Umeshu liqueur production begins in the orchard. Farmers spread large nets under ume trees and wait for the fruit to fall, indicating that it is completely ripe. The ume are washed and sorted and immediately added to tanks with distilled alcohol, which extracts their fruit flavor and tartness, and preserves their amazing aroma.
Our umeshu is made exclusively with Tonda-No-Mizu, a local underground spring water that has received the Monde Selection award for more than 15 years in a row. It has extremely low mineral content, so its purity is the perfect vehicle for the flavors of ume. We’re confident that the richness and depth of our liqueurs is unique in the umeshu world, and we’re excited to share its experience with you.
Ume fruit is high in natural acids and rich in aroma, so as a jam or sauce it is a versatile and valuable ingredient. It pairs well with other foods with deep flavor profiles like chocolate. Its tartness helps offset the sweetness of desserts, similar to berry sauces. Ume can also add an alluring fragrance to savory dishes or desserts.
Coulis has a flavor reminiscent of apricot jam but with a richer aroma and deeper fruitiness, so it complements pastries and cream desserts, and can be a fun secret ingredient. Its tartness comes from high acid content, which chemically neutralizes odors in fish and meat dishes in the same way as traditional sauces, but with new dimensions to be explored. Possibilities abound for plating design, drink mixing, and much more.
For thousands of years, ume have been salted and preserved as umeboshi, sometimes with red shiso leaf added as flavoring. In the 1960s, Nakata Foods’ 3rd generation president introduced additional flavored varieties, driving fast growth in the umeboshi market.
Tree-ripened ume are packed in 20% salt. After a few weeks they are laid out to dry in the hot summer sun, turned by hand, then packed for storage.
Nakata Foods buys ume from the farmers in this form. In our factory we wash, desalinize, and flavor the ume into various umeboshi products. Salt levels range from 20% to 3%, and flavors include combinations of savory, sweet, spicy, and of course sour.