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Ume Leftovers: 5 Delicious Possibilities

Have some Japanese plums leftover from your umeshu? No plum-blem! Try these creative and tasty recipes.

By 4 min read

Making umeshu (plum wine) is a relatively simple process that involves steeping green, unripe ume, Japanese plums (or apricots, depending on who you ask) in hard liquor and rock sugar for 6–12 months. The end product is a sweet, golden liqueur, perfect for summer drinking, while a pile of wrinkly, leftover fruit rests at the jar’s bottom. 

After the ume have been steeping for 12 months, it is generally recommended they be removed from the jar, and the umeshu strained before being enjoyed. 

But then you may wonder what to do with the leftover ume. Thankfully, you have several options, like chopping them up and adding them to cakes and muffins or creating an ume jelly. There are also plenty of savory options like Chinese-style stir fry or gravies and sauces for roast duck or pork.

Don’t know where to start? Here are five simple recipe ideas!

1. Umeshu soda fizz

With a little bit of ume, lemon and soda, make the perfect summer drink.

Start basic by simply adding a leftover ume to your umeshu soda fizz! 


  • leftover ume
  • ice
  • soda water


Put one or two leftover ume at the bottom of a glass, top with ice and pour over equal parts soda and umeshu. Use a muddler or a straw to help break up the ume at the bottom.

You could also add a leftover ume to other cocktails, such as an ume highball or umeshu cooler.

2. Ume jam

Plum jam and yogurt to kickstart your day.

Spread generously on toasted shokupan (sweet bread) or dab on yogurt for a sweet start to the day.


  • 200g leftover ume
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar


Combine the leftover ume, lemon juice, sugar and ½ cup of water in a pot. Cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes, breaking up the ume with a wooden spoon. 

Once a jammy consistency is achieved, remove the seeds and put the hot jam in a sterilized jar. Allow to cool, store in the fridge and eat within 2–3 weeks. If you get sick of jam on toast every day, try pairing it with blue cheese and crackers or incorporating it into baking recipes such as tarts and muffins!

3. Ume dressing

Will you drizzle or drench?

Try drizzling this sweet and sour dressing over leafy salads or grilled fish.


  • 3–4 leftover ume, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp umeshu
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds


Combine all ingredients in a bottle and shake well until emulsified. Store in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days.

4. Ume shogayaki

Pork shogayaki is a simple but popular dish in Japanese cuisine.

This recipe is a sweet take on a Japanese classic. Shogayaki (a pork dish cooked with ginger) always pairs well with sweet flavors.


  • 100g thinly sliced pork loin
  • 2 leftover ume, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • Knob of ginger, grated
  • ½ tbsp sake
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


Combine the pork, ume, ginger and sake in a bowl and allow to marinate for 15-30 minutes. Preheat the sesame oil in a wok over high heat before adding the pork with the marinade. 

Quickly stir fry the pork until it is lightly browned, then add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5 minutes. Serve with steamed rice, sliced fresh tomato and shredded cabbage.

5. Ume and honey pancakes

It doesn’t always need to be healthy.

Level up the ordinary packet-mix pancake with some leftover ume!


  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 150g pancake mix
  • 3-4 leftover ume, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp each of umeshu and honey combined
  • 1 tsp butter

For serving: Ice cream and pancake syrup (optional)


Mix the egg and milk in a bowl until combined. Stir in the pancake mix until just combined, and then add the chopped ume and other remaining ingredients, being careful not to overmix. 

Lightly grease a non-stick frypan with butter and preheat over medium heat before pouring the desired pancake batter. Cook the pancakes on the first side until you see bubbles form, then flip and cook for 2 minutes. Serve with ice cream and drizzle with pancake syrup. 

Prepare some ice cream in advance to boost the flavor with the pancake-topping ice cream. Allow some good-quality, store-bought vanilla ice cream to melt slightly before mixing a few finely chopped leftover ume. Refreeze the ice cream after mixing in the ume for about an hour before serving with the pancakes.

What other treats have you made using leftover ume from umeshu? Let us know in the comments!

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