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Japanese "ume" plum syrup with ume juice

Japanese Ume Plum Syrup (梅シロップ)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 168 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 500-750ml


Delicious homemade Japanese plum syrup (ume syrup) made with just two ingredients! Perfect for making ume juice or mixing with iced tea, yogurt, jelly and shaved ice.


  • 500g Japanese plums (ume) before freezing
  • 500g Rock sugar (korizato)



Preparing the plums

  1. First, wash the ume thoroughly with warm water. 
    Washing Japanese ume plums
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly and take a few clean tea towels. Use one tea towel to dry the plums and one or two to lay them out.
    Drying Japanese ume plums
  3. While drying the plums, remove the stems with a cocktail stick. (If they're left in, the syrup can become bitter.) 
    Picking stems out of plums
  4. Once all of your plums are dry and destemmed, place them in a ziplock bag or sealable container and store them in the freezer for at least 24 hours. 
    Ume drying on a clean towel

Making the Syrup

  1. First, sterilize your jar by filling it with boiling water and letting it sit for a few minutes.
    Sterilizing a jar with boiling water
  2. After a few minutes, pour the liquid out. (Pick up the jar using oven gloves as the glass will be very hot.)
  3. Place the jar on a clean drying rack and allow to air dry. (If you're impatient, wipe with a paper towel blotted with some alcohol.)

    Air drying a sterilized jar

  4. Place a layer of frozen ume at the bottom of the jar, then top them with a layer of the rock sugar.
    A layer of ume plums
  5. Keep adding layers of plums and sugar until the glass is full. 
    Ume and rock candy layered up in a jar
  6. Seal the lid tightly and then store in a cool dark place. (Cupboards or basements are perfect.)
  7. Make sure to tilt the jar everyday to move the sugar and plums around. 
  8. Your ume syrup will be ready in 7-10 days.
    ume syrup with frozen plums
  9. Enjoy in a drink (mix 1 part syrup with 4 parts water/soda) or pour over shaved ice, yogurt, etc.
  10. After 3 weeks, remove the ume.
    TIP: If your syrup still has lumps of sugar, transfer it to a pan and heat it on the stove on a low heat until it's all dissolved. You can then transfer it to a smaller sterilized jar.
  11. Keep in a cool dark place for up to 3 months, or up to 1 year in the fridge!


Do not defrost the ume before use, place them in the jar while they're still frozen.

Make sure to tilt the jar every day to move the sugar and ume around, set a reminder so you don't forget!

After 2-4 weeks remove the ume from the jar.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 days
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Preserving
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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