umeboshi blues


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many canadians ask me if i miss japanese food for the past six years. my answer is YES. but when i say “japanese food”, i’m not talking about sushi, or tempura, or green-tea ice cream. they are japanese food and i like them, but i don’t miss them, i guess. i like sushi, but i’m saving my sushi-craving for edohei japanese restaurant in winnipeg. edohei is the best sushi on the prairie.

anyway, when i say “japanese food”, i’m talking about umeboshi. if i could have umeboshi for breakfast every morning, i might not miss japan… as much. umeboshi are pickled plums (“ume” means plum and “hoshi” (“boshi”) means to dry). they are sweet and extremely sour. mmm… just to think of umeboshi makes me feel sour. most commonly you eat umeboshi with rice. you can put it on top of a bowl of rice or you can put it inside of an onigiri (rice ball).

i had a huge craving for umeboshi a couple weeks ago. i needed to eat something sour. i could have eaten lemons, but i didn’t want to eat rice with lemon — too weird. i went to the asian market here in saskatoon, but they don’t carry umeboshi. it’s really more like a chinese market, they only carry a handful of japanese foods. i guess there probably isn’t a big enough japanese population here to support a japanese market.

my craving grew and grew…

so i phoned up my mom :D my parents live in wakayama prefecture, which is famous for… UMEBOSHI! they make the best of the best umeboshi in japan, more sweet and sour than salty. they make a special type of umeboshi with honey in it, that we call 優しい味 “yasashii” (kind + gentle) flavour. i love them. i asked my mom to send me some umeboshi along with some of my other favorite japanese foods.

a few weeks later, the package arrived! actually, i just got the notice from the post office to come pick up the box. the notice said that i wasn’t at home at the time of delivery, which is not true — i was home all day that day. i guess the mailman would rather make me carry the big box in my hands than put in on his nice red truck.

anyway, picking up the package and running a couple of errands was just enough time to make some rice. so i put the rice in the rice cooker and went out. it was a cold and snowy winter day, and when we got back, paul and i were ready to cuddle up and have some warm rice with umeboshi. this must have been the best umeboshi i’ve ever had. thanks mom!

Author: yuka

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4 thoughts on “umeboshi blues”

  1. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Umai-boshi! I love them. My friend Reiko, in Maizuru, gave me a jar of rather dry and salty umeboshi she made herself in 1978. They were very delicious – tangy and very salty – though definitely not very yasashii in flavor. But I now get umeboshi cravings too, and what’s more, I crave Japanese rice the way it tasted in Japan. No rice I have ever eaten outside of Japan, even the stuff used by Japanese restaurants in North America, has quite captured the flava and hit the spot. Guess I’ll have to go visit Kyoooooootooooooooo…

  2. oh~ home-made umebishi!! impressive. my grandma used to make umeboshi, too. i was just watching her cleaning and drying ume by the window. i should’ve learned from her…

    yeah, i totally agree with you. when i had japanese style rice in canada, i thought it was terrible, but now i’m used to it – better than nothing.

    koshihikari, my love.

  3. Hi,
    do you have, or can you get from Wakayama, the recipe for how to make Honey Umeboshi. I need it in a hurry as I have some ume now.
    Thanks.
    Kim

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