(From Preserving the Japanese Way by Nancy Singleton Hachisu)
10 pounds (5 kg) sour plums (ume) [I used unripe vampire plums grown in Western Australia.]
Place plums in a pail and run cold water over them to fill. Soak overnight in a cool spot . Dump the water the following day, transfer the ume to a large wooden , ceramic, or food-grade plastic tub , and measure the salt over the ume. Distribute the salt with your hand , making sure not to make cuts on ithe fruit with your fingernails. Place a clean muslin (or food-grade plastic) sheet across the surface of the salted ume and drape it down the sides of the tub . Lay a drop lid on top of the sheet and weight with rocks or similar heavy items equaling the weight of the ume .
(Alternatively, you could line the tub with a thick food-grade plastic bag,squeezing out the air, and cinch it up before laying tile drop lid.)
Store these salt-weighted ume in a cool dark spot , but check after 2 or 3 days to make sure the brine has surfaced . If it has not , massage any residual bottom salt up to the top fruit . The ume should remain in ithe brine for several weeks until the weather turns sunny [almost all the time in Western Australia], but check periodically to make sure no mold is forming (if it has, pick the mold off carefully).
After brining for at least 3 weeks (2 weeks for small ume), dry the ume for 3 days in the bright sunlight (they do not have to be consecutive days) on rattan mats (or the equivalent) stretched across a wooden frame for good air circulation. [I used an old window screen] At night return the ume to the pickling pot. On the last day of drying, strain the brine left over in the bottom of the salting tub through a fine-mesh strainer and store in a clean jar or bottle . This is called plum 'vinegar' or 'umesu' [It makes a beautiful dipping sauce or base for a salt plum tea.] Refrigerate your umesu, and pack the salt-cured plums into resealable gallon sized freezer bags or pickling jars. Ume will keep for a long long time, but be sure to check them every one in a while to make sure they aren't molding.
To Make your Onigiri, make a batch of sushi rice, tear off a small piece of seaweed, and make a small rice cake in the middle of your seaweed. Place your piece of umeboshi in the middle along with a piece of ethically foraged or grown Samphire. Enjoy.
This is a simple Vegan dish of skewered Mock-Goose (an alternative version of Satan) grilled and topped with what we call a Brackish Chimchurri.
Brackish Chimchurri Recipe:
1 packed cup of parsley
1 cup of saline plants such as Salt Bush or Samphire
1 hot chilli deveined and deseeded.
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup Olive Oil.
Put ingredients into blender or food processor and pusle into a paste. Skewer Mock-Goose and sear on a hot grill. Just before serving brush on Brackish Chimchurri. Voilà!
This is a recipe which is inspired by The Spectacles, a wetland in East Kwinana that has been a gathering place for various forms of life for countless generations. The water cocktail was presented as part of a story which imagines a future of brackish water rising in a time of global drying, leading to shift in dominant species that are also likely to burn.
2 oz. Desalinated Water
1 oz. 'Nectar' (50/50 Honey & Water)
Mix with ice and strain into a bottle.
Smoke the water with a saline tolerant plant, such as Melaleuca (i.e. Paperback Tree).
Pour into a glass and serve with a bruised aromatic leaf, such as wild mint or coastal sage.