Umeboshi plums (ume plums)

Japanese pickled plums (actually, green apricots) with a fruity, salty taste. Pickled in a salt brine and shiso leaves for at least one year (the longer, the better), ume plums are traditionally served as a condiment with various dishes, including grains. Ume plums are reputed to aid in the cure of a wide array of ailments—from stomachaches to migraines—because they alkalize the blood. These little red plums (made red from the shiso, which add vitamin C and iron) make good preservatives. The best-quality plums are the most expensive ones, but they are used in small amounts, so one jar will last a long time.

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