In Japan, Ume (Japanese plums) hit store shelves between May and July. Japanese plums have more acidity and smell and they often make into “Umeboshi (pickled plum)”, which is sour and salt traditional food.
Not a few people are waiting for the Ume season to make Umeshu (plum liquor).
Based on how to make Umeshu, today we are going to introduce a recipe of fruit liquor and Ume syrup.
What are Needed
Below are the things needed.
- Sugar (rock sugar)
- Liquor (white liquor or other)
We will explain in detail for each in the following sections.
A container is a must.
As it takes at least 3 months or even a few years to pickle plums, appropriate is a durable and sealable container. This time we use a fruit liquor bottle from TAKEYA. It is made of durable plastic and unlikely to break as well as light and easier to carry. Not only high sealability, it also has a bung to degas the liquor, so it’s good for storing fermented food or beverage.
Wash the container thoroughly as remaining bacteria and stain may cause rot or mold.
Disinfecting in boiling water is effective for glass bottles. For plastic ones, in order to prevent deformation, wash them in water, spray alcohol (or liquor to be used) inside and wipe with a clean towel. Now the container is ready!
With refreshing acidity and rich flavor, Japanese plums are good for making fruit liquor. However, other fruits can be also used, including lemons, figs and pineapples.
Before pickling fruits, wash them in running water to remove dirt. It is important to wash gently and take care not to damage the surface.
If the surface gets damaged, rot or mold may occur from the scratches.
After washing all the fruits, wipe off water thoroughly.
Japanese plums have a calyx, which should be removed; otherwise, it will come off during pickling the plums and cover the surface of the liquor. To cut the hassle of taking calyxes out of the liquor afterwards, they should be removed in advance.
A calyx of plum is in a dent and can be easily removed with a toothpick.
This time we also make kiwifruit liquor. Wash and gently rub the surface to remove thin hair and wipe off water thoroughly. You don’t need to peel them.
Sugar (rock sugar)
Generally, rock sugar is used. The amount of sugar should be 40-50% of the fruit to be pickled.
Rock sugar is dissolved more quickly than powder sugar. As alcohol is absorbed faster than sugar, flavor of the fruit will remain and get milder.
However, you can use any sugar. If you can’t get rock sugar, black sugar is recommended. If you don’t really like sweet liquor, you don’t need to use sugar.
Liquor (white liquor or other)
White liquor is generally used as it doesn’t have distinct flavor, but other kinds of liquor can be also used, including vodka, brandy, whiskey and rum, as long as it has 40% of alcohol degree.
The amount of liquor should be the same as fruit to be used.
How to Make Fruit Liquor
After preparation, let’s move onto the process of pickling. That is very simple. Put fruit and sugar alternately in the container and pour liquor in the end.
Wearing plastic gloves when placing fruit and sugar will prevent bacteria invading.
Pile fruits and sugar alternately in the container, and pour liquor in the end. That’s all for making fruit liquor. If you don’t pour liquor in the end, and just leave plums and sugar alone, it’ll become plum syrup.
In the picture above, the one in the front is Umeshu and the one in the back is Ume syrup 1 week after preparation.
Fruits other than Ume can be prepared in the same way. The picture shows kiwifruits.
After preparation, leave it in a cool dark place. In about 3 months, fruit flavor is extracted, and fresh fruit liquor is ready. However, the longer it is left (like 1 or 2 years), the milder and richer it tastes. You can enjoy it at your favorite timing!
Globalkitchen Japan will keep you updated in our blog to see how the liquor we prepared this time will change over time. Stay tuned!