Friday, June 29, 2007

Green Ume Plum Jam

Green Ume Plum Jam on Yogurt
(I know the jam doesn't look green but I used green ume plums)

I didn’t have a great success when I tried making ume (Japanese plum) jam for the first time in 2005. I didn’t even think about making it in 2006. Now this year, what triggered me to give it another try was this shot of refreshingly green ume jam on someone’s blog. I thought, “Maybe mine didn’t taste very good last time because I used ripe ume plums. I might have a success if I use unripe, green ones.”

So, here we go. Obachan’s ume-jam project. And you know what?
I had a success this time! ;)

The recipe? It's so simple… cannot be any simpler.

1 kg green ume plums
Sugar (70 to 100 % of the weight of the seeded ume plums)

This time I stayed on the safe side all the time and didn’t add any twist of my own. To get rid of the harshness, some recipes said soak plums in water for 3 hours and others said overnight, and I chose overnight. Some said boil ume and drain them just once, others said repeat it two to three times, so I did it three times. Then I soaked them in water and changed the water twice. This might have taken away the “wild” flavor of green plums too much, but I just didn’t want any harshness and didn’t want to hide it by adding lots of sugar, either.
* The calyx(?-- the brown thing left at the stem end) needs to be removed with a toothpick before cooking the ume.

The aroma of cooking ume plums was so wonderful. (It’s strange that I didn’t mention the aroma in my ume-jam post two years ago. Maybe ripe plums didn’t smell so good when cooking?) Seeding the boiled ume plums by hands was a bit messy task, but it was alright. After mincing them with a knife (maybe I should have used an electric blender), I cooked them with sugar without adding any water. I guess the seeded plums weighed about 800 g and the sugar I added was a little less than 600 g. This jam thickens so easily and sets wonderfully (maybe too much) when cooled. Absolutely no need to add pectin or anything.

I love this green ume jam with yogurt so much. And here’s my adventure with the jam – spareribs with green ume jam glaze.

They were a lot less greasy because of the refreshing sweet-n-sour jam. It was too bad that the glaze didn't keep the taste of ume at all, though….

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boo_licious said...

The ume jam looks so good with yoghurt. Thanks for sharing how to make the jam. Glad to see you are fine and ok after your hospital stay.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like kitchen therapy when you've been under the weather. So nice to see you cooking and baking up a storm. These photos are lovely and the jam sounds wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Those glazed spareribs look so delicious! Now I wish I could find fresh ume here so I can try making some jam as well...

obachan said...

Oh, Hi!! Great to hear from you!
Yeah, I'm doing fine and enjoying cooking/baking/photo-shooting as you can see here. Actually I made too much ume jam and now my kitchen floor is kinda sticky...

Oh, another good old fellow blogger here! So glad to hear from you. I just visited your kitchen garden yesterday and admired your beautiful lettus.
Yeah, I agree. Kitchen therapy really works. I'm OK now, except that my incisions start itching so badly when I get drunk and I have to be careful when I go out for a drink with friends. LOL

I think the spareribs were a nice try, though I don't want to try it too often. (Expensive!)

I wish I could send you some fresh, green ume plums...

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have 10 ume trees in my yard here in CA, and I can't speake to the old owner as she and I don't have the same language. I always wanted to know what to do with my plums the trees are soo pretty and laden this year.

I will definitely try your jam recipoe.

Thank you.

myharplady, Monterey CA, US

obachan said...

Hi Myharplady,
Ten ume trees! It must be spectacular when they bloom in early spring!
I'm glad to hear that my recipe may help. I guess it's better to stay on the safe side and remove harshness completely when you try this for the first time. Looks like those who have been eating green ume jam for years get used to and enjoy slight harshness and sourness, but not beginners (like me).

Anonymous said...

Obachan - I don't know why but I have a craving for umeboshi these days (and I'm not pregnant :)) Your pictures are gorgeous, the jam must taste absolutely delicious (and a handy thing to have!). The 'precious' blueberry tart looks lovely too.

obachan said...

Oh, hi Keiko-san,
Soooooooo great to hear from you! Thanks for dropping by.
It's no surprise that you crave for refreshing sourness as the weather gets hot. I hope it's not terribly humid over there ... like it is here right now.