The spring before I moved to China, I made some Ume syrup from green Ume. To celebrate being back in Japan, I made Ume syrup again this spring, and used the Ume fruits to make Ume jam later.
Ume (Japanese plums) are not commonly eaten as is. Usually they are made into Umeboshi (sour, salty pickled ume, commonly eaten with rice) or steeped in alcohol to make Umeshu. The Ume syrup I made this year is made by steeping Ume fruits in rock sugar, resulting in a sweet-sour syrup. I like to add some to carbonated water as an alternative to soda.
For directions on how to make Umeshu or Ume syrup, take a look at this blog post.
Here is how the Ume syrup looked like after a week or so. See the liquid in the container? This is all coming from the fruits, and I did not add any liquid at all.
Making Ume jam is extremely labor intensive. First, I removed the pits from the fruit. Since Ume is a kind of plum, these small fruits have pits very similar to plums. The pit does not detach easily, so I needed to scrap the pits out.
Next, I chopped the fruit into small pieces and weighed it. Then, I simmered the fruit with enough water to cover, skimming off any scum that formed. Then I added some sugar and continued to reduce the jam.
Finally I poured the jam into sterilized containers and let it cool.
Because I like my jam to be quite sour, it does not keep very well. I usually divide it into small containers and keep it in the freezer.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe!