Umezuke vs. Umeboshi: Japanese Pickled Ume Plums
Ume (梅) is a tree that represents Japan’s winter season. It has beautiful white/pink blossoms and bears fruit.
Unlike Sumomo, the plum fruit doesn’t become sweet even after fully ripening and is sour and acidic.
Because of that, we usually process the plums into flavoring and use them in candies or eat them as Umeboshi or Umezuke.
Umezuke vs. Umeboshi
Umeboshi and Umezuke are relatively well-known outside of Japan, but many of us aren’t familiar with the latter.
That is because we consider Umezuke a kind of Umeboshi and call it just Umeboshi.
However, correctly, Umezuke slightly differs from Umeboshi, as explained below.
First, Umeboshi is a salted, dried Ume plum.
It is traditionally made by pickling ripe Ume plums in salt, whose concentration is 25 to 30 percent, and then dried for three days or so in the sun.
The salt content of traditional Umeboshi is high, which enables long-term preservation.
Since Ume is acidic even after ripened, traditional Umeboshi gets an extremely salty-sour taste during the making process.
On the other hand, unlike Umeboshi, the flesh of the Umezuke plum is soft and wet because not dried under the sun.
Incidentally, Kari Kari Ume is similar to Umeboshi and Umezuke, but the former uses unripe green Ume plums and thus has a pleasant crisp bite.
(Reference page: Wikipedia 梅干し)