Ingredients for 100g of ume

Fresh plums (青梅 / Ao ume) 100 g
Granulated sugar (グラニュー糖 / Guranyūtōh) 50% of the net weight of the plums
Coarse salt (あら塩 / Arajio) 3% of the net weight of the plums

 

Pickled Akashiso
Akashiso (赤しそ / Akashiso) 5 g (about 10 leaves)
Salt (塩 / Shio) 1 g
Water (水 / Mizu) 17 ml
Umezu (梅酢/ Umezu) 17 ml (rice vinegar will also work)

 

Utensils
Rubber gloves, 2 metal trays, 2 cutting boards, storage container, plastic wrap, weight (170g – 200g), paper towels, toothpick

How to Make

1. Prepare the akashiso. Rinse the leaves very well and use a clean towel to pat them dry. Cut off the stems. Place half of the leaves into a metal tray. Sprinkle 1/3 of the salt on top of the leaves.
2. Pour half of the water onto the top of the leaves. Use the remaining leaves to create a second layer of akashiso. Add another 1/3 of the salt and pour on the remaining water.
3. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the akashiso leaves, excluding as much air as possible. Cut the wrap large enough so that it runs up the sides of the metal tray. Place the second metal tray on top of the wrap and fill it with water so that it presses down upon the akashiso. Set aside for about 2 hours.
4. Put on the rubber gloves. Remove the tray with water. Remove the plastic wrap. Use your hands to press down on the akashiso leaves. This is to expel water and unwelcome flavor elements. Roll up the leaves and gently squeeze out the remaining water.
5. Carefully unroll the leaves. Sprinkle on the remaining salt. Use your fingers to gently rub the salted leaves. Roll up the leaves and gently squeeze them.
6. Wash one of the metal trays well and then spread the akashiso leaves out on it. Drizzle on the umezu. This will add color and flavor to the leaves. Set aside.
7. Wash the plums well, taking care not to damage them. Dry the plums with paper towels. Use a toothpick to remove the tiny disk where the stem was attached.
8. Use a knife to make a cut that goes down to the seed and all the way around the plum, top to bottom.
9. Place the plums onto a cutting board. Place a second cutting board on top of the plums. Press down on the second cutting board to separate the plum flesh from the seeds. Remove the top cutting board and use a spoon to remove the seeds from the plums. Weigh the plum flesh and measure out a volume of salt equal to 3% of the weight of the plums.
10. Gently squeeze the liquid from the akashiso leaves. Take a leaf, spread it out, and place two plum halves on top of the leaf, close to the end where the stem was attached. Roll the plum halves into the leaf one rotation, then fold the ends of the roll inward and continue rolling up the plum halves.
11. Place all of the rolls into a storage container, in a single layer. Sprinkle on the sugar and coarse salt. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the rolls, excluding as much air as possible. Place a weight on top of the plastic wrap, and then put the container into a refrigerator for about a month.

Recipe Developed by: Machiko Tateno

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