Homemade Orange Marmalade

My month of September was swept away by Covid. 

(I wrote about it on my blog, How I Care for Myself When I Got Sick with “Covid”)

I had a fever for two weeks and could not eat much, but I was craving the comfort food I ate as a child and I had dreams about these foods!

Pancake: my father made it with instant pancake mix only once or twice a year.

Donkey’s Steam bread: When I was a child, it was a popular “donkey bakery” ( a popular bakery that came to town on a donkey-drawn cart and sold various bread).

Orange marmalade: I was not too fond of jam, but I loved orange marmalade with sweet orange skin. Marmalade also sounds something special to me instead of just jam and the golden orange color of the sunshine.

Eric made a flaxseed pancake and a blackberry steamed cake to satisfy the first two. But my craving for orange marmalade still existed, and I thought of it every day.

A few days later, Eric told me the orange tree in my garden had fruits, so maybe we could make it. 

I tried to make it a few years ago, but it was not like what I remember. My memory of Orange marmalade was beautiful orange transparent color, and when I tasted it, my mouth got wrapped in orange flavor, and the skin was soft but tasted crispy.

The one I made was a little bitter because I did not separate the white pith, the orange flavor was not fully there, and the skin was not crispy.

I had to think about the recipe differently this time.

Eric has made jam many times, and when I told him how I made my orange marmalade, he said it sounded like making jam, so it was not marmalade. We talked together and made a new recipe.

The new recipe I wanted to try again was more labor and time, so I asked Eric to help me make it.

How did it come out?

Well, Eric is a skillful chef, so his advice helped as we made it, and it came out perfectly!

What did I change?

The main change was to separate the white pith of skin and cook membranes and seed as pectin in cheese clothes.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Oranges (ripe) 
  • 4 cups Water
  • 3~5 cups organic white Beet sugar (depending on how sweet you want)

1. Gather the ingredients.

2. Wash and dry the oranges. Using a sharp paring knife, remove only the brightly colored zest from the oranges. Please do not remove any white pith directly underneath as much as you can because it is very bitter.

3. Thin match sticks the zest. Set the zest aside.

4. Cut the ends off the zested oranges, and then, working with one orange at a time, cut off the thick white pith from around each orange. Discard the ends and white pith.

5. Hold a fully peeled orange and use a sharp knife to cut out each segment between the membranes that have the sections together.

6. Once you’ve cut out all the fruit, squeeze any juice out of the membranes into the bowl of segmented fruit. Set the membrane aside, along with any seeds (the pectin in these will help “set” the marmalade later).

7. Combine the zest, fruit, juice, water, and sugar in a large, heavy stainless pot and bring it to a boil. Stir just until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring. 

8. Meanwhile, lay a double layer of cheesecloth in a medium bowl and put the membranes and seeds on top. Lift the corners and tie the cheesecloth into a bag to hold the membranes and seeds.

9. Meanwhile, bring the marmalade to 220 F simmering (which took us over 2 hours, so be patient). Then once it reaches 220 F, hold it there for 5 minutes. Do not stir.

10. Remove the pectin bag, squeezing any marmalade out and back into the pot, and discard the bag. Take the marmalade off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Set up three clean pint jars or several small jars like we did with sealable lids (if canning, they should be hot and sterilized) next to the pot.

11. Stir the marmalade to distribute the zest evenly in the mixture. Use a ladle or spoon to transfer the marmalade into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of each jar.

12. Put the lids on the jars and refrigerate, or you can proceed with canning.

Enjoy your marmalade!

Love,

Sanae❤️

Vegan Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen)

I grew up loving Japanese noodles of udon, soba, ramen, hiyamugi, and somen so much!

One of my favorite noodle dishes in summer is Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen). It is “Ramen Salad” to me!

When I started to eat vegan plant-based macrobiotic food in 1993, I thought I had to give up eating ramen noodles, but I found some companies were making vegan ramen noodles in 2005 and had been enjoying them since then. 

Eric and I served Goddess Miso Ramen in the winter season at our “Seed Kitchen” restaurant in 2008~2016.

Summertime ramen must be Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen). I had to introduce it to Eric.

We do not have hot, humid summer here in Santa Monica like in Japan, but I crave to eat Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen) every summer, so I had to make it again this summer.

It is like cold soba noodles, but a much uplifted and happy feeling and cools my palette when I eat Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen); verse cold soba gives me cooling, but a grounding, contented feeling. 

You can create what you want to put on the top. I like cucumber, seitan/tofu, scallion, green shiso leave, and homemade red shiso pickled ginger on top.

Japanese karashi hot mustard is on the side, with homemade tamari (soy sauce) and sesame seed sauce.

I have seen Hiyashi Chuka packages in the Japanese market, but they are full of MSG and preservatives, so I have never used them. Vegan ramen noodles are available at natural food markets here, but if you can’t find them, you can use other vegan noodles.

I hope you try making it; then you will know how delicious and enjoy summer ramen!

Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen) Recipe

Servings: 2~3

For Hiyashi Chuka Sauce

  • 6 Tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice(if you want sweeter taste use orange juice)
  • 1~2 Tbsp roasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp Kombu dashi* or water
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp grated ginger
  • ½-1 tsp la-yu (option Japanese chili oil)

For Toppings

  • 1~2 Japanese or Persian cucumbers (or ⅓ English cucumber, julienned)
  • 3 Red radish (cut into thin strips)
  • ½ tomato (cut into wedges)
  • 3-4 slices Seitan (cut into thin strips)
  • 2 scallions (cut into thin strips)
  • 3 Green shiso leaves (rinse and pat dry)
  •  Red shiso ginger pickle (benishoga, kizami beni shoga, if you buy them at the store, make sure there is no MSG)

For Hiyashi Chuka Noodels

  • 2~3 servings of fresh vegan ramen noodles (6 oz or 170 g of fresh noodles per person)
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional garnish)
  • Japanese karashi hot mustard (optional side garnish)

To Make Sauce:

  • *Kombu dashi – Stove top method: combine the kombu and water in a saucepan over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20~30 minutes. Strain out the kombu and use it for sauce when it cools (this recipe from Love, Sanae).
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk them together. You can keep it chilled in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To Prepare Toppings:

  • Cut all the topping ingredients into thin strips (so it’s easier to eat with noodles).

To Cook Noodles:

  • Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Separate the noodles before dropping them into the water. Cook according to package directions. Drain the water and rinse the noodles to remove starch. Soak the noodles in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain thoroughly and divide the noodles into individual plates/bowls.

At last:

  • Place all the toppings and put Japanese karashi hot mustard on the side. Pour the sauce just before you eat with your favorite amount. 

Bon appétit! 

Love,

Sanae ❤️

Elderberry Enzyme Syrup & Juice

One of the seasonal works I do in summer with Eric is harvesting wild elderberries in North Fork.

It is usually after Umeboshi plums making in the end of June to the end of July.

 

Elderberry has antioxidants and many benefits for our health.

I posted my blog before on how to make elderberry tea with more information about its benefits.

https://sanaesuzuki.com/2017/02/27/healing-elderberry-tea/

I was making elderberry tea with dried elderberry most of the time since I could not harvest many fresh ones, but last year the timing was perfect when I went to North Fork, so I got so many fresh elderberries.
I saved some to dry for making tea later and tried to make enzyme syrup, juice and jam with extra fresh elderberry.

I only made Ume plum enzyme juice and Kombucha, so I did not know how elderberry works for making the enzyme syrup/juice. Wow, wow…it was so delicious.  Beautiful enzyme bubbles!!!

I wanted make it again this year so every time I went to North Fork this year, I checked elder trees and hoped I would be able to harvest enough fresh ones this year too.

The elderberry flowers had a soft aroma (I made syrup and skin oil with the flowers, which I will share someday). After the flowers, the green berries were so cute.

Elder trees did not disappoint me. Thank you, elderberry trees!

Here is the juice I made this year.

It is similar to Red Shiso Juice I shared before.

https://sanaesuzuki.com/2019/07/22/red-shiso-juice-delicious-summer-remedy-drink-for-health/

The difference is I did not add any water and no cooking. It is only elderberries and beet sugar. They are fermented together.

Elderberry Enzyme Juice Recipe

Ingredients

  • 300 g (about 10 oz) fresh elderberries
  • 150~600 g (about 5~20oz) sweetener (I used beet sugar) 

To make juice to drink

  • 1 tablespoon, less or more (depending on how sweet you want)
  • 1 cup, cold sparkling water, cold spring water, or hot spring water
  • 1 tablespoons, lemon juice and a slice of lemon

Instructions

1. Prepare elderberries; trim the stems from elderberries after harvesting them. You can leave some of the leaves and stems for enforcing enzymes. There might be insects, so be careful handling them.

2. Wash elderberries with water and cleans them carefully. 

3. Strain the water of elderberries in a basket and dry them as much as you can.

4. Place elderberries in a bottle jar and add beet sugar.

5. Shake the jar to mix them as much as you can.

6. Leave them a cool dark place near you and shake it every day or every other day. You can also mix it with your clean dry hand.

 

7. It should be ready to drink in about 3~4 weeks.

8. To drink Elderberry enzyme syrup as juice, you put 1~2 tablespoons of elderberry enzyme syrup and add about 1 cup of cold sparkling water or spring water. I usually do not put ice cubes, but If you like, you can add ice cubes. Lemon juice and a slice of lemons enhance the taste too.

 

You can also put hot/warm water for someone who loves a warm drink/tea.

I hope you like it and enjoy Elderberry Enzyme Juice!

Love, Sanae ❤️

P.S. Here is Elderberry Mocktail recipe that I posted for new year, if you like to try something new.

https://sanaesuzuki.com/2020/12/31/new-year-elderberry-mocktail/

Gluten-Free Oil Free Vegan Plant-Based Baked Donuts

Gluten-free and none-fried donuts and vegan plant-based? 

Enough to satisfy health-conscious donut lovers.

Autumn and winter’s weather is getting cooler and cold, baking and longer cooking are warm up the house, and the aroma of baking foods and snack help to ground our energy. Instead of going out like summertime, we stay home and read, write or create inside at home is a natural universal order. Restful activities support our health for next spring.

The original recipe of Gluten-Free Baked Donuts is on Eric’s revised dessert cookbook “Love, Eric,” none-fried donut, but it has a little oil in the ingredients.

If you are interested Eric’s desserts cookbook, you can purchase from my website https://sanaesuzuki.com/product/love-eric-revised/

Gluten-Free and None-Fried Vegan Donuts Original with oil

Make 12 donuts

For the donuts:

3⁄4 cup gluten-free flour mix

 1⁄2 cup almond flour

 1⁄4 cup arrowroot powder

 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

 1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1⁄3 cup maple syrup

1⁄3 olive oil

juice from one lemon

zest from one lemon

1⁄2 cup hot water

 

For the toppings:

1/2 cup almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans or any other nut of your choice

olive oil for brushing donut tops

 

To make the donuts:

1. Combine the flours, arrowroot powder, baking powder, xantham gum, salt, baking soda and rosemary in a bowl and set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients until creamy.

 3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mix, add the lemon zest and stir until the mixture is slightly lumpy.

4. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, pour the batter into a donut pan and bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 16 minutes.

To make the topping:

1. Place finely chopped nuts on a plate.

2. Brush the tops of each donut with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

 

Recently, Eric created gluten-free and oil free baked donuts recipe for Chef AJ’s youtube show. It will be on Saturday, November 14th, 2021, at 11 am by Zoom. You can see it on her Facebook too.

Now it is on YouTube.

Gluten-Free Oil-Free Vegan Baked Donuts 

MAKES 12 DONUTS

For the donuts:

3⁄4 cup gluten-free flour mix

 1⁄2 cup almond flour

 1⁄4 cup arrowroot powder

 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

 1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄3 cup maple syrup

1⁄3 coconut yogurt 

1⁄2 cup purified hot water

 

For the toppings:

1 tablespoon kuzu (also known as kudzu medicinal starch)

½ cup purified water

½ cup strawberry jam or maple butter

To make the donuts:

1. Combine the flours, arrowroot powder, baking powder, xantham gum, salt, baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients until creamy.

 3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir until the mixture is slightly lumpy.

4. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, pour the batter into a donut pan and bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 16 minutes.

 

To make the topping:

1. Mix the kuzu and water in a pan, bring to medium heat and frequently mix until clear and thicken. Add the jam or maple butter and mix again.

2. Top each donut of jam with a spoon.

 

I enjoy my baked donut with my roasted brown rice twig tea or grain coffee.

Enjoy your delicious baked donuts!

Love, 

Sanae ❤️

Healing Balance in Season – Late Summer

The common season we usually know is four seasons.
I have been practicing “The Five Element” theory of five seasons since 1993.

Spring – Wood 

Summer – Fire

Late summer – Earth/Soil 

Autumn – Metal

Winter – Water 

as the principal elements of the material world. 

 

Each season has a different balance of our health with foods, ways of cooking, and lifestyles.

Quick examples: 

Summer is a hot season, and you eat cooling food with quick-cooking.

Lifestyle is active. Wear light material clothes and open the window. Use fun or AC to cool down. 

Winter is a cold season, and you eat warm food with longer cooking, presser cooking, stewing and baking. 

Lifestyle is time to slow down, wear warmer and thicker material clothes, close the window. Use a fireplace or heater to heat our house.

 

I live in Santa Monica, California  – the northern temperate zone is in late summer season right now. Late Summer begins around the third week of August and runs through the Fall Equinox, which is late September.

Do you know what to eat for late summer?

According to the five elements, it is Earth/Soil season.

Late summer is around 3 pm of the day when we take a little rest to have tea and something naturally sweet.

For whole grains, sweet rice, millet is supporting us in late summer – earth/soil energy organs of spleen/pancreas and stomach.  And round vegetables (cabbage, kabocha squash, cauliflower, etc.) are recommended to eat.

One of my self-published cookbooks, “Love, Sanae” has more details on what foods support each season, not just grains and vegetables, page 88~91. I hope you check them up!

 

I want to share late summer season balanced whole grain millet recipes today.

Millet is rich in plant-based protein, whole grain and fiber, nutritious, non-glutinous (non-sticky), and not acid-forming foods, thus making them very easy to digest when you learn how to cook.

Millet supports pancreas and spleen organs which need to focus in late summer.

I showed how to cook millet in my cooking classes every late summer:

Millet and Kabocha Squash with Roasted Pumpkin Seed 

MAKES 4 SERVINGS 

1cup millet

4 cups purified water

1 cup kabocha squash, cut into about 1” dice

1 “ kombu kelp

1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

1. Wash millet: 

1) Place a strainer into a larger bowl and fill it with purified water. Wash millet gently, stirring with your hand in a counter-clockwise direction when you want to be more energetic or in a clockwise direction when you want to be more relaxed. 

2) Drain the water (reserving it to water your plant later) and repeat the washing step three times or until the water is almost clear. 

3) Strain the millet and cook as it is or soak or roast, depending on your health condition. 

2. Place 4 cups water in the large pan and bring to boil. Add millet and Kombu kelp. Reduce heat to low and add Kabocha squash and cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, rinse the pumpkins seeds and strain them, and roast on a skillet.

4. When millet and kabocha are done, remove from the flame and allow to sit another 5~10 minutes.

5. Take the cover of millet and kabocha. Use wood rice paddle or spoon that has moistened in water to prevent sticking, stir gentle from outside.

6. Serve with the roasted pampering seeds.

7. Itadakimasu (bonappetit)!

Here is youtube link how to make “Millet and Kabocha with Roasted Pumpkin Seed”,

 

Creamy Millet with Fresh Parsley Sauce

MAKES 4 SERVINGS 

1 cup millet

5 cups purified water

pinch sea salt

Fresh Parsley Sauce

To make the millet:

1. Wash millet: 

1) Place a strainer into a larger bowl and fill it with purified water. Wash millet gently, stirring with your hand in a counter-clockwise direction when you want to be more energetic or in a clockwise direction when you want to be more relaxed. 

2) Drain the water (reserving it to water your plant later) and repeat the washing step 3 times or until the water is almost clear. 

3) Strain the millet and cook as it is or soak or roast, depending on your health condition. 

2.In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add millet and sea salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Remove from the flame and all pan to site undisturbed for another 5 to 10 minutes before you remove the cover.

4. Serve with Fresh Parsley Sauce.

5. Itadakimasu (bonappetit)!

 

For the parsley sauce:

2 table spoons kuzu*

1 cup purified water

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped and squeezed of excess water

sea salt

To make the parsley sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the kuzu and water/ Stir well until kuzu is completely dissolved.
  2. Place the saucepan over a medium flame, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped parsley and cook for another minute. 
  4. Serve over the Creamy Millet. 

*Kuzu (kudzu)-A white starchlike extract made from the wild root of kuzu vine; used for thickening soups, beverages, desserts and sauce. Also used for medicinal purposes.

 

One of my self-published cookbooks, “Love, Sanae” has more millet recipes and also shows what kind of whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, cooking style and many more for each season. 

If you want to purchase my book from me directly, please email me at sanaehealing@gmail.com

 

After surviving two different cancers and a near-death car accident, healing balance is vital to know. 

Knowing what foods support us each season takes time to learn. 

I also realized our health has seasons.  Finding out which season your health is in is critical—and understanding what and how to apply your health seasons is the key to heal yourself.

I hope to share what I have learned from my experiences with you when the time is right.

Love, 

Sanae ❤️

Santa Monica Homemade Umeboshi Plums

Japanese Ume Plum season in California is usually in May. 

I am fortunate to appreciate and continue to practice the Japanese origin culture even I left at 19 Japan, where I was born.

 One of my favorites is making Japanese-style pickles. 

I wouldn’t say I liked eating pickles growing up, and I also did not pay attention much when my grandmother and mother were making pickles. 

It tasted salty and smell funny to me at that time. I always favor eating something sweet taste when I was younger.

Umeboshi plums are the only pickles I ate when I was a child because they were usually inside rice balls (onigiri) that my grandmother and my mother made. Their saltness blended well with rice, and I love nori seaweed wrapped outside of balls. I also like it over the rice in an obento box. The color of reddish-pink in white rice (I was growing up mostly eating white rice as the primary grain) was also attractive to me and did not have the weird smell that most of the pickles had.

There are many memories of eating rice balls with umeboshi plums. 

I want to share one of them. 

When I was three years old, my mother made a rice ball (onigiri) before going to a public bath (銭湯sento) because I was hungry. My parents were young, and they did not have good incomes so they did not have money to buy enough food on those days and I got hungry a lot. When I get too hungry, my mother made a small rice ball with an umeboshi plum. One small rice balls(onigiri) was not enough to satisfy my tummy sometimes so my mother said, “Suck the umeboshi pit if you are still hungry. “

I sacked for 2~3 hours; the pit got a little softened and I was able to break it. There was a seed inside the pit, which had the skin and when I took the skin out to find a tiny seed, I called Kamisama (God). I had no idea why I called it Kamisama (God). My mother told me that you are a strange child. And asked me, why do you call inside umeboshi pit is Kamisama (God)? I just said, “because it is so precious, I feel Kamisama (god) is inside of Umeboshi pit. “

Photo: Umeboshi plums’ seeds – Left, umeboshi plum’s seed with skin separated shell after suck for 2~3 hours and dry for a few days on the kitchen counter. Center, over 20 years aged umeboshi plum’s seed and separated skin and shell. Right, three years aged umeboshi plum’s seed and separated skin and shell. The front umeboshi plum seed with shell.

When I grew up, I found out the legend that Tenjinsama (god in heaven at Tenjin shrine; a shrine dedicated to the memory of Sugawara no Michizane, who is deified as a symbol of learning.) is inside Umeboshi plum pit.

I could not believe it when I found out that Yenjinsama is inside the umeboshi plum pit, but then I confirmed what I felt every time I suck the umeboshi plum pit and got the seed inside there was Tenjinsama (god in heaven). Inside the umeboshi plum pit’s tiny whitish seed has a slightly bitter taste. It has plenty of vitamin B17 and helps to reduce fever. 

I was connected to Umeplums since I was a young age. I was fortunate to go and help Kazuko and Jyunsei Yogi’s Ume orchard (they had over 400 ume plums trees and have made the first American grow organic Umeboshi plums 1983~2007) in Oroville, California, a few years later when I started to practice macrobiotics with my friend Nanayo. Kazuko and Jyunsei taught me how to work hard and appreciate the nature of Ume trees with their fruits heavest to make umeboshi plums and grow red shiso leaves. After Junsei passed in 2000, Kazuko kept working, but she retired in 2008. Now the orchard is owned by Kyoko and Nobu (since 2010) as Mume Farm https://mume.farm/. They make traditional Umeboshi plums, vinegar, syrup, and ekisu.

I have been supporting selling Kazuko’s 20 years aged California Organic Umeboshi plums which have medicinal benefits. The site to purchase Kazuko’s 20 years aged California Organic Umeboshi plums is here. https://sanaesuzuki.com/product/california-organic-umeboshi-plums/

I make my Umeboshi plums (pickles) also every year and below is from last year umeboshi I made.

 

 

 

I also make Ume vinegar, Ume syrup, Ume enzyme juice, Ume wine, Ume jam, Ume sauce, Ume oil spread, Ume ginger, etc.

It is not easy to find good quality fresh ume plums to make my own pickles and other ume products.  

I could not get fresh ume plums after Kazuko-san sold her Ume orchard; I did not know where to get fresh Ume plums. I tried Japanese market store-bought fresh Ume plums, but they did not come out good at all. I thought I had to give up making my own Umeboshi plums etc.

I had no idea that I was lead to finding Nankou Ume (南高梅)which is a very well-known Ume tree in Minabe, Wakayama, Japan. I have been supporting a woman who is growing Nankou Ume (南高梅)for 40 years and help to sell her fresh Nanko Ume plums every season for the last three years. And this year, I got some Kazuko and Jyunsei’s Ume offspring tree’s fresh Ume from Fresno, California. 

My healing room was full of fresh Ume plums two weeks ago. I wish I could share the aroma of Ume plums. It is not just a sweet aroma like other plums. It has a distinctive pungent sweet smell. The smell of something brings me back to my childhood.

These are this year’s fresh Ume fruits that I got for making Umeboshi Plums (Ume plums fruits for making Umeboshi Plums are more rape than green hard ones).

I am also growing red shiso leaves (Red shiso leaves are also good to make Red shiso juice; here is the recipe from my blog https://sanaesuzuki.com/2019/07/22/red-shiso-juice-delicious-summer-remedy-drink-for-health/). 

Here is the recipe I make homemade Umeboshi plums here in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Homemade Umeboshi Plums 

Ingredients

1 lb/about 450 g fresh ripe Ume plum fruit (if you get green firm ume plums, leave them in a cool room temperature room in a bamboo try if you have till the color turns yellowish) 

120 g sea salt – 15% of ume plum fruit (traditionally 15~20 % sea salt has been using in Japan) I use Si sea salt, which you can purchase from us.

 1/2 tbsp Japanese Gin or Shochu (This is for sterilizing; Gin’s alcohol content over 40%. Shochu’s alcohol content is less than 40%, commonly between 25% and 40%. You can use alcohol higher than 35% ABV like vodka too.)

Fresh Red Shiso for color

45 g red Shiso leaves (10% of Ume plums)

2 tsp sea salt for red shiso leaves

Equipment

  • A large mouse container (glass, ceramic, or enamel: avoid plastic and metal because of acidic sensitivity. I love #1 crock from Ohio Stoneware.
  • Bamboo toothpicks
  • Weight (Recommending 1.5 to 2 times of Ume plums. If it is too light, then it will be a cause of molding. I use stones as weight, but you can put baking beads, water, or other things in plastic bags to make as weight) 
  • A bamboo tray (to dry the pickled Ume plum to make Umeboshi)

Instructions 

1. First, sterilize the container by boiling it in a large pot or pour hot water. Take out and let it dry to set aside. 

2. Wash Ume Plum fruits.  

3. Pat dry the ume plum fruits with kitchen towels or cloths. 

4. Using a bamboo toothpick, remove the woody bits (calyx) where the fruits are attached to their stems. It’s tedious work, but please do not skip it, so it prevents not get mold. Gently dry the ume entirely with a clean kitchen towel.

5. Put ume plums in a large bowl and pour over the Gin or Shochu to disinfect and sprinkle 1~2 tablespoons of sea salt to mix with hands. Make sure your hands are clean.

6. Pour Gin or Shochu on a clean kitchen towel and clean the inside of the container with the alcohol. 

7. Sprinkle salt to cover the bottom of the crock. Then add two layers of ume. Sprinkle salt on top, followed by two layers of ume again.

8. Repeat this to make layers of umeboshi and salt until the umeboshi is all used. 

9. Place a weight on top of the last layer. I used stones, but you can use baking beads inside a ziplock bag as a weight.

10. Recommend to write down the date and quantity of ume and sea salt used on a tape and put it over the crock. 

11. Store a cool dark area out of sunlight. After a few days, the ume will start releasing moisture and you should see a layer of ume plum vinegar (梅酢, umesu) on top. If the ume plum vinegar does not come up in a few days, increase the weight so that the ume will sink in the vinegar quickly (this will protect from going bad/growing mold). 

12.  After one week, open the crock lid for the first time. Use clean hands and equipment to check.

13. If the ume plum vinegar is 1 inch (2.6 cm) above the plums, decrease the weight (roughly equal weight as the plums). If the plums are smashed/torn, also reduce the amount of weight. Store in a cool and dark place for at least one month, making sure the ume are soaked in plum vinegar.

Wait Until Red Shiso is Available

Patiently wait until red shiso is in season, usually mid to late June. You can leave your ume in the container as long as they are soaked in the pickling solution (ume plum vinegar).  My case, my shiso leaves in my garden are ready to pick mid to late June so I usually check the weather report around that time and find three consecutive sunny days to dry sea salt pickled ume. I learned this method when I went to Kazuko-san and Jyunsei-san’s place. Fresh Ume in Japan is ready to pickle in June, but the season is a little early here and red shiso is not growing big enough to pick so I keep sea salt pickled ume for more than one month some years and dry ume first and add red shiso after I finish dry ume three days and nights. 

How to dry sea salt pickled ume:

  • On day one, remove the sea salt ume from the conteiner and place it onto a bamboo tray to dry. Make sure to leave a space for each ume so they are not touching. I turn each ume in the morning and in the afternoon one time each. Leave them overnight.
  • On day two, repeat the same as day one to turn and leave them on the tray at night too.
  • On day three, repeat the same as day two. 
  • This is a way to get Yin and Yang energy. Sunlight gives strength and moonlight provides softness. 

Harvest red shiso leaves from my garden or when I see them in the Japanese grocery store.  If you can’t get red shiso, you can skip red shiso leaves and just sun dry to make white umeboshi plums.

  • Pick shiso leaves from the stems and put them in a large bowl.
  • Prepare the red shiso leaves: Wash the shiso leaves and drain the water as much as you can.
  • Sprinkle half of the salt amount on top of the leaves.
  • Mix the salt and shiso leaves with your hands and then massage them.
  • Squeeze and discard the dark purple liquid that comes out.
  • Sprinkle the remaining half of the salt over the shiso leaves and massage again.
  • Squeeze out the dark purple liquid from the leaves again.
  • Place the shiso leaves into a small mixing bowl.
  • Add 1 tbsp of umesu (plum vinegar) from the jar of plums. 
  • Add the leaves to the container of umeboshi plums.
  • If you want to make red shiso condiment then you can dry red shiso as you dry the umeboshi plums.

From my experience that umeboshi plums are best to start eating at least one year from pickling. Some people eat sooner than in one year, but they will be much saltier. If you want to have much milder umeboshi plums, wait for three years. More umeboshi plums aged they become medicinal.

I will update to edit this section to add more photos later.

If you have any questions, please send me email at sanaehealing@gmail.

Love, 

Sanae💖