Everything You Wanted To Know About Shiro Plums

Shiro plums are a unique, and flavorful type of plum found in Japanese cuisine. These small, yellow-skinned fruits have been used for centuries to add sweetness and complex flavor to dishes. With their crisp texture and intense sweet-tart flavor, Shiro plums can range in color from bright yellow to deep orange when fully ripe. The flesh inside is usually light yellow or white, and they can be eaten fresh or cooked in various recipes. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Shiro plums so special, including their unique flavor profile and some delicious ways to enjoy them.

What are Shiro Plums?

Shiro plums (also known as Umeboshi plums) are a type of fruit found in Japan that has been traditionally used for centuries in Japanese culture. Shiro plums have a unique, tart flavor and can be fresh or pickled. They are typically eaten as part of breakfast meals and are commonly added to rice dishes such as sushi or onigiri. Their pickled form is also used to make a popular condiment known as umeboshi vinegar, which can be added to various dishes for additional flavor and aroma.

Shiro plums have become increasingly popular due to their versatility and health benefits. They can be found at most Asian supermarkets or ordered online, making them accessible to anyone looking to add a unique flavor to their dishes. Whether you’re looking for pickled Shiro plums or fresh ones, they will surely be a flavorful addition to any meal. Try adding them to salads, soups, or your favorite dishes today.

History and Origin of Shiro Plums

Shiro plums (Umeboshi) have a rich history dating back centuries in Japanese culture. The first mention of Umeboshi can be traced to the 12th century when they were used for medicinal purposes and as a symbol of luck. Shiro Plums were part of many special ceremonies and celebrations in Japan, such as weddings, New Year’s, and other special occasions. It was also believed that Umeboshi would help protect people from illnesses and deter bad luck.

The popularity of Shiro plums has extended to other parts of the world in recent years. They are available at most Asian supermarkets or online, making them accessible to anyone looking for a unique and flavorful addition to their dishes. They can be eaten fresh or pickled and used in various recipes, from salads to soups.

Description of Shiro Plums

Shiro plums (Umeboshi) are a type of Japanese plum that is small and round. They range in color from yellow to red when ripe and have a sweet-sour flavor due to their high acidity content. On average, the plums measure about 2 cm in diameter but can range from 1 to 3 cm depending on the variety. The skin of Shiro plums is usually thin and delicate, making them a great option for pickling or eating fresh.

The Flavor Profile of Shiro Plums

Shiro plums (Umeboshi) are known for their sweet-sour flavor. This is due to the high acidity content in the plums, which gives them a tart taste. They also have hints of almond and apricot, making them a unique and flavorful addition to any dish. 

Shiro Plums can be very salty when pickled, but the tartness still comes through. They can be used in various recipes, from salads to soups, and are popularly served with rice dishes or even ice cream. Umeboshi is also a great addition to sauces and marinades, as it adds depth of flavor and a hint of acidity.

Seasonality and Availability Throughout the Year of Shiro Plums

Shiro plums (Umeboshi) are usually available from late summer to early fall, with peak season being August and September. In Japan, it is considered the most auspicious time to eat Shiro Plums, as they are believed to have medicinal properties that can aid illnesses and deter bad luck. They can also be found in Asian supermarkets or online throughout the year, although they may be more expensive outside peak season.

Health Benefits of Shiro Plums

Shiro plums (Umeboshi) are versatile ingredients with many cooking uses. They can be eaten fresh, pickled, or cooked into sauces and soups. They also have many medicinal properties, rich in vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.

Umeboshi has been used for centuries in Japan to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and fight off colds and flu viruses. It is also thought to have a calming effect on the body and can be used to treat insomnia or fatigue. In addition, Shiro Plums are believed to be a natural deodorizer and can freshen up the air in any room.

Cultivation of the Shiro Plums

Shiro Plums are grown in warm climates, such as those in Japan and the Mediterranean. The trees used to cultivate them can grow up to 25 meters tall and have a lifespan of up to 50 years.

The most important step for successful Shiro Plum cultivation is selecting the appropriate cultivar, as wide varieties with different characteristics need to be considered. For example, ‘Kintoki’ is the preferred variety for pickling and has a tart flavor, while ‘Beni Hojo’ is best suited for cooking and tastes sweet when eaten fresh.

When planting Shiro Plums, it is important to use well-drained soil that’s been amended with organic material. The trees require full sun and should be spaced at least 2 meters apart for optimal growth. Fertilizing with an all-purpose fertilizer three times a year can help promote healthy growth and heavy fruit production.

When the plums ripen, they must be monitored closely as they can quickly become overripe if left unattended. It is best to pick the plums when they are still green and firm, ensuring they will be tart enough for pickling. The plums can then be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Shiro Plum

Harvesting of Shiro Plums

Harvesting Shiro Plums is best done in the morning when the dew has dried, and temperatures are cool. Allowing the plums to ripen on the tree fully increases their sweetness, but they must be harvested before becoming overripe, or the quality will suffer.

Careful handling of Shiro Plums during harvesting is essential for maintaining their quality. The fruits are fragile and can easily be damaged, so they must be handled carefully when picking them. When harvesting, the stem should remain attached to the plum, which will help preserve its freshness and prevent bruising.

To harvest Shiro Plums from a height of more than 2 meters, it is best to use a ladder or a fruit-picking pole to reach the ripe plums. Alternatively, pruning shears can be used for harvesting from smaller trees.

Once harvested, the plums must be transported in shallow containers lined with paper towels to prevent bruising and spoilage. It is also important to avoid stacking them too deeply, which can cause damage or rotting. The plums should be stored in a cool, dry location and consumed within 2-3 days for best quality.

Where Do Shiro Plums Grow? 

Shiro Plums are a type of Japanese plum that is widely grown across Asia and the Pacific region. They are particularly popular in Japan, where they have been cultivated since the Edo era (1603-1867). Shiro Plums grow in China, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Hawaii. In the United States, they are typically grown in California and parts of Oregon and Washington. The plums can also grow wild in some areas, including Russia and Central Asia.

Learn about how to grow high-yield vegetables in small space gardens here.

What are the Things to Remember When Buying Shiro Plums?

When buying Shiro Plums, it is important to select plums that are free from bruises or blemishes. The fruit should have a bright yellowish-orange color and smooth skin. It is best to avoid plums with soft spots or mold growth, as these could indicate spoilage.

Also, look for plums that feel heavy and firm for their size. This is usually an indication of a ripe plum. The plums should also be kept away from direct sunlight, as exposure to intense heat can cause them to ripen prematurely and spoil quickly.

Finally, try to purchase the plums from a reliable supplier, as quality can vary greatly between different sources. It is best to buy organic Shiro Plums whenever possible, as this will ensure they are free from harmful pesticides and chemicals.

Read about some beginner vegetable gardening tips here.

How to Store Shiro Plums?

Once the Shiro Plums are purchased, it is important to store them properly to preserve their freshness and flavor. The plums should be stored in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. Ideally, they should be placed in the refrigerator or another cold area where temperatures remain between 34-41°F (1-5°C).

It is important to check the plums regularly for any signs of spoilage, as they can go bad quickly if not stored properly. Additionally, any plums that are slightly soft or have blemishes should be used immediately or discarded. Storing them in a plastic bag can help extend their shelf life, but only for up to a few days.

How Do You Use Shiro Plums with Other Fruits and Vegetables?

Shiro Plums are a great addition to many sweet and savory dishes. They can be combined with other fruits, such as apples, pears, or citrus fruits, in salads, pies, and cobblers. Additionally, the plums can be used as a topping for breakfast cereals or oatmeal, adding natural sweetness and color to the dish.

Shiro Plums can also be used in savory dishes such as stews, curries, or stir-fries. They pair well with vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and squash. Their natural sweetness makes them a great addition to salsas for tacos and burritos. The plums can also be cooked into a jam or chutney, adding a delicious sweetness to toast or sandwiches.

No matter what recipes you use them in, Shiro Plums will surely add a unique and flavorful addition to your meals. With their vibrant color and sweet flavor, they will make any dish stand out! So give them a try – you will be satisfied.


Shiro Plums are a unique and flavorful fruit with many uses. They can be enjoyed raw, cooked into jams or chutneys, or made into salads and other dishes. Store them properly to ensure the best taste and shelf life possible. Their vibrant color and sweet flavor will add a special touch to any meal! So go ahead and give Shiro Plums a try – you won’t regret it!

Have you tried Ciruela, the Spanish Plum? It’s a fruity sensation worth exploring! Intrigued? Learn all about Ciruela in our article, including its delicious taste, where it comes from, and how you can enjoy it in your favorite dishes!

Mitch Baylis

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