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Ume Juice

You’re probably familiar with the wonderful beverage that is umeshu, but have you heard of ume juice before? It’s basically a less sweet, non-alcoholic version of umeshu and makes for a super refreshing drink, especially in the sweltering summer heat.

Like umeshu, it is very simple to make and the homemade version is a lot more delicious than the shop-bought stuff. However, while you have to wait a few months to taste the fruits of your labour with umeshu, ume juice is ready to drink in a week or so.

TIME: Preparation and actually making the ume juice takes less than an hour but it takes 1-2 weeks to complete.


1kg large ume

1 kg rock sugar

100ml white vinegar (I used rice vinegar)

Glass jars that are large enough to hold the ume and sugar



  1. Sterilise the glass containers with boiling water or a tasteless spirit. Leave to completely dry.
  2. Using a toothpick, remove the little stub near the stem of the ume. Wash and leave to completely dry (leave overnight if you have time).
  3. Layer the sugar and the ume in the jar. Add the vinegar towards the end. Close the jar and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks or until most of the sugar has dissolved. To speed up the process, gently turn the jar every couple of days.
  4. Serve over ice with water or soda water to taste. Store in the fridge.


  • The addition of vinegar makes the ume juice slightly tangy.  If you prefer a sweeter cordial, omit the vinegar, but after washing and drying the ume, freeze them for at least 24 hours before continuing from step 3, otherwise it takes really long for the sugar to dissolve.


  • Discard any ume that are rotten or badly bruised. If they are only slightly bruised or the damaged section can be easily cut off, you can still use them but place them in a separate jar just in case they go mouldy.


  • If you’re short on fridge space like me, once the sugar has dissolved, take out the ume and discard them. Otherwise it’s fine to just leave them as is.


Helen Yuan

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