(Post-A-Day Challenge, Day 20)
When Beloved Husband and I moved into our house a few years ago, we discovered that, among other things, our property included a couple of ume plum bushes–small Japanese plums.
Well, of course, when life gives you Japanese plums, of course you make plum wine. (Which is not really a wine, but a liqueur, by the way). You make plum wine by putting plums, sugar, and shochu (a distilled Japanese beverage usually made of sweet potatoes and rice) in a bottle and waiting.
The first year we tried it, we put the stuff in jars, and 3-4 months later — Christmastime — we tried it.
It was awful.
Discouraged, I stuck the remaining jars in the basement and essentially forgot about them for the better part of two years. Then, one day, I came across them and thought, what the heck, I’ll see if it has improved any.
Oh, my. Yes, it had. Sometime during those two years, the plums had turned into a quite palatable plum wine.
So every year since then, when we’ve gotten a plum crop, one of fall’s rituals has been the putting up of plum wine.
This year, I decided to go for a sweeter wine, so I put in more sugar. So my recipe this year looked like this:
9-12 small plums
3 tablespoons sugar
Enough shochu (6-7 oz.) to fill a half-pint canning jar
Combine. Shake until sugar dissolves. Shake again whenever you think about it. Wait two years. Enjoy.
Except…it’s never that easy. I measured the plums and sugar out into the jars, then started pouring the shochu. I ran out of shochu long before I ran out of prepared jars. Oops.
A rummage through the liquor cupboard yielded the end of a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, another partial bottle of shochu, and a goodly amount of cherry vodka. Which was enough to fill another six jars. Leaving four more.
There’s only one store in the area that reliably carries shochu (that we’ve found), and it’s all the way downtown from here. So I decided to hit one of our local liquor stores, prepared to think outside the box…
Only, to my surprise, the small store I’d chosen actually had shochu. So the last four jars got filled and shaken.
I am a little concerned that the plums this year were much smaller than in previous years. We had a lot of hot days without much rain during the latter part of the summer. I think we ended up with smaller fruit as a result.
I’ll let you know how it all comes out in two years or so.