Neri Ume: How to Make Mild Tasty Umeboshi Plum Paste

We sometimes eat “Umeboshi (梅干し)” pickled Ume plums with a bowl of plain white rice at meals and many Japanese home cooks like to place a piece of Umeboshi plum at the center of the rice packed in the bento box as well as putting the Ume plum inside Onigiri rice balls.

As you may already know, Umeboshi is a traditional Japanese food with more than 2,000 years of history originating from China. In general, the plums are so sour and salty that you will either like it or hate it.

Indeed, traditional Umeboshi usually has extreme sourness, but there is a common way to make it milder and tastier. The method is familiar to many Japanese and I think it is worth a try if you don’t like or can’t eat the pickled Ume plums.

Neri-Ume (ねり梅)

Umeboshi plum on top of rice

The method I want those of you who dislike Umeboshi to know is to make the plum mild and tasty by making it into a paste or puree and adding seasonings such as sugar, Mirin sweet cooking rice wine, Japanese dashi broth mix, or foods like Katsuobushi dried bonito flakes and honey.

These seasonings and foods can add depth of umami to Umeboshi plums and make them tastier and milder. Incidentally, the Umeboshi plum paste is generally called “Neri Ume (ねり梅: Kneaded Ume)” in Japan.

If you are interested in this method, try adding some from the seasonings (sugar, mirin, dashi broth mix) and foods (Katsuobushi, honey) above to Umeboshi paste several times, and you will be able to find the mixing ratio you prefer. I recommend adding at least one sweet thing (sugar, mirin, or honey).

Popular Neriume Paste Recipe

Umeboshi PasteImage and Source of Recipe:

Lastly, I will give you an example of how to make mild, tasty Neri Ume Umeboshi paste. The recipe is popular on the leading Japanese recipe site,, by the way.

Ingredient Quantity
Umeboshi Plums 2 pieces
Sugar 1 teaspoon
Mirin 1/2 teaspoon
Katsuobushi (bonito shavings) 1g
  1. Remove seeds from Umeboshi plums
  2. Combine the Ume plum with sugar, mirin, and Katsuobushi shavings, and mince the plum flesh with a knife until it becomes pasty
  3. Ready to eat, enjoy the Neriume paste with rice or use it as a seasoning for pasta or the like!


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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