Umeboshi plums are a Japanese fruit, and are part of the apricot family. They have a bizarre growth process as the fruit needs to ferment for a month in sea salt brine before it is edible. And as you expected, it has a taste that is salty, fruity and tangy! Think pickled plums…. and people say they are crazy good!
During the Middle Ages, the pickled plum was the soldier’s most important field ration. It was used to flavor foods such as rice and vegetables, and its high acidity made it an excellent water and food purifier, as well as an effective antidote for battle fatigue.
Supposedly a superb hangover cure, the umeboshi plum is still used for a variety of medical purposes such as counteracting nausea, reducing fevers, and controlling coughs.
Some say you can schmear the plum on toast, however it just might be a bit too….tangy. Try it in salads first, pureeing small batches which will replace your vinegar and salt.
Orange Ume Dressing
Makes 1 cup
This is a refreshing summer dressing for tossed salads and noodle salads.
3 level tablespoons toasted sesame seeds or 3 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons umeboshi paste or minced umeboshi
2 tablespoons light sesame or olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Juice of 1 – 1 1/2 oranges (to taste)
1 teaspoon minced green onion or chives (optional)
Toast sesame seeds (if using) in a dry skillet over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring constantly. When seeds are fragrant and begin to pop, remove from pan to prevent them from overcooking and becoming bitter. Blend first 5 ingredients in a blender until smooth. Mix in scallions or chives (if desired), and chill for 30 minutes before using. (via)