Sunday, May 15, 2016


I was thrilled to receive this wonderful surprise-gift yesterday from my friend Kiyoko, who has attended several of my forage walks, and who joined us yesterday in Inwood: Unripe ume (Prunus mume) - very hard to find.

Don't eat them raw, said Kiyoko. You will die.

She also provided a recipe for making ume syrup - you pack them in sugar, after pricking holes in each fruit and turning them every day. They will ferment, a little. I am very excited. Last year Kiyoko gave me a gift of her own homemade ume syrup and it was delicious. Also good for sore throats, she says.

In other preserving and fermenting tales, I must bottle my by-now-very-fizzy-after-8-days autumn olive flower cordial as well as the decidedly-not-fizzy rhubarb cordial and a pine-tip and dandelion cordial. Each tastes very much of the chief ingredient, but of course the bubbles are the most fun.

There is one more spring forage walk - Fort Tryon, this Saturday. After a catastrophic commute to the one in Inwood, I may leave at daybreak to beat the MTA (Metropolitan Transport Authority) at its own game.

Other news? We now have a seven foot long table in the garden. Pictures to follow.


  1. Oh wow! I literally stare at this little fruit's DNA sequence every day, looking for genes to protect it from disease, and didn't expect to find it here on your blog today. We think of it as a plum, though genetically it's more like an apricot. The diversity in the genus Prunus is truly staggering, and I learn so much every day.

    1. Really!? Yes, now that I've worked with them they are much more apricot-y in feel, too.

      Is it very susceptible to disease?

    2. Disease susceptibility varies from cultivar to cultivar, of course, but in general it can be afflicted by the same kinds of diseases as other plants in the peach genus: anthracnose, cankers, leaf spot, powdery mildew, and plum pox virus. It seems like the actual incidence of disease in P. mume specifically is pretty low, so I wouldn't be all that concerned.

  2. I just saw this recently...

    tis the season I suppose.


    1. Fabulous link, Jake, thank you! My ume are in sugar already, but I am totally doing her next step, once I have the syrup (100 days! the suspense...).

      I feel I owe you a comment for a previous interesting comment you left...scratches head.

  3. Fascinating! I've been taking macrobiotic classes and we use umeboshi ("dried plum") vinegar. I never saw the unpickled fruit until your picture!


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