What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

Janis Gray
Bento-ing from: Shutesbury › Massachusetts › USA
Joined: 22 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 15 weeks ago.

When my daughter and I were in Kyoto and Takayama this summer, meals at both ryokans included tiny bowls of what seemed to be little, red, slightly sweet, and very refreshing round fruits. After doing some research when I came home, I concluded we'd been served umeboshi -- but when I bought a jar, I discovered that was not it at all (very salty!). Are there sweet umeboshi? I know my description is not very clear, but I have been trying to figure out what we enjoyed last year.

Thank you!

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maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

I am not sure. Did you take photos?

Did they have large stones (of the kind you find in apricots) inside?

By 'small' about how big exactly?

There are sweet umeboshi, but I'm not sure if that is what you had really.

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Janis Gray
Bento-ing from: Shutesbury › Massachusetts › USA
Joined: 22 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 15 weeks ago.
Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

They didn't have stones (or maybe they'd been removed), and were about the size of cranberries or blueberries. (My memory is fuzzy.) They were also redder than the (pinkish) umeboshi I've found here. Now that I know sweet umeboshi exist, I suspect that's what they were, for the general appearance and texture were the same as the salty ones. I didn't take any photos of just these, but I do have a few photos of meals in general, and will see if zooming in reveals anything.

Thank you for your answer, in any case!

EDIT: I just Googled "sweet umeboshi images," and on seeing the few photos out there, think that is what they were. When I was trying to remember the size, I almost said, "size of grapes," but that seemed too big to my (aging) memory. I don't have any photos of my own from our trip. It seems to me we had these at breakfast, and the only photo of a table of little dishes is from dinner.

Still, my curiosity has been satisfied!

annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 16 weeks ago.
Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

I tried the sour, salty Umeboshi for the first time yesterday.

NOT A FAN. That's one jar that's not going to clutter my refrigerator in a "maybe someday" way. Nope.

mosaica
Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 32 weeks ago.
Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

..if only we were neighbors ;-)

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annenayne
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 16 weeks ago.
Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

... I'd hand them right over. I'd probably give you five bucks to take them away.

erisgrrrl
Bento-ing from: Bloomington › Indiana › USA
Joined: 28 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 17 weeks ago.
Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

lol that's how I feel about them too!! I keep thinking that we should try them again, maybe mash them up inside some rice or something... but I just can't bring myself to buy them knowing how much I didn't like them!

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
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Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

Try this:
Put the umeboshi into a rice bowl half filled with rice; top with hot green tea. You have just made a basic homestyle ochazuke! The saltiness of the pickled plum will disperse into the rice and tea making it much milder to eat.

Here's a more detailed description by Maki: http://www.justhungry.com/2004/01/ochazuke_rice_w.html

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 21 weeks ago.
Mix it with other vegetables

In Seiko Ogawa's "Easy Japanese Pickling" there is a recipe that tosses minced umeboshi with sugar, salt, vinegar and chopped eggplant. It would also be good with chunky pieces of cucumber This book has lots of simple recipes for tsukemono (pickles), and small dishes of vegetables, fruit & meat. Just right for bento-making..

オタク
Bento-ing from: › North Carolina › USA
Joined: 21 Sep 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 22 weeks ago.
Re: What might these small, red, fruity things have been?

I like the umeboshi with shiso in the jar. You just remove the pit, mince it up, and stir into your plain white rice before you pack it into your bento box. Then I top it with toasted sesame seeds and yuzuiri shichimi powder. It's a great way to liven up a rice and veggie lunch.

Those pickled plums are an acquired taste, kinda like pickled green queen olives with a chile pepper. I have a taste for a lot of different fermented foods, among them; sake, wine, yogurt, cheeses, miso, fish sauce, shoyu, beer meads, certain fermented teas, etc... I had to try all of these things more than once to fully appreciate their flavors. You may find that, with strong flavors like fermented foods have, that most are good when properly diluted with a plain food. Of course everyone dislikes some food, my kryptonite is Brussels Sprouts.

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