Here’s a delightful seasonal blogpost by an expatriate lady living in Japan. Ume are in season, and so she’s got a few things you can do with them.
Ume is usually translated as “plum”, but apparently they’re really some kind of Japanese apricot. I did not know that.
So really, umeboshi are not pickled plums, but pickled apricots. (Okay, that explains a little bit about their taste, although really I only tasted salt when I ate one….)
And that bottle in the grocery store labeled “plum wine” is really umeshu, and thus an apricot liqueur.
Well. I did not know that.
You can get ume trees in America, but most people are told that they are “flowering apricot” and that the wi fruit is toxic. Which it apparently is, if eaten raw and without processing. (I did not know that!) Scary!)
So you definitely want to process it first, but it would be a shame to let a tree full of ume go to waste.
When the ume on your tree (or in the supermarket in some places) are still green, you use them to make umeshu or green ume jam. And with the riper ones, you make ume jam or jelly or other yummy ume stuff.