Umeboshi
"Umeboshi" means "pickled plums" in Japanese, but umeboshi are actually made with unripe apricots.

I have used plums for this, but my favorite umeboshi is made from wild sloe fruit (blackthorn berries) that I pick from the hedgerows in the autumn. However, you can use plums to make a salty, pickled fruit this is similar. Now, salty pickled fruit may not sound too enticing to you, but it is actually quite good. I especially like it when I am packing a picnic. I add a few "umeboshi" instead of having to remember to pack the salt shaker  The Japanese especially like doing this with the serving of rice, because it makes a nice visual effect to have the round red pickle in the bed of white rice.


Unripe Apricots Umeboshi:
Soak whole, small green unripe apricots in water overnight and discard water.
Put the soaked apricots in a glass jar
Add a few beetroot leaves and some basil. (In Japan they use red shiso leaves for flavor and color. If you can find shiso leaves, use them instead, otherwise, beet root leaves will add the red color and basil will provide a similar flavor.)
Cover the fruit in a brine made of 1 tablespoon of sea salt to each pint of water.
Put a weight (such as a rock) on top of the fruit so that it is held under the water.
Cover with an airlock and let sit for about 10 months (or until the next year's harvest of unripe apricots is available.)
Can be eaten as is from the pickle jar, or air dry them in the sun and put into another jar for storage.
 

Salty, Pickled Plums Umeboshi:

Pack the plums in sea salt or other full-array salt in a glass jar.

Cover with an airlock and leave undisturbed on a shelf at room temperature for a few months to a year. The salt will draw water out of the plums until they look shrivelled prunes and the liquid will collect at the bottom of the jar. When the plums have shriveled up or have stayed in the salt as long as you want, remove them from the salt. Pack more plums in the salt to make another batch or use the salt as salt in some other ferment or condiment.Draw off the salty brine from the jar. This liquid is called umezu in Japan and used as a vinegar substitute. Reuse the salt to make another batch of umeboshi or any other lacto-ferment.

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Put the dried plums removed from the salt pack into a salt water brine made of one teaspoon full-array salt to each pint of water and cover them completely.



When the plums have absorbed all the water and resumed their round shape they are ready to eat and enjoy, or they can be kept on the shelf indefinitely. In Japan, some umeboshi are matured for up to 30 years, so there is no time limit.

To Use:
Put one or two on a plate with food instead of using a salt shaker or you can make a paste from them and use as a spread or condiment with your meals. Umeboshi are especially good with rice. It is believed that umeboshi plums have antibiotic properties and are good for healing various ailments.

Blackthorn Sloe Umeboshi
The sloe fruit of the blackthorn tree is very similar to plums, which are also used as a type of umeboshi. Pick them in the summer and put into a jar. Cover with a brine made of 1 teaspoon of sea salt to each pint of water. Put a weight on top to hold them under the brine. Cover with an airlock and let them sit for about a year. To eat, add a few to any other pickles, sauerkraut or cultured cream you are eating 



 
Salt: Your Way To Health by Dr. David Brownstein. A good book for those who have been told by their doctor to cut down on salt because of high blood pressure, and why natural sea salt is good for you.
Truly Cultured Rejuvenating Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods by Nancy Bentley
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon


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