5 Recommended Ways to Eat Umeboshi Plums

“Umeboshi (梅干し)” is a traditional Japanese pickle made of ripe Ume plums pickled in salt and dried in the sun.

Characterized by strong acidity and sourness, Ume plums don’t become sweet even when the fruit has fully ripened.

So Umeboshi is usually pretty salty and sour. Despite that, we Japanese love the salted plums and enjoy them in various ways.

How to Eat Umeboshi Plums 

Umeboshi Plums

With a high salt concentration, Umeboshi has an antibacterial action and is effective in stimulating the appetite and recovering from fatigue. 

Therefore, if you know enjoyable ways to consume Umeboshi plums, you can pleasantly get various health benefits from the pickles. 

For Umeboshi beginners, today I will introduce 5 recommended ways to eat the pickled plums.

With Plain White Rice

Umeboshi on Hot White Rice

Umeboshi and steamed white rice are the most basic combination for us Japanese. The plain taste of rice calms the acidity and sourness of Umeboshi, making it a delight.

As the Main Ingredient in Ochazuke 

Garnished with salty or savory toppings, “Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” is a bowl of rice that’s been entirely soaked in hot green tea or soup. Umeboshi plums are a quintessential topping for Ochazuke.

As a Topping in Instant Ramen 

Instant Ramen with Umeboshi

Umeboshi unexpectedly pairs well with almost any flavor of instant ramen. My favorite is the combo with Nissin Cup Noodle Seafood. Cook instant ramen first and just put a piece of Umeboshi on top of it.

As a Garnish 

Simmered Fish with Umeboshi

In Japan, Umeboshi plums are commonly prepared as a garnish for the fish dish simmered in soy sauce sweetened with sugar, for the salty-sour plum can make its aftertaste refreshing.

As the Main Ingredient of Dressing 

Umeboshi Dressing

With Umeboshi plums, you can easily make a refreshing, tangy, healthy dressing that goes perfectly with fresh vegetables.

Based on this recipe on cookpad.com, the making is; first, puree the flesh of Umeboshi plums, then add sugar, vinegar, salad oil, water, and dark soy sauce, and simply mix well.

(For 2 to 3 persons)

  • 1 tablespoon Umeboshi puree (Salt Concentration 8 to 11%)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salad oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce 


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.

4 Responses

  1. RJ says:

    This is interesting to me!
    Unfortunately, I am a foreigner who has lived in Japan a long time. I want to eat umeboshi, but I try and I try but I can’t. Instead, I make a “sour” face

    Like this: (>o<).

    So, I am embarrassed to eat umeboshi with others. However, I want to be able to eat umeboshi with ease, because my friend just bought omiyage "hachimitsu umeboshi"!

    I know my friend will ask, "How was it?" If there is a way to eat umeboshi easily, please let me know!

    • Tomo says:

      Thanks for the comment!
      I prefer the sweet-sour honey-marinated umeboshi over traditional, quite salty-sour ones, but if you can’t eat it either,
      I’m afraid there are few alternatives… I hope someone can tell a good way…☺️

  2. alan burniston says:

    I have made umaboshi from gooseberries in salt and shiso leaves how can I use them in cooking

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for commenting.
      Umeboshi is often pureed and used in sauces, dressings, and even jams.
      Representative examples of umeboshi dishes include “Ume Takikomi Gohan (梅炊き込みご飯: rice cooked with umeboshi plums)”.
      As seen in this recipe video on Youtube,
      1. First, washed rice is soaked in cold water for 30-60 minutes.
      2. Then, put in the rice cooker the rice, a few pieces of umeboshi plums, and water or dashi and cook it. (The dashi stock is sometimes seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, and salt).
      3. Once cooked, deseed the plums and mix the rice well.
      It is also good to cook rice or pasta with umeboshi and shio kombu.

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