Pickled, sun-dried, infused with red shiso (beefsteak) leaves, and aged for a year. Ideal for sushi and rice balls, they lend tartness to dressings, dips, and sauces. Japan's chicken soup in cold and flu season is okayu, a thin rice porridge with umeboshi. Made of the 'nanko' plum variety that is prized for its juicy pulp, delicious flavor, and high citric acid content. 'The king of alkaline foods', umeboshi plums are an ancient food used to balance and strengthen. Highly valued as a digestive aid.