Happy Donabe Life

Ume Shrub/ Ume Syrup/ Ume Shoyu

I have introduced Ume-Shu (Japanese plum liqueur) recipe in this site, and this has been very popular. So, I wanted to introduced more ume recipes and here they are! They are non-alcoholic condiments/ drink base so can be enjoyed by anyone. During the ume season (late April to early June), I get so excited and want to make different ume drinks/ condiments. All these three ume condiments are really amazing, as the ume gives the very special aromatic and very pleasant soft tart flavors/ aromas to any dish/ drinks you make with it. They are really versatile and I enjoy them all year round.

Vegan option

These are vegan recipes.


*Use firm, unbruised green ume (called ao-ume), preferably large ones.
*Rinse the ume. Pick any stems attached to the skin and discard. Pat to dry them very well.
*Sterilize all the jars.
*Any ume, after they are infused in the below recipes can be enjoyed in different ways – chop to eat straight, use as toppings, make jam (sweet ones), add to braising, etc., so you can be creative!

<Ume Shrub>

*Use a 4-liter (1 gallon) jar

  • 1 kg ume
  • 750 g raw sugar (I use kibi brown sugar)
  • 1 liter apple cider vinegar
  1. Put about 1/4 of the ume, follow-ed by about 1/4 of the sugar. Repeat the process until all are in the jar. Pour the apple cider vinegar and cover.
  2. Keep in a cool dark place. Gently shake every day. Stir the sugar sank in the bottom with a sterilized spatula sometimes. Ume Shrub will be ready in about 4 weeks. Remove the ume or keep in the shrub. 

The shrub can keep in refrigerator for a year or so.

To enjoy the shrub, I like to mix a bit of the shrub with yuzu juice and sparkling water over ice cubes. I also like to use it in my vinaigrette. There are many more things you can enjoy the shrub in.


<Ume Syrup>

*Use a 2-liter (half gallon) jar

  • 500 g ume
  • 500 g Okinawa black sugar
  1. Put about 1/4 of the ume, follow-ed by about 1/4 of the sugar. Repeat the process until all are in the jar.
  2. Keep in a cool dark place. Gently shake every day. You want to get all the ume covered in sugar as much as possible. After a couple of weeks, this will turn to the very thick syrup, and after another 1 week or so, the syrup will become runnier and nicer.
  3. The syrup will be ready in about 4 weeks. You see the ume quite shriveled by the time. Remove the ume. Ume syrup can keep in refrigerator up to a year or so.

*Things you want to avoid meanwhile: If you find white spots in the ume skin, that’s mold. If you see some bubbles, that means the ume is fermenting and it will only become sour. Once you see these, there is no way to save. So, be careful with the temperature and also make sure to keep everything super clean!

I enjoy the Ume Syrup with dessert, drink, or in place of mirin for making savory dishes.


<Ume Shoyu>

*Use 1.5 liter jar

  • 500 g ume
  • 500 ml soy sauce
  1. Combine the ume and soy sauce in a jar. 
  2. Keep in a cool dark place. Gently shake every day. Ume Shoyu will be ready in 3 – 4 weeks. Remove the ume. Ume Shoyu can keep in refrigerator for up to a year or so.

I enjoy Ume Shoyu simply as a finishing sauce/ dip, for sashimi, tofu, or mix with blanched vegetables with sesame seeds, etc., to enjoy the pure ume flavor in it!

Get all the ingredients ready!


Ume Shrub Prep


Ume Syrup Prep


Ume Shoyu Prep


Bottled and labeled.


After 2 weeks, they are getting nicely infused with ume.


After about 1 month, they are ready (and smell so good)!


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Ingredients Used in this Recipe

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