The plums are coming along nicely. No water is added to them: just plums and salt. Once the “plum vinegar” has oozed out they are generally safe from mould and bugs. The next step is to colour the plums, using red shiso leaves.
The leaves are cured in salt before being added to the ume pot. After just one day they turn the ume juice a most amazing red colour. The lid keeps the leaves and plums under the surface of the liquid so they do not come into contact with air. The plums will remain in this state until August, when they will be laid out in the sun to dry on bamboo frames during the hottest days of the year. It is currently the Japanese monsoon here and we have rain every day – no doubt the rain is doing my tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies good but it is not conducive to ume-drying nor fishing.