on cold tofu and just eat them together. You can also add katsuobushi (dried tuna/bonito).
There is also "Japanese style spaghetti", which is a spaghetti with some Japanese foods mixed with it. In this Japanese style spaghetti, Japanese people usually put minced umeboshi in it.

eat umeboshi

These are some ways of eating umeboshi that make it more delicious. For you who cannot stand the strong flavor of umeboshi, maybe these can be your choices of eating it!

Recommended Product for Umeboshi-making

Perilla Shisho
Momijiso (Red shiso/perilla leaves) 100g - Wakayama Organic, Non-chemical Fertilizer Cultivation
This product of Momijiso is perilla's leaves that cultivated organically, with no chemical fertilizer grown in Wakayama, and pickled thoroughly with Okinawa Salt Shimamazu and white plum vinegar. All the processes of making this Momijiso such as sun-drying process, were done carefully by hand. This is a high quality Shiso (Perilla). Ideal for making umeboshi

Product's Page
Tokunoshima Natural Salt "Mashu" 200g
It is a natural salt made by a traditional manufacturing method on the Amami Islands, Tokunoshima. Sweetness that remains slightly after licking and taste produced by the grace of the sea are the features of this salt. This salt will enhance the taste of the cooking ingredients, such as meat and fish dishes, tempura and grilled chicken.

Product's Page

Recommended Product of Umeboshi

Organic Nanko Ume Grade A - 3 Years Matured -1 Kg (Organic Nanko Ume From Takeuchi Farm, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture)
Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture is home of Kishu Nanko Ume. Even among the authentic products of Kishu, the 3 Years Matured Nanko-Ume have received a rare organic JAS (Japan Agricultural Standards) Certification. In Takeuchi Farm, in order to deliver plum safely and securely to the costumers, we use wood vinegar which made from natural things as a repellent and using garlic, fish and oyster as foliar application for pickling process. We soak it with mineral salt and dried it thoroughly under the sun.

Product's Page
Special Cultivation Nanko Ume - 4 Years Matured -1 Kg (From Takeuchi Farm, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture)
Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture is home of Kishu Nanko Ume. Even among the authentic products of Kishu, it is a 4 years matured umeboshi made by a special cultivation. In Takeuchi Farm, in order to deliver plum safely and securely to the costumers, we use wood vinegar which made from natural things as a repellent and using garlic, fish and oyster as foliar application for pickling process. We soak it with mineral salt and dried it thoroughly under the sun.

Product's Page
Ryujin Ume Long-Term Aged Umeboshi (3 Years Matured) 280g
The highest mountain in Kishu, Mt. Gomadan. Clear current flowing through the valley of Hidakawa river. Ryujin ume is made in this Ryujin village where nature and history have been nurtured. Matured for 3 years, this ume has a delicious mild taste. The strong and deep taste of an umeboshi, came out nicely because of the long-term maturity.

Product's Page