Umeboshi is preserved food, and it reaches to the peak flavor 2~3 years after being made. It is perfectly edible many more years, but eventually it starts drying out.
I made umeboshi using apricots last spring, as the fruit of prunus mume is almost impossible to get in New York. For the detailed instruction of “How to Make Umeboshi Using Apricots” please read the previous post.
I made two batches of umeboshi apricots. One batch of apricots were dried under the sun for 3 days after brining, and another batch were not dried. Both of them turned out well. My family enjoy eating them with rice, and I sometimes use them for cooking, such as umeboshi spaghetti, and dressing.
But I noticed that there are some distinct differences between dried and not dried umeboshi apricots. Dried ones have deeper color, even though I didn’t use red shiso for coloring. They really looked like suntanned.
The flesh of dried ones are also firmer than not dried ones. This might have been caused by the ripeness of the apricot themselves. It’s better to choose firm apricots.
The flavor is also different. The sun dried ones developed milder and rounded flavor after almost a year, even though not dried ones still have somewhat harsh raw salty flavor. This difference of flavor is interesting, because I used 1% less salt in not dried umeboshi apricots than the Sun dried ones.
Again, both of them are perfectly preserved and edible. I keep them in my kitchen, which can reach over 100 degrees during summer.
I will definitely make more umeboshi apricots this year in early summer. I will look for firm apricots, and make sure to dry them under the hot Sun, because the Sun seems to do some tricks.