Acupuncture Blog

Umeboshi Plum Vinegar: a tasty kitchen cabinet remedy

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Umeboshi plum vinegar is a staple in my kitchen. I usually buy two bottles at a time, and I get a little nervous when my supply starts to run low. I have turned many of my friends onto umeboshi vinegar whenever I serve up a salad at a potluck or a dinner party.

What is umeboshi vinegar? I am glad you asked. Umeboshi, ume, is a Japanese fruit that is kind of like a cross between a plum and an apricot. They are pickled and then dried in the sun. The dried plums can be eaten whole or turned into paste to be used as a condiment. Umeboshi vinegar is the brine left over from the pickling process.

I got hooked on the salty and sour taste of ume plums during a dietary therapy class in acupuncture school. My teacher explained that they are referred to as the “Japanese alka seltzer.” Besides being served up on a plate of white rice or other dishes in Japan, ume plums are a good remedy for an upset stomach, sluggish digestion, and acid reflux. (stay tuned for the next blog post here for more help with an upset stomach)

You can find packages of whole ume plums, ume plum paste, or umeboshi vinegar at A-Market, on South Willow in Manchester, or any natural food store. 
I’ve been buying the vinegar since I was an acupuncture student because it’s the most economical way of enjoying the taste and health benefits of the ume plums.

Ume plums are high in salt and should be consumed sparingly, 1-2 plums per day. I use the vinegar mixed with olive oil as a dressing for salad or cooked vegetables. In my dietary therapy class, I was introduced to cooked millet topped with some soy sauce and umeboshi vinegar as a nutritious breakfast porridge.

For more information on umeboshi plum vinegar, I recommend Paul Pitchford’s book “Healing with Whole Foods.”

 - MAS acupuncturist Elizabeth Ropp



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