June’s “SHUN” Ume

In Japan, each season is a huge part of Japanese food culture.
The food we eat reminds us of the season we’re currently in.

Thanks to the advancement of agriculture around the world, ingredients are plentiful all year round.

In Japan, “in season”, “旬(Shun)”is a very important concept, which can be seen anywhere you go.
You’ll see “limited time only” posters and seasonal special menus from fast food stores and high-end restaurants that serve season specific dishes.

So what’s the “Shun” in June??

Ume (Japanese Apricot)

The fruit comes from a tree that fully blooms every year around February.
The various shades of white, pink, and red plum blossoms bloom beautifully throughout Japan.
The fruit itself is too sour to eat but with a little magic
it becomes one of the most popular Onigiri filling throughout Japan.

Umeboshi (Pickled Ume)
Traditional Umeboshi is very sour because of its pickling process but recently sweet umeboshi are becoming popular as well.
Besides the traditional umeboshi you find in supermarkets, there are one’s that cost more than 3000 yen a piece or
even one that have been pickled for over 100 years.
Another great part about umeboshi is how easy it is to make.
With only a couple ingredients, you can enjoy homemade umeboshi in your delicious onigiri or eaten as a quick sour treat .

One of my favorite Ume item is Umeshu (Plum wine).

You make it by steeping Ume with sugar and alcohol.
I highly recommend drinking it on the rocks but mixing it with sparkling water or plain water works just as good.

Similar to pickling your own umeboshi, it’s easy to make your own Umeshu at home.
Every year around this time, I have fond memories of my Grandmother bringing out the Umeshu
she made the year before and seeing her create a new batch for next year.
Since I was still too young, she would always make me a small bottle of Ume Juice on the side.

Sweet, sour and refreshing. A perfect summer drink!

Here’s a link to a great Ume Juice recipe!
Ume Juice Recipe

Try it out this summer 🙂