When we started seeing green stone fruits this season, we couldn't help but umeboshi. In all honesty, we haven't made the real stuff and just followed guidelines as you can see in a past crabapple post. Well, you knew that and that's not why you're here. Let's go!
Gochujang Molasses Green Apricot Umeboshi
If you've ever made umeboshi before, you understand that the fruit needs to be salt packed and weighted. This is a fairly typical whole fruit/veg preservation technique for breaking down the cell structure to release juices and generate a brine to be reinfused. It also creates an interesting texture.
Vac Packed Green Plums, Lovage & Salt
We leveraged vacuum packing the fruit with salt and punchy flavors. The big advantage of containing the fruit this way is that it makes it easy to manage a single layer and weight them in small batches. Just alternate layers of the vac packed fruit with hotel/sheet pans then stick a weight on top.
So we waited and waited for the fruit to get squished. It was a few days and they were still solid and barely any liquid pressed out. Sometimes we don't mind waiting and sometimes we do.
Infusing Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar
Hmm... How does one break up plant based cell structure with very little effort. Ice crystals of course! We did leverage the freeze thaw technique with further trials of hoshigaki anything, why not umeboshi?
Post Freeze & Thaw Sugar Infused Squash
After an overnight stay in the freezer, we stuck the frozen vac packed sheets back into the stack of weighted hotel pans. The fruit compressed pretty much immediately after they defrosted.
Post Press Gochujang Molasses Infused Green Apricots
There it is. We've successfully bridged the gap between umeboshi and hoshigaki, two fruit preservation techniques that yield serious depth and flavor complexity. Honestly, the methods are similar enough that the cross pollination of products and flavors are infinite.
As always, please share your discoveries so we an keep the ideas bouncing.