Introduction: Umeshu

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Umeshu is a delicious, bright and fresh infused Japanese liquor made out of green plums, sugar and sake.

2-3 lbs. hard, green plums
1 C. sugar
2 large bottles sake

Large jar

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Step 1: Find Green Plums

The most inexpensive way of getting fruit is harvesting fruit from your neighborhood. If you know of a plum tree in your neighborhood, you may skip this step. Otherwise, you may locate plum tress in your neighborhood by going to Public Trees Map at the Neighborhood Fruit website. Put your zipcode and distance (ex. 94110 and 1) and search. Take note of the tree addresses and get ready for your adventure!

Step 2: Pick Plums

Pick green plums when they're still hard and tart. Put them into a bucket or some other hard-sided container to transport home, so they don't get smushed.

Step 3: Combine Plums and Sugar

Layer the washed green plums with sugar in the bottom of a large jar. Repeat until you run out of plums. Dump the sake over the plums and sugar.

Step 4: Date and Lable Your Umeshu

Pull out a sharpie and write the date that the umeshu will be ready on the top of the infusion jar. Seal the jar to be air and water tight, and put the jar away to infuse for three months in a cool, dark spot like the pantry.

Step 5: Wait Three Months

Yeah, it takes a long time for umeshu to be ready - you may tap your fingers on the desk waiting to be ready, or you may let it be and then come back to it in three months.

Step 6: Did You Find More Fruit Trees? Share Your Knowledge! (optional)

Did you find more trees trees on public land that aren't showing up on the Public Tree Map when you were out fruit picking? Please register it so that others can enjoy them too!

Step 7: Ladle Out and Enjoy!

Ladle out the umeshu. Best to use fancy glasses and serve with plums, like martini. Enjoy!

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    5 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm dead keen to make some tasty umeshu but I'm a little bit confused, is umeshu made with shochu or sake? Is there a difference in outcome when it is made with either base? I might just do both and see what happens, yum yum.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Holly, Based on our research both Shochu and Sake will work. They are very similar rice wines. For ours, we used the cheap sake at Trader Joe's. But if you can't get sake, shochu should work.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    recipes I've read say umeshu is made with dried fruit. Dried fruit obviously has less water content and may behave differently compared to fresh, does your variety taste any different?

    Let us know when your umeshu is ready for consumption!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Mikeasaurus,
    We've heard that Umeshu had to be made with green plums, which means that they can't be dried ('cos then they would ripen). We have tasted the batches at 2 weeks, 1 month and 2 months and it has a sweet, distinctive plum flavor and scent.
    We also called our friend's mom, who is a giant hippy in Japan to confirm this is the way that it should be done.
    Let us know how yours turns out!
    Neighborhood Fruit


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    oops, turns out I misinterpreted the guideline on the recipes I found, it says to dry the fruit not dried fruit. Apologies for the confusion. (also, good call on the Japanese hippie, no better source than that!)

    As an avid brewer and fruit steeper this looks like loads of fun, the taste must be so good! Though I enjoy making my own alcoholic bevy's I do not have a batch of my own umeshu :(
    Maybe it's time to find me some plum trees to raid....