Questions about Umeshu – Plums Float! Sink! Wrinkled!


The first time you make plum wine, you will be surprised at the many changes that occur. It is natural for the plums to float, sink, and wrinkle. Let’s check each one in detail.


What Fruits Do You Recommend?

You can also make Japanese fruit wine using fruits other than plums. Umeshu takes a long time to be ready, but some Japanese fruit wine will be ready as early as a week or so.

My favorite is strawberry wine. It soaks quickly and produces a mild and delicious wine. You can also easily soak oranges, lemons, and other fruits. It is also reasonably priced, so please give it a try.

However, under Japanese law, it is illegal to make Japanese fruit wine with grapes. Please be careful.

Can I Use Plums with Wounds?

Basically, I do not recommend using plums that are bruised or damaged. The main reason is that if bacteria remain in the wounded area, they can easily become moldy and ruin all of the umeshu.

Should I Remove the Damaged Part?

Then, what about cutting off the damaged part? In this case, it is conceivable that the plum pulp will spread throughout the liquor from the cut out portion and cause it to become cloudy. Is it really possible to determine whether this cloudiness is intentional or due to the growth of bacteria?

What about Fruits other than Plums?

The same applies to fruits other than plums. Damaged fruit should be used for other dishes, not Japanese fruit wine.

However, for oranges and lemons, we don’t use whole fruits, but sliced. In this case, the Japanese fruit wine will become slightly cloudy. However, if you let the wine stay, the cloudiness will settle and become clear. Nevertheless, it is still wise to use fresh fruit.

My plum floats! Are you okay? Why is that?

Floating plums and fruits are a very natural part of making umeshu, Japanese fruits wine. There is no problem. The fruit floats because the sugar dissolves in the liquor and the density of the liquor is greater than the density of the fruit.

However, be careful while the fruit is floating. The plums and fruits are in contact with air, which increases the possibility of mold growth. While the fruit is floating, remember to shake the bottle once a day and pour liquor evenly over the entire fruit.

The Plums Won’t Sink! What is the Reason?

Usually, plums and fruits sink after a few weeks or months. This is because sugar drawn the liquor out of the plums and fruits, making them denser than the liquor. However, if the amount of sugar is high, the density of the liquor may remain greater than the density of the fruit. In this case, the plums and fruit will not sink forever.

Even if the fruits do not sink, it is not a problem. Umeshu or Japanese fruit wine is OK. However, to prevent mold from growing, shake the bottle once a day and pour the liquor over the fruit. Taste and remove the fruit after the umeshu or Japanese fruits wine is ready.

The Plum Got Wrinkled! Is everything alright? What is the reason?

The reason why the plums and fruits are wrinkled is because the sugar has drawn the water out of the fruits. This is a natural phenomenon in the making of umeshu or Japanese fruits wine.

Also, if thick sugar water accumulates at the bottom of the bottle and remains in a hazy state, some of the fruits touching there may become wrinkled. This is also natural and is not a problem. But if you are worried about this and mix well, it is a big problem. The sugar concentration increases all at once, and you may not be able to make a delicious umeshu, Japanese fruits wine. Over-mixing is a big problem.

If you are still concerned, shake the jar once a day to mix the fruits and gradually spread the sugar throughout.

Take out the Plums? Leave as They are?

Should we take out the fruits after making umeshu or Japanese fruit wine? In conclusion, either way is fine.

For example, if you pickle oranges or lemons. If you put the peel the way through, the bitterness may become too strong. You should take out the citrus peels after a few weeks at the most.

I leave the fruit in all of my umeshu, strawberry wine, and orange wine. Why is it necessary to remove the fruit in the first place?

The most likely scenario is that the cell membranes will break down over time. In this way, not only the umami in the fruit, but also astringency and other miscellaneous tastes may come out. However, many questions remain. How much astringency will come out while the fruit retains its shape, and whether the taste really changes that much in the first place.

So this is also a matter of taste. If it bothers you, you can take it out, and if it is too much trouble, you can leave it as it is. I don’t take it out because it’s too much trouble.

What is the Difference from Squeezing Fruit Juice?

When umeshu or Japanese fruit wine is ready after a long time, it is very impressive. At the same time, however, one may wonder why it is necessary to wait for such a long time. For example, why not just squeeze the juice and mix it with alcohol?

Squeezing is Different

There is a crucial difference between squeezing fruit juice and adding alcohol and making Japanese fruit wine. The difference is whether or not the juice passes through a semipermeable membrane.

In fruit wine, only components that are large enough to pass through the semipermeable cell membrane leach into the wine. In other words, components in fruit juice that are too large to pass through the semipermeable membrane are not included in fruit wine.

For example, astringent components have large molecules. Therefore, they cannot pass through the semipermeable membrane and are not included in fruit wine in theory. You can see this difference clearly when you use whole fruits, such as plums.

Compare with Fruits Syrup

As a simple example, try making fruit syrup with frozen fruit. By freezing, the cell membranes are broken down and the juice is more easily released.

After making fruits wine, the fruit retains much of its fruit shape. On the other hand, fruits after soaking in syrup are quite wrinkled. Comparing the two, you will be surprised at the difference and at the same time understand the function of the cell membrane and the importance of soaking fruit wine over a long period of time.


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