Many people who are familiar with Japanese art are aware of the great prominence of cherry blossoms. Before the sakura became popular with Japanese artists, though, their pieces were full of a different kind of flower. This was the blossom of the ume plum, often known in English as the Chinese plum or the Japanese apricot, which were favored during the Nara period from 710 to 794.
According to Japanese traditions, the ume has protective powers. The Japanese people used to plant the ume trees on the northeast side of their gardens to ward off evil forces, since this was the direction from which evil was believed to come. They would then pickle the fruits and eat them for breakfast in an effort to stave off bad luck.
Regardless of what your personal beliefs may be, it is clear that ume plums are a tasty and nutritious addition to a traditional Japanese meal. Try this Asian favorite today at our Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood in the form of our ume-shiso roll.