Japanese mothers and grandmothers are hardcore. Every year they make their own liqueur and June is the month to start preparing. Starting in late May, supermarkets stock ume (Japanese plums) in bags of 1 kilogram which cost around 700-900 yen per bag, alongside cartons of white liquor. I decided to join the mama-san frenzy and make my own umeshu this year.
1 kg ume
1 kg rock sugar (koori-zato), you can also substitute this with honey
1800 milliliters of white liquor, you can also substitute this with vodka or brandy
Large jar with tight lid
1. Soak ume in water for 2-4 hours so that you get all the dirt off the surface of the ume.
2. With a bamboo skewer, remove the stems.
3. You are now ready to add the contents into the jar. Add a layer of rock sugar, then a layer of ume. Repeat until you run out of the sugar and ume.
4. Add all 1800 milliliters of the liquor to the jar.
5. Seal the jar tightly and keep in a cool, dry place for 3-4 months.
This is the jar after only two days. The ume have floated to the top and the sugar sunk to the bottom. Notice that the beautiful green color of the ume is already yellowish.
Now, I'm gonna sit here and wait until October.
*Yoko lives in Tokyo. She loves dips, dashi and deals.