The Difference: Umezuke vs Umeboshi Pickled Ume Plums
“Ume (梅)” is a tree that represents Japan’s winter season. It has beautiful white or pink blossoms and bears fruit. The fruit, Ume plums don’t become sweet even after ripening well and feature having strong acidity.
Using Ume plums, we Japanese make various kinds of processed foods. Typical examples of such Ume products include gummies with Ume plum flesh, potato snacks flavored with salt and Ume plum extract, Kari Kari Ume, Umeboshi, and Umezuke.
Especially, the last 2 processed Ume plums, Umeboshi, and Umezuke seem to be widely known in overseas countries, though many Japanese aren’t familiar with the latter, Umezuke. This is because we generally consider Umezuke to be included in Umeboshi and it is often called just Umeboshi.
Umezuke vs Umeboshi
However, correctly, Umezuke is a food slightly different from Umeboshi, so for those who don’t know much about these Japanese pickled Ume plums, today let me explain how Umezuke is different from Umeboshi.
First off, Umeboshi are salted dried Ume plums. Traditionally, it is made by pickling ripe Ume plums in the salt whose concentration is 25 to 30 percent, then dried for 3 days or so in the sun. The reason why traditional Umeboshi plums have high salt concentration is for enabling their long-term preservation. Since ripe Ume plums are not sweet, but naturally sour and acid, the Umeboshi plums made of the base ingredient get an extremely salty-sour taste during the producing process.
Umezuke are soft, wet Umeboshi plums that aren’t dried in the sun. Incidentally, Kari Kari Ume is similar to Umezuke, but it is made of unripe green Ume plums. Unlike Umezuke, Kari Kari Ume features a pleasant crisp texture.
(Reference page of this article: Wikipedia 梅干し )