Umezuke vs Umeboshi: Japanese 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 plum fruit doesn’t become sweet even after fully ripening and has a strong acidity.
Using the plum Ume, we Japanese make various kinds of processed foods, which include gummies with its flesh, potato snacks flavored with its extract, Kari Kari Ume, Umeboshi, and Umezuke.
Umezuke vs Umeboshi
The last 2 things, Umeboshi and Umezuke are fairly well-known overseas, but many of us Japanese aren’t actually familiar with the latter.
This is because we generally consider Umezuke to be included in Umeboshi, and it is often referred to as just Umeboshi.
However, correctly, Umezuke is a food slightly different from Umeboshi.
Then, how does the former differ from the latter? For people who are curious, this article will explain the difference.
First off, Umeboshi is a salted, dried Ume plum.
Traditionally, it is made by pickling ripe Ume plums in the salt whose concentration is 25 to 30 percent and then dried for 3 days or so in the sun.
The reason why traditional Umeboshi has a high salt concentration is for enabling long-term preservation.
Since ripe Ume plums are not sweet but naturally sour and acidic, Umeboshi plums made of them get an extremely salty-sour taste during the production process.
On the other hand, unlike Umeboshi, the flesh of the Umezuke plum is soft and wet because it isn’t dried in the sun.
By the way, Kari Kari Ume is similar to Umezuke, but it is made of unripe green Ume plums and thus has a pleasant crisp bite.
(Reference page: Wikipedia 梅干し )