Japanese plum wine, also known as “umeshu” in Japanese, is a very loved drink in Japan. Umeshu can be quite sweet, making it a drink that is suitable for those who do not normally drink alcohol. In fact, it is also believed to be good for health! Check out these eight facts that will help you understand about Japanese plum wine and inspire you to give it a go-to yourself!
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Although Translated as “Plum Wine,” Umeshu is Not Actually Wine
It is said that in Japanese, “umeshu” means, literally, “ume alcohol.” “Ume” is a type of bitter Japanese plum that isn’t tasty to eat alone; however, it tastes tasty when picked with salt and made into the classic Japanese pickle referred to as ” umeboshi” or mixed with liquor to create Umeshu. According to the heading, Umeshu is not fermented and, therefore, isn’t really wine. It is instead a dizzyingly sweet blend of sugar, alcohol, and ume that is closer to what people would consider to be an alcoholic beverage. Umeshu is usually aged up to 6 months or one year before it is consumed.
Umeshu is Incredibly Easy to Make
In contrast to fermented drinks such as wine, beer, and sake aren’t easy to make at home, making Umeshu is quite simple to make. All you require is a glass container that can be sealed as well as sugar, ume, and liquor. In fact, in June of Japan, when ume comes to the market, everything required for making Umeshu at home can be found in nearly any supermarket in Japan.
Making Home-Brewed Alcohol in Japan is Illegal. But Umeshu is OK!
In contrast to other countries, Japan’s laws are strict in the making of alcohol-based beverages at home. Distilling alcohol, fermenting wine, or making a batch of beer at home without having a license is against the law. But, since Umeshu is actually a blend of liquor that has been made, fruit and sugar, it is unlikely that any additional alcohol is created during the process. It is, therefore, legal to develop your Umeshu or another kind of fruit liqueur at your home in Japan under the following conditions:
Homemade Umeshu Can Legally Be Served At Restaurants
According to the law, mixing alcohol with ingredients is regarded as creating a different type of alcohol. It’s also forbidden in bars and restaurants when the mixing is done prior to the time drinking of the alcohol (as when cocktails are served). But, there’s an exception to the law that is specifically designed for Umeshu. According to the rules, establishments are allowed to serve homemade Umeshu if they have completed the necessary documents in advance at the tax office, and the quantity of Umeshu they serve is not more than one kiloliter each year. This means that you can try a unique, home-brewed umeshu in restaurants that are small throughout Japan!
The Plums Floating in Umeshu Can Be Eaten, Too!
While fresh ume plums are bitter and unpalatable to eat in their natural state, after they have been in a slurry of sugar and alcohol for six months or more, they soften and are delicious to eat, filled with sweetness from alcohol. When you purchase an umeshu drink, you can even get it with a fruit inside the glass!
After about one year of age, Many opt to remove the plums from the container of Umeshu because they begin to decay and cause the drink to become dark and bitter. But, the plums that are removed are able to be utilized in various cooking recipes and baking and shouldn’t ever be wasted!
Umeshu Doesn’t Have an Expiration Date
If it was made with care, no bacteria were allowed to make it into the jar, and it was kept away from direct sunlight, Umeshu could last for years! In reality, it is believed to only get better over time, much like good wine or a fine whiskey. There are tales of parents making Umeshu in the first few days the baby is born. They take it in with them for the first time once the child reaches the legal drinking age of 20.
Umeshu is Good for Your Health!
Assume they are high in citric acid as well as other antioxidants. They are believed to aid those suffering from fatigue and protect the body due to the oxidation process. The umeshu plums are also considered to help with a range of gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation as well as diarrhea. Also, Umeshu is loaded with minerals and vitamins, which are believed to improve hair, skin, and nail health, causing some women to opt for Umeshu as a drink to aid in cosmetic enhancement. However, since it’s an alcohol-based beverage and has negative effects, the adverse consequences of excessive consumption exceed the benefits, and it is recommended to drink in moderation like every other type of alcohol.
Not All Umeshu Sold in the Market is Real Umeshu
There are two types of umeshu available in stores: rUmeshueshu, which is made from JaUmeshu plums, and umeshu, which is made with peUmeshu and food additives to give it the taste of umeshu. While the latter is more expensive than the real thing, it won’t have the health benefits discussed above since it doesn’t include any use. If you’re looking for real umeshu in the stores, make suUmeshu look at the label for Ben Ge Mei Jiu (“honkaku umeshu”). The words will appear on all authentic umeshu items like the one shown above (see the gold sticker at the front of the carton).
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Then, you’ll need to create an ume
Start with removing the stem of each ume. Discard any fruit with soft spots or are prone to mold. The most important thing is for your entire batch of umeshu to deteriorate before you’re able to mush it. Clean the ume before drying each one separately, ensuring that there is no moisture left on the ume. Then, poke a few holes into the ume using a fork or toothpick to allow the essence of the fruit to leak through the alcohol easily.
You can wait six months to a full year to enjoy it!
Place the bin in a cool, dark place from direct sunlight. When the sugar begins to melt, and when the plums rise above the top, mix the entire container with a clean spoon by gently turning it upside-down. Repeat this process every few weeks throughout the maturation stage to ensure that the taste is evenly developed throughout the entire mixture. After approximately three months, light umeshu can be enjoyed; however, it is recommended to wait for at least a half year or longer to get the most flavorful taste.