Growing Ume and making your own Japanese Plum Wine (Umeshu)
When I was in my twenties I visited Japan just after their winter season and saw the Japanese Plum tree or Ume. It was a sight to behold coming from Brisbane, which apart from the Jacaranda doesn't have such beautifully flowering trees.
I later found out that Ume trees produce apricots, which are a main ingredient in Umeshu plum wine, which I quite enjoyed for its sweet, smooth flavour. Returning to Brisbane, I decided I needed a Japanese style Ume garden, for its wonderful flowers and wine. In my mind it was the equivalent of having a great little suburban style vineyard (without the vines of course). So excited about this idea I called every nursery in the phone book, and found no one had any. Several years later, while working in the markets I meet someone who sold them. He told me that only one of the 300 different kinds of Ume will grow in Brisbane. Unfortunately it didn't have the pink flowers that I saw in Japan, but white flowers were still favourable.
So I bought a few and took them home and planted them. The first think you need to know is that our sunlight is too hard for a sapling. The second thing you need to know is that while they have no problem growing in clay, they do require good drainage while they are young. Finally, having a place which is in part sun and part shade and good soil with good drainage
- the Ume grows really fast!
Start: plant with some other flowers and hedging plants
It produces lots of leaves so needs watering twice per day before maturity to support its vigorous growth.
6 months old: the Ume start to grow noticeably
1 year old: they are as tall as the fence
2 years old: after dropping their leaves in may, the Ume flower for the first time
It will flower every May to June from its second year, and from the third year the flowers will be more amazing.
3 years old: the following May the second time they flower is more amazing
After this run of flowers, the fruit will begin to appear in sufficient size and number for your first production run of Umeshu. By the middle of September your fruit will likely be ready to pick.
To make 1 batch of Umeshu (Japanese plum wine) you will need to pick 1 kg of green ume.
You will also need 1 x 4L sealable preservatives jar, 800g of cube sugar and 1.8L of Vodka.
Next you will need to wash and dry the 1 kg of ume. Then afterwards it is matter of laying down alternating layers of sugar and ume in your jar.
You basically you do this till you use up all your ume and sugar.
Then you pour in the 1.8L of vodka. This will dissolve the sugar, which will settle at the bottom of the jar, leaving you with an empty space at the top of the jar. This empty space should equal to about 20 percent of the jar, which will gradually fill up as the juice is extracted from the ume fruit.
Finally close your jar and put it away for at least 1 year in a dark, cool, dry closet in your home. A year later it will be ready to drink.
UPDATE: 10 MONTHS TO 1 YEAR LATER
Your Umu flowers will be back in bloom and you're umeshu will be ready for drinking.
The final thing you'll want to know is where to find this amazing, wonderful tree. The answer to the question is JAC rare plants, based in Greenbank. Drop me a message if you want his contact details, or if you search Gumtree for "japanese plum" you should find him. He has got stock at the moment so perfect time to plant them in your garden and enjoy a glass or two of you're own Umeshu.
Wow, it's great you've got Ume growing in your backyard successfully in Brisbane. Love to plant them in my garden too. I love Ume making umesyu and Ume juice. Could I please have the details of the nursery where you bought Ume tree? Thank you so much in advance ❤️
HI if you're in brisbane email me your contact details at email@example.com and i can give you my address where i can give you some saplings that are just growing out of the ground now. You can also see the trees flower which is also beginning at the moment.