Translated by GonzalezLaura
Japanese Encyclopedia: Umeboshi (Pickled Plum)
Written by Mako Hayashi
What's one of Japan's staple sides, that can be sweet, or salty, and goes with almost any dish? That's right, umeboshi! Read on to learn more about this food.
Umeboshi (梅干し, pickled plum) is one of Japan's preserved foods, which is soaked in salt then hung out to dry in the sun. It has a red color to it.
The depth of the color varies between products, but if you put a perilla leaf in during the soaking process, you can obtain an even more vibrant red in the plum.
Umeboshi's most characteristic features are its strong sour and salty flavors. Its high salt content gives the umeboshi a long shelf life, while its citric acid helps in fatigue recovery. It is also known as a health food, soothing stomach pains and lowering blood sugar.
Umeboshi goes well with cooked rice, and is even known as "rice's friend". It's also a staple filling in rice balls and as a side dish in bento boxes.
There are actually quite a couple of Japanese people who don't really enjoy the sour taste of umeboshi, so there are umeboshi with varying levels of acidity catered to them. Recently you can also find umeboshi which tastes more salty than sour, as well as umeboshi that's been sweetened using honey.
Umeboshi is often sold with the pit intact, so take care not to swallow the pit.