Over the course of a week, we all worked together to finish picking the plums.
We had decided on the proportions for making umeboshi (pickled plums) and plum wine in advance: half would be umeboshi, about 30% would be plum wine, and 20% would be plum syrup.
I contemplated whether to split the plum wine and plum syrup equally, but since I wanted to share the plum wine with Otousama, the Sacred Beasts and Uncle Galvano, I opted for more plum wine.
“Hum, hum, hum~♪”
For the umeboshi, I wanted to use fully ripe plums, so I arranged green plums on a flat sieve and left them at room temperature for a few days until they turned yellow.
After gently washing them, I checked for mold or spoilage while removing the stems.
I didn’t forget to gently pat them dry with a cloth to avoid leaving any moisture.
Since the plum wine and plum syrup were made from green plums, I had prepared those in advance.
I soaked the carefully washed green plums in water to remove bitterness, then removed the stems and gently patted them dry with a cloth.
I was careful not to leave any moisture near the stem area.
For plum syrup, all I needed to do was to alternatively layer the sterilized bottles I cleaned using Clear magic with equal amounts of green plums and sugar.
I initially wanted to use rock sugar, but making a large amount of rock sugar would take time, so I decided to use regular sugar.
After all, I couldn’t wait.
I store the bottles in a cool, dark place, and by tilting them two to three times a day to mix, the syrup should be ready in about a month and a half.
I can’t forget to remove the plum fruits at one point, or the syrup might become bitter.
I plan to turn those removed plums into jam.
For plum wine, the process is similar to plum syrup—just alternate layers of green plums and sugar, then pour in the alcohol.
Use less sugar than in the syrup.
Again, store it in a cool, dark place, and gently move the container a few times a week to evenly distribute the sugar.
While it would be fine to drink after about three months, I think it’s best around six months to a year, as it will have a smoother taste.
For long-term storage, I could remove the plums and perhaps turn them into jam, but I have a feeling they might be devoured before that.
… I need to make sure that Byakko-sama and others don’t sneak any.
“Now then, let’s get started on the main event: making umeboshi!”
After thoroughly casting Clear magic on myself, the containers, and everything else, it was time to start making the umeboshi.
You need to add about 18% of the plum’s weight in salt, but unlike in my previous life, there were no kitchen scales available, not even in the homes of most nobles.
So, I borrowed a magic tool from Teacher Neil to measure the weight.
Teacher Neil seemed quite intrigued by the fact that the Sacred Beasts and I were making something together, but when he tried the umeboshi I had purchased from the Bastia Company before, he made a wrinkled face and quickly left.
Despite having only a few umeboshi left, that was rather rude.
To make umeboshi, you start by sprinkling a pinch of salt into a ceramic jar, adding a layer of plums, then more salt, more plums, and so on.
After adding all the plums, you place a middle lid on top and add weights equal to the weight of the plums.
After a few days, the plum vinegar should rise. During this time, gently roll the jar to help mix the plum vinegar.
“Phew, that’s enough for today.”
Once the plum vinegar rises, wash red shiso leaves, remove their bitterness by rubbing them with salt, squeeze them well, then pour plum vinegar over them to soften.
About a month later, take out the plums and red shiso leaves, lay them out on a flat sieve, and sun-dry them before returning them to the jar and storing it in a cool, dark place. They should be ready in about a year.
“Making plum wine and plum syrup sure takes time and effort.”
After placing the jars in the designated storage area, Mariel-chan sighed and commented.
“Yes, but I think it’s worth it.”
I took some yokan out of my inventory, sliced it, and placed it on the table. Hands reached out from all directions, and in no time, the plate was empty.
“Indeed… Ah, I can’t wait for the finished products!”
Mariel-chan happily nibbled on the two pieces of yokan she had kept for herself.
Once the plum syrup is ready, I plan to use it to make desserts.
Perhaps celebrating the completion of the umeboshi in a year might be a good idea.