Equal parts hard to pronounce and tricky to find…
Umeboshi plums aren’t the most attractive fruit in the world, but they may well be the next skin-boosting superfood.
Not only are they packed full of essential nutrients and minerals, but their unique sweet/sour/salty flavour means that they can be used in everything from savoury rice dishes to zingy desserts.
What makes them so great?
Umeboshi literally means ‘salt plums’ in Japanese. The ‘ume’ is a variety of plum that grows in Japan, China and Korea, and looks more like an oversized apricot than the purple plums of the UK.
Once picked, they’re smoked, dried, pickled, fermented or salted and used throughout the year as a versatile ingredient.
By pickling the plums in salty brine, the fruit can be preserved for years, while retaining all their nutrients and unique flavour. You can even eat the stones, as the pickling process makes them soft enough to bite through.
What are the health benefits?
Low in sugars and a powerful antioxidant, umeboshi plums are one of the most skin-friendly fruits on the planet.
Used in Chinese, Korean and Japanese medicine for thousands of years, they were even used to help Samurai soldiers heal between battles.
They’re hailed as a cure for indigestion, fatigue and nausea – they have even been acclaimed as a natural hangover cure, as they help the body to flush out toxins in record time!
Best of all, umeboshi plums contain an abundance of citric acid, which helps us absorb other foods in the small intestine by creating an easily absorbable mineral salt.
This mineral salt includes iron, magnesium and potassium, which are all essential nutrients for the skin’s healthy function and repair. Magnesium also plays a crucial role in helping us manage the stress hormone, cortisol, which can trigger flare-ups of sensitive skin.