October 3, 2011
Finally, I finished pickling my ume. All I had left to do was to dry them under sun for a day or two. Being in NYC, I don’t have a gigantic backyard where I can freely dry my ume, so I simply laid them on cookie sheet (since I don’t have bamboo colander either), and left them on a sunny day near my window.
In Japan, you are supposed to do this during the hottest days of summer, so they could get as much of a sun tan as possible. From the feeling of the skin on mine though, I already knew this wouldn’t be the best ume. After all, as I keep saying, Japanese pickling plums are of the apricot family, not plum family, and the skin on these were like a middle-aged woman’s face. It was so tense, and shiny, and didn’t have the matte finish of regular ume.
Look at the skin:
Just like chemical peel, the entire layer comes off easily. Kinda gross.
Anyhow, I left them in the sun, and turned them over once so they could get an even sun tan.
They didn’t dry up the way regular ume are supposed to, but it’s ok. I went for the taste, not the appearance.
I basically had to peel the skin to eat them, but taste wise, it was just like regular ume. They had a slight hint of plum, but the sour/salty ume fragrance was definitely there. Other than the skin situation, some were very tender, but others were still tough.
Next year, I will find some unripened apricot and do this, or get real ume.
I am clearly defeated by the West Coast Ume Project. However, using what’s available here in the east coast, I did pretty well.
My plum wine is doing very nicely. When I open the jar, the aroma was so sweet and plumy. A couple more months and it will be ready to drink them on the rocks.