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Umeboshi: properties and uses of Japanese plums


Umeboshi are small plums typical of Japan, rich in beneficial properties. Let’s find out what they are and how to use them in the kitchen.

Umeboshi are Japanese plums , used since ancient times in traditional oriental medicine, to treat numerous diseases. In fact, these small fruits belong to the Asian variety of the Prunus Mume apricot and are more similar to our apricots than to plums. The name “umeboshi” means “dried plums” and therefore refers not to the fruit itself, but to its preparation.

The plums are picked in early summer, when they are still green and very acidic, and are immersed in water for a night to deprive them of their bitter taste. Then, they are placed in special containers, arranged in layers, covered with salt, crushed by a weight and stored in a cool and dry place to activate the fermentation . After about a month, the plums are left in the air to dry out. Finally, they are immersed in a mix of vinegar and red leaves , which gives them their typical color, and left to mature for about a year.


Umeboshi: the properties

In addition to being very flavorful, umeboshi plums are also rich in beneficial properties. Despite being very acidic, they have an alkalizing effect and help rebalance the pH. For this they are very useful in case of nausea, hyperacidity and digestive problems. They also stimulate the appetite and are great for cleansing the liver .

According to traditional Japanese medicine, prunes have a toning effect , defeat fatigue and prevent numerous diseases, such as anemia, flu and colds, thanks to their natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties.

Umeboshi: the contraindications

Umeboshi plums have no particular contraindications . Obviously, you shouldn’t eat too many, especially in case of hypertension, because they contain a lot of salt.

Umeboshi: the uses

The Japanese love to start their day with a cup of green tea and a salted plum. Umeboshi can be eaten whole or reduced to a pulp, alone or to season boiled rice and other dishes.


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